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May 16

When a dress is so much more than a dress

I already know what I’m wearing to chemo tomorrow, I’ll post a picture. But I have so much to say about the dress, I wanted to write it down today.

It’s a #modcloth dress that I didn’t buy. Angela bought it and it didn’t quite fit her right. Then I got cancer and felt like shit and she mailed me the dress to cheer me up. That’s what friends do. Here’s the thing: I’ve never actually met Angela, except she has been my friend for over 10 years. And she has been spoiling me with little gifts since the very beginning. When we adopted SQ, she sent me a world globe pillow. We still have it, and we have stitched SQ’s birth place and adoption place onto it. We used it to tell her the story of coming all the way from China to our house. That pillow is part of our family history. And now Angela’s girls and my girls are becoming pen pals. Not techno facetime pals, actual, old fashion, pen and paper pen-pals.

In the late 90’s, I was a quilter and there were hardly any young quilters in my town. But there were tons of Yahoo Groups online and I joined a bunch. I would travel to Vermont or New Hampshire to buy quilting fabric at recommended stores. And if I posted about those trips, inevitably, a local quilter would offer to meet me for lunch. Internet friendships were born.

I started a blog on Diaryland in the year 2000. It was about quilting, and eventually it turned into a blog about infertility. That is how I ‘met’ a lot of my friends. I mean that word. Friends. Going through infertility was brutal and gruelling  There were lots and lots of tears and so many questions to ask. And my girls had my back. Those women coined the terms ‘floor-cake’. Angela coined ‘dirty-underpants-girls’. I’ll never forgot any of the babies they lost, the eggs that never took and the FSH level insanities. This is going to sound super crass, but we were internet-pioneers. Before there were mommy-bloggers, there were WANNA-be-mom bloggers. We formed a community.

Those ladies lead me to my yahoo-adoption groups. The rest is history. The snarky women I met during our LONG adoption wait became the KLBs. I don’t need to explain it. You either know or you don’t and it’s not important. Adopting from China is also difficult in many ways. And those crazy-snarky ladies rose above the rest. The friendships that were formed in-real-life will never fray. The line between in-the-computer and in-real-life disappeared. Those friends are one and the same now. My kids have Chinese-friends for life, girls they share an orphanage with or an adoption date with because we met in those yahoo groups.

I’ve been to Paris, Chicago, Texas and Florida. People have come from everywhere to visit us. We had people stay with us for the weekend, for a week. L’s son came to stay with us for half a summer. 

Over the last 10 years, I have gone through a lot of crap. Jay has been hospitalized more times then I can count. My mom was sick and then passed away. My kids sometimes made me go through things I didn’t think I could handle. We lost a dear friend. Jay got a transplant and then I got cancer. Through it all, there were of course our INCREDIBLE friends here locally. I don’t want to in any way diminish their importance and contribution. 

But I feel the need to give a public shout-out to my other incredible support system. The friends that I watch tv with, drink a lot of wine with, make incredibly inappropriate jokes with. All from the comfort of my couch with my screen open. Those little green dots in FB that tell me my friends are there to chat. Those incredibly hilarious FB threads that start with one thing and end up an hour later into the abyss of inappropriateness (it’s totally a real word)

to Laurie, Jen, Magda, Linda, Amy, Amy, Amy, Shelly, Rivka, Amber, Corinne, Ellie, Nancy, Michele, Deana, Melissa, Susan, Natalie, Rachelle  and everyone I am forgetting. And of course, right back to Angela. See how one dress can have so much meaning?