This Thanksgiving I have much to be thankful for. I have amazing parents; five sisters who’ve supplied me with loads and loads of fantastic nieces and nephews; wonderful in-laws; and terrific friends. I have my health. I have a job. I have a nice house. I have a car that runs well. And I have the best memories of the best husband in the whole wide world.
But there’s a special group of people that I want to thank today, because they have been such good friends to me for many years, even though I’ve never met them.
Yes, I want to say thank you to my ‘make believe’ friends. They’re a special group of people whom I’ve only ever met online—mostly through online forums for expats and repats or linguist snobs.
From the start, these friends have been good friends. Yes, our relationships are not typical and, yes, our relationships are not fully-formed, but some of those forum-folks are just amazing! We have so much in common yet we’re so very different.
There are teachers and airplane engineers; flight attendants and professional athletes; book editors and web designers; unemployed bums and retirees. They’re rich; they’re poor. They’re well-educated; they’re high school drop-outs. They’re married and moms and dads; they’re habitually single and childless.
We have nothing in common and everything in common all at once.
But I’m not thankful for those traits or those commonalities. I’m thankful for that subset of my forum friends who are real friends, too. Many of us found our way to FaceBook from our forums and have regular contact there. We read each others’ blogs. We review each others’ resumes. We help each other with anything we can.
Long before Paul died they were there. But what has meant the most to me is that the moment my sister sent an email about Paul’s death to the group on my behalf, their love and support started to flow in. And it hasn’t stopped.
This group of make believe friends are there for me every day. They cheer for me. They root for me. They care for me. And they support me. Emails, text messages, phone calls, Skype and FaceBook chats, real cards and real letters in the post. All from people I’ve never met.
I try to tell them when replying to posts and emails how much they mean to me, but this is my public announcement of that fact.
To my amazing ‘make believe’ friends: You’ve all meant so much to me over the years and I honestly don’t know how well I would have fared without your love and support.
Thank you, my ‘make believe’ friends! And have an amazingly happy Thanksgiving!!