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January 11, 2009

Blogosphere, There's a Good Reason I Can't Quit You

They say when things get tough, the tough get going.  For me, when things get tough, I retreat to my home office to procrastinate and hide.  If I do that long enough, the hard things will go away, right?

I'm not talking about day-today tough, like managing to juggle school schedules, errands and professional obligations.  HAH!  I scoff!  These days, those things seem like a piece of cake, though I have done more than my fair share of complaining about them in the past.

I'm talking about the parenting curve ball.  The moment you realize that your child develops a need, be it physical, emotional or social, that comes out of left field and you find yourself unprepared.  Or one that sneaks up on you, little by little and as a parent you discover yourself in a situation where you finally admit you need help -- especially the emotional kind.

That's why I can't quit you, blogosphere.

You see, something has come up with our third-grader that we're hoping will ultimately be OK, but it's going to take a lot of work and patience to sort through.  As I've pondered how we'll all manage as we try to jump this new hurdle, I sit at my desk staring at the computer screen looking for answers.  I finally realized that I needed to reach out to some of my bloggy friends for advice and support.

And you know what?  The outpouring has been amazing.  Not just the amount of kindness and thoughtfulness, but an amazing level of information and expertise, as well.  It turns out, I'm not alone on this journey of challenging parenthood and some of these women -- some I've known for a while and some I'm just getting to know better -- have reached back and said, in essence, "We're here for you.  Say the word and we'll prop you up, give you information, and share pieces of our lives to help you."

As wonderful as my 3D friends are, it turns out that the camaraderie and level of compassion I've discovered in the virtual world is a kind I have rarely felt in "real life."  Maybe that's just because I haven't met the right friends in my "real" world.  But the social safety net I've discovered online is as valuable to me as anything else I've discovered.

I still get plenty of questions from people about why I spend so much time online, writing blogs, going to conferences and meeting people I'm only going to see once or twice a year.

To the skeptics I say, I can't replace the kind of warmth and outpouring of kindness that my "blog" friends have shown me and as far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as having too many friends in life, no matter whether you see them every day or just read their words on the computer screen, knowing that they are really only an E-mail or phone call away.

I've been the beneficiary of more friendship and kindness in recent months from these amazing women than I had ever thought possible.  And there's no way I'm going to quit them.

Joanne usually spends her time thinking about more political goings-on at her place, PunditMom.

Original DC Metro Moms blog post.

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