I have a friend. A friend I have “known” for about three years now. A friend whose children I have watched grow, whose accomplishments I have cheered, whose drive I have admired. Yet, until a few weeks ago we have only known each other in the cyber world. As luck would have it, Valarie, of “A Place Like This” came to Boston, and we spent a couples of day together.
It started with a tour of the USS Constitution where we met in person for the very first time. We explored the ship and learned some fascinating facts but the highlight for some of us was playing on the giant weights in the shipyard. They came this close to moving those.
Later that day Valarie and two of her kids came to our house for dinner. We ate, chatted, and laughed like we were family. The younger kids broke the ice with a puppet fight and moved on to some Lego building. After a little resistance and lots of talk about how “rusty” she is on the keys, we convinced Valarie to play the piano for us. Let me tell you, folks, if that was her “rusty” then I don’t know what to think. She’s amazing.
Her boy, “O” spent much of the night as my husband’s apprentice, which was equally as thrilling for each of them. Alex had someone to enthusiastically babble on about woodworking with, “O” had someone willing to teach him how to use the tools and show him the process behind a finished product. And that boy has a love for learning like none other. When he and Alex were done in the wood shop, “O” and I went to my shop and he tried his hand at soldering, hammering, and bending metal. I see a future in the skilled crafts for him.
Meanwhile, Valarie’s older daughter, “Zuzu” told stories of exciting things in her near future, and she beams with potential, enthusiasm and a surprising amount of insight for a twenty-three year old.
We snuck a “girls only” picture while the menfolk were in the wood shop, and later got a great one of the whole group too. We said our goodbyes and promised we would meet up again someday. Well, that day ended up being a week later, because Valarie and “O” joined us for apple picking! You can read all about our day at the orchard here, at Valarie’s blog.
While meeting people you know from online is generally something we tell our kids to avoid, I highly recommend it! Here’s to friends, “cyber” or in person, or otherwise.