Tuesday, November 15, 2011

30 Days of Thanksgiving: Day 23

Today I am thankful for a group of people: the friends I have made on the internet message board that I post on. When I was pregnant with my son, I joined a message board to look for advice and support from other expectant moms and moms with small children. Through that motherhood-specific board I discovered a different message board which is, essentially, a group of people who chat about whatever they’re thinking about at the moment. The topics of discussion range from politics and current news stories, to dealing with difficult family members, to fashion advice, to sharing sad or exciting personal news, to exchanging recipes and menu advice. We discuss the same sorts of things that friends in real life would discuss, we just do it electronically.

But what makes the people on this board so special is the way they support each other. Even when posters disagree, they generally do it in a respectful manner that allows for discussion of the different points of view. And if someone is struggling, the posters rally around to support her (or him), sending virtual hugs, offering kind advice, offering sympathy, or just saying, “I’ve been there and I got through it, and you will, too.”

It continues to amaze and impress me that people of all ages, backgrounds, cultures, and locations can come together and create such a supportive community. Is it all sunshine and roses? Of course not. There are occasionally nasty things said (and often regretted), there is the occasional bout of name-calling, and posters are even occasionally made to take a “cyber time-out” by the board moderators. But generally, it is as harmonious a group as any group of that size and varying composition could possibly be.

Although I have never met any of my fellow posters, I do feel like many of them are friends. After all, they offered me sympathy when my mom passed away, they eagerly awaited my daughter’s birth, and they enjoy hearing my stories about my kids. And I enjoy sharing in their joys and struggles, as well. Because that’s what friends do, whether you’ve ever met them in person or not.


Three things I am thankful for today are my daughter’s newfound ability to roll over, my son’s polite manners, and the hint of lingering Indian summer in the air.

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