Tuesday, September 02, 2008

To Friendship

After a string of "I will" "we can't" "ok, maybe" "no, wait" emails were flung from my fingers to Mother-Woman's inbox, Chris and I finally committed to a pan-Cascadian trip to see this fine woman and her family.  Before I get into how great they are and what a wonderful visit it was,  I feel compelled to offer the following Public Service Announcement:

If you find yourself at the U.S.A./Canada border, and the very nice Canadian border guard asks, after taking possession of your family's passports, about the purpose of your visit, it is reasonable to answer: "We are visiting friends."

But, when that guard follows up with: "How do you know them?" it is perhaps not advisable to (honestly) declare that your wife met them on the internet.

Unless you want the guard to ask skeptically, "Have you met them before?" which you will be compelled to respond to in the negative.

"But I have known them for almost two years" you might chirp nervously.

At this point, you can not fault the guard for asking about the nature of your web site. Using all your powers of restraint, try not to use the word "blog," but simply respond that you discuss parenting issues and bathroom remodels. The guard might then decide that you are not heading up to Vancouver to sell your child to these "friends" and may allow you on your merry way with only a raised eyebrow and a laugh at the expense of those foolhearty Americans.

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Now that we've got that out of the way, on to the gushing! I feel somewhat overwhelmed by how fun it was to visit Mother-Woman and her family. I am always a bit nervous right before anything new, and to be honest, the border guard's skepticism could have been well-founded. Not because we were likely to be housed by dangerous criminals, but because a virtual friendship can be very different from one based on real, in-person meetings. In this case, I should not have worried. Mo-Wo is lovely, charming, smart and fun. And cute, so cute. P-man, who shows a consistently curmudgeonly face to the internet, is actually a charming and funny guy.  Plus, he very kindly guided us to the house when I called from across town to say "help, I messed up the directions!"

But enough of those two.  The real charmers are their kids. Miss Fancy and the toddler I came to think of as Captain YES! are lovely, adorable children with way better table manners than my child on a good day. (Let's just say that only one child climbed under the table at dinner, and it was not either of Mo's.) They were so cute I wanted to eat them up. But that would probably have crossed some guest-host boundary.

Ada immediately took to both kids, enough that by bathtime of the first day she got in the tub and asked: "where are my girl and my boy?" Enough so that when I told her that all four parents would be going out, leaving her and the kids with people (okay, grandparents) she'd met only minutes before, who would feed, bathe and tuck her in, she was not at all phased. Enough so that on our post-return trip tricycle ride around the block, Ada declared her desire to be just like Miss Fancy. (Never mind that she meant she wanted the same kind of streamers on her trike, I later used it to further my potty-training agenda.)

Decorated Bike

Mo-wo and P-man are incredibly gracious and kind, they fed us well and made both excellent conversation and delicious coffee. Before the visit I worried about whether we would have enough to say to one another to make it through the weekend. Luckily I was wrong. We talked about kids, work, gardens, books, neighborhoods, politics, beluga whales and why the band Destroyer is crap. (Chris, who is reading this over my shoulder, notes that Destroyer only has one song, played repeatedly throughout the show we attended. And what was up with the people who were there to see Destroyer and LEFT after Neko Case came on?)

Skate and Hermit Crab
The girls (er, skate and hermit crab) building a fish-lodge at the Vancouver aquarium

A few months ago Metrodad asked his readers about how they viewed their internet relationships: were they as important to people as in-person friends? Even though I have a couple of good friends who I met through blogging, I have in-person relationships with them that are now more important to me than our blogs. These women live nearby, making it easy to get together regularly.

Mo-Wo and P-man are hours away, across an international border (though thankfully, no time zones). We probably will not see one another often, but this weekend makes me wish that were not the case. I want to be able to stop by for coffee and have them bring the kids over to barbecue. As wistful as it makes me feel that I can not pull these wonderful people into my everyday social life, I am thrilled that I have that wish. I only hope that they had a good time this weekend and are not now changing their phone numbers or planning a name change.

Oh, and speaking of hope, I very much hoping that Blogher does end up being in Portland next summer, if only because P-man has threatened to attend, tarted up in drag, no less.


  1. (un)relaxeddad9/03/2008 5:10 AM

    Glad it worked out - what an incredibly brave thing to do!

    I kind of agree and disagree about Destroyer. But what maniac would up and leave before a Neko case set?

  2. How cool! Glad you had a nice time. And them's some cute kids . . .

  3. I am quite envious. I have met a # of other bloggers now and with very few exceptions I have fallen for all of them. Now if only one lived close by. That would be ducky.

    Thanks for approving the digs. MadDad seems to have settled in just fine.

  4. If P-Man comes to BlogHer in drag, I will also. However, I will be quite disappointed if he is not as curmudgeonly as he seems. That is one of my favorite traits of his.

    And no, it is no surprise that Mo-Wo is lovely, charming, smart, and fun. That's exactly how I always envisioned her!

    Glad you had such a nice trip and came back in one piece!

  5. Two of my favorite bloggers showing their legs? Now I am REALLY excited for a portland blogher!

  6. haha! That border story gave me chuckles.

    The folks I meet on blogs seem closer to me than some of my friends sometimes. Glad you had a good time.

  7. There are too many things I would like to say. If I could type faster than 3 wpm maybe I'd chance it. We had a great time. We are not changing our names. I am too a curmudgeon. I had a great time. Metrodad:Brazilian.

    Au reservoir!

  8. I can totally relate to this post.
    Last December, I flew, on my own, to New York (for the first time ever) to stay with a friend (and her husband) I had only met online.
    It was a scary-exciting thing to do and it worked out beautifully.
    Jacqueline wrote about it here:href="

  9. We had a most wonderful time.

    You know I have to go check now if I asked you guys for the sleepover the same day as that Metrodad post? Freakin' kismet maker!!

    And, I must note I think those grandpeople were like flashing some serious gummie bear supplies like even before we left. Figures.

    Next time. Fancy supper.