Today started like any other day. Get up, meds for the kids, give E Prevacid, Q gets Cephalex, get bottles ready, kids ready and out to the door for Pilates while daddy gets E ready for her Acupressure appt and Q begins his daily dancing routine before nanna H arrives. Okay, I may be slightly exaggerating here, I don’t do Pilates every day, but can you imagine what I would look like if I did! (Pause for dramatic reflection on my physique if I could/would do Pilates everyday – sorry babe…and we’re back…) 2 days a week I do Pilates, but this is not the point of my story. On the way out the door and at the first stop sign I come to I hit my mobile log-in to my personal email. I put my phone down (I am working on not using my phone for anything other than talking while driving – much harder than expected for multi-tasking people like me, there is so much time you can be getting stuff done (please note, this is laden with sarcasm as I know this is NOT something I should be doing)) and keep going until I come to the next stop light. My email has downloaded by this point and I glance through to identify all spam to delete first before doing anything else, but as I scroll, I keep seeing Facebook emails from friends and long-lost friends with comments about my stories. Now keep in mind I am always on the verge of a nervous breakdown these days (only half kidding here, I always joke it’s going to be the unfortunate person who decides that they are going to be rude to me on a bad day that will suffer from the wrath of all my pent-up emotion, but for now the world has stayed safe,save one or two close calls with an intrusive neighbor who had the audacity to rap on my passenger car window when I was sitting in my driveway in park talking on the phone to the nanny inside because she said I was going to hit her….what?!…quick sidebar, in my anger, I told her I hadn’t moved and she should relax and she retorted that “she would relax when she was dead…clearly she was stable”…anyway), so I tear up somewhat easily with anything that strikes me as touching, thoughtful, nice, sweet, or any variation of kindness that is unprovoked and unexpected. So, here I am sitting at the stoplight and I start to read the comments that people have written and I am overwhelmed by emotion. It almost felt like a groundswell, where I was being picked up and carried like Rudy after he plays his first and only game at Notredame. Now, 64 people does not a groundswell make to most people, but for me, I was so touched and for me it was HUGE. So I sat at the stoplight for a second longer than I should have and was a few minutes late, but I teared up. Not a full-blown cry, but it’s was the kind of moment where your heart is full and you have to take the moment to say thank you to the universe for giving you this moment, sometimes when you most need it and you didn’t even know it. This is friendship in the digital age…the phenomenon that one post on a Facebook page, or a tweet or a blog post can drive a wonderful, loving response and give you the feeling that even from far away you matter and are supported.
In my job, I spend an a great deal of time talking about social media and the power of it in creating conversations for advertisers and thinking about ways to incorporate these social tools into the marketing mix for our clients as they look to create a dialogue with their customers, but I myself have not been what they call a “power user”. I am primarily a passive user with the exception of a few times that I wanted to address a large group to send a message of thanks for well-wishes or a big GO DUCKS! (Ummm, we went to the National Football Championship, I would have been remiss not supporting them). I primarily have done this because I am somewhat of a private person (this sounds ridiculous as I am typing a blog, but trust me when I tell you, I am out of my comfort zone) and I tend to process my thoughts and emotions internally (just ask KSP as we for the past 2 years have tried to figure out the best way to work through our respective fears and sadness in very different ways). For me, I have spent the past 2 years in a cocoon of sorts. With everything going on, I felt distant and removed as I struggled with the “right” answer for the question “how are the kids?”. What was the right answer…give people enough information so that they aren’t uncomfortable and hearing more than they want to hear or not give them any and just say things are “fine” which is far from truth. If there were thought bubbles above my head you would have seen these conversations and debates internally, “how should I answer the question?”, “is this the time to go into it”, “what do they already know?”, “I don’t want to make them uncomfortable or bore them” and so on and so forth. KSP would go on preemie support groups like “Inspire” (which is incredible if you need support from parents and other struggling with children with prematurity or special needs) and scour YouTube and other sites for babies and diagnosis’ that seemed similar to E, but I could not do this. These sites made me sad, so sad and scared. Scared to put my fears into the universe for fear that they may come true (they call this magical thinking, but if feels far from magical, when the thoughts you have are devastating). So I would talk to my family sometimes and friends sometimes, but usually no one because of my magical thinking fears and because I didn’t want other people to worry. You see, if they really understood what was going on with E, they would worry and want to talk about their worries and the possible outcomes and I didn’t have the capacity and energy to soothe their worries and I didn’t have the answers that I so desperately wanted myself. So, last night as I sat in front of my computer about ready to post “Ordinary becomes Extraordinary”, this fun little Facebook share feature presented itself to me through my blog service, and I stared at the Facebook button for a good 5 minutes and ran through my internal dialogue…”will people care about this?”, “am I abusing my Facebook friends with my narcissism?”, “why would anyone want to read this?”, “is this too much information”, “are you not pressing it because you are scared of rejection or not being accepted” – (an issue I have had for many years), “are you scared if you press it, it will be real and then you will be committed?”, and the answer came to me clear as day, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Yes, was the answer to all of my questions. As a business person, my response and advice to this would be, if you are not out of your comfort zone, you are not learning, you definitely need to do it. My personal response to this was, holy crap my stomach has that squishy feeling that means I am nervous to share this with the world and this is highly personal, DO NOT DO IT…but I did, I took the leap of faith, and as has always proven true my friends were there to catch me. Virtually, you all gave me the net and I thank you. For those I talk to almost daily and to those who I haven’t spoken to in years but it so warms my heart to see your names, thank you, thank you, thank you for my Rudy moment this morning. They say that you are lucky if you can count your true friends on one hand, I am lucky enough to say that I have to use my feet too. I hope one day I will able to return the favor.