Come on in. Stay awhile.

This is gonna sound weird, but I really love growing up on Facebook. I love watching my friends grow up (not old!) with me. I love seeing their smiling faces on Facebook every day (ok, sometimes every couple of hours. what?) and knowing they are happy. Or not. Either way, I have the gift of knowing and being there, for the good and the bad. And honestly, without FB, it would be a heck of a lot harder to keep up with everyone. It's like a central memory bank/webcam/window into the various parts of my life - past, present, future.

Also: my friends? The best looking group on earth. They are all so beautiful, and they get better looking all the time. The laugh lines, the sparkling eyes, the goofy smiles. The little girl I grew up with now thriving in her medical residency. The boys I rode BMX bikes with down to the 3-D Mart for candy and comics, now grown men with families. My college buddies who are spread out all over the world living out their dreams. It's all right there in front of me, beside me, whether they are down the street or on the other side of the world.

And it makes me so, so, so very happy to see all of them, anytime.

You see, I get quite attached to people. Sometimes too much. If you touched my life for the better in some way, even for 10 minutes, I will always remember you and be there for you. That's kinda how my silly heart works, and Facebook kinda feeds that silly heart til it's stuffed happy with good people updates, links, photos, crazy videos.

What an AMAZING bunch of human beings they are, my Facebook friends. Personally, I only friend folks that I have had some sort of personal contact with, either in person or online, or via mutual good friends. They're battling cancer, MS, severe food allergies, Celiac disease, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction, OCD handwashing issues. They're single, divorced, married, gay, straight, bisexual, dazed & confused. They hate kids, have 1-6 kids, are dealing with recent miscarriage, IVF treatments, going through the adoption process. They are agnostic, Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, atheist, Muslim, bow to the church of Whiffies (not in Portland? look it up).

You get the point. The diversity in their updates makes me smile. That they choose to share something -- anything -- with me in this cozy little nook of the web, is truly an honor.

And I'll be honest: I would not remember everyone's birthdays if it were not for Facebook. Not all 468 of you. And be honest: don't you love it when you get those birthday messages? Of course you do!

Because if you strip away all the potential drama and silly games associated with Facebook, what it comes down to is that even if you last spoke with so-and-so 20 years ago, you've decided to let them into a little part of your life for one reason or another...and they have allowed you into theirs. And that means something.

I love Facebook because of them. I can't tell all of them in person or even over the phone everyday, but in some small limited-character, funny, complaining, happy, tired way, I can reach out to these very important people and let them in.

For people who are outwardly-social-but-really-closet-loners like me, it means a lot. It means a lot.


Have wings, will fly

I speak often of the gifts my children give me--the life lessons, the hard lessons I need to learn as a parent and to grow as a person. It has been two and a half months since I wrote this post about my 2.5 year old daughter's speech delays, and I have slowly come to understand her lesson to me in this part of our relationship: I need to let her do things on her own time...and I need to learn to let go.

In just under 3 months, my daughter went from speaking just a few words to now speaking full short sentences and bringing in almost a dozen new words and phrases a day. Like so many mamas who graciously offered me their support and words of experience having gone through something similar, I just needed to be patient. In time -- her own time -- she found her words. And so many of them! Oh, what a GLORIOUS sound to hear my daughter speaking! Every new word she says, every new phrase, is said with such confidence and such bravado! Along with both of my kids' laughter, hearing her say a new word or phrase is the BEST sound in the whole entire world!

And honestly? She did it on her own. Sure, my husband and I worked with her on her words, and her teachers did too. I'm sure being in school helped. But truly, I feel she has always had the words, known the meanings, understood everything clearly. She is the one who pieced it all together and made the words come to life...on her own time.

I'm so proud of my little girl. She wore this fairy/Tinkerbell costume for Halloween and after some hesitation (loud barking dogs and older kids in scary costume were cause for pause early on our trick-or-treating adventure), she proudly raced up the steps from door to door with her big brother and cousins, shouted "trick or treat!" replied "thank you!" and left with a smile, singing "Happy Halloween!" and then in-between a couple of houses surveying her bounty she declared "Look mom! Chocolate! Candy!" Later that night at home, we asked my son if he had fun, and she chimed in "Me too! I had fun too!" Hard to believe that just two and a half months ago, she was only speaking a handful of words, and we were worrying about speech therapy and hearing tests.

Watching her on Halloween, with those big wings on her back and her unbridled excitement, I really almost thought that she could fly. She had THAT much fun, and was full of that much confidence. As long as I let her use those wings, I know she can and she will.