My Faraway Friend – One Mom’s Whine
Not in the too distant past, friends were people you met in your neighborhood and occasionally while traveling. Friends from faraway were also made while away at college. But almost always these friends were made in person during a face to face meeting. As with almost every other facet of our lives, the internet has changed that! Friendships and even marriages sometimes begin online, over texting, via FaceTime and so many social media platforms. For me one of those friendships started over a year ago. Gayle and I have kids who both work at Disney and their friendship resulted in a true gift for both of us – our friendship! Our connection began as we parented “team style”. One of us would encourage our respective offspring toward a goal, then step back while the other one encouraged their offspring. Sometimes this worked, and sometimes it didn’t. But one thing it did accomplish was an exchange between the two of us that felt as natural and easy as if we had known each other for years and years. My newest Faraway Friend and I were ready to meet in person!
We texted, messaged and commiserated through car worries, hurricanes, budget woes and job concerns. While we worried and spent sleepless nights on our phones our kids slept peacefully and breezed through as kids do! Somewhere along the way our conversations stopped being solely about our kids and we learned more about each other. the only thing missing was an in person meet up! For months we planned and tried to sync our schedules, but every time something would come up or change at the last minute and we would go back to our calendars to try again.
After a year of failed attempts we were finally successful on April 13th. As I walked to the hotel room door it occurred to me that maybe I should be nervous to meet my faraway friend in person for the first time. Especially since we were about to share a hotel room for three days! But the only thing I felt was excitement! And when that door opened we squealed and hugged and knew that everything was going to be great! And it was!
It didn’t feel like meeting for the first time at all! For over a year we had been messaging each other almost every single day! During Gayle’s recent surgery I spent a restless day pacing around the house waiting to hear that all was well. When I finally got a message saying she was doing well I finally was able to sit down. But a few days later when I got the first real message from Gayle I cried tears of joy knowing she was back! We had planned this trip the night before her surgery. And now here we were! Finally!
Our kids were what first brought us together, but our mutual love of Disney was our second connection. So what better place to meet up than Walt Disney World in Orlando! We spent our first morning playing in Epcot at the Flower and Garden Festival! Flowers, Photos, Monorails and yummy treats were at the top of our list for Friday morning. Once again, we were so in sync it seemed like we had done this together multiple times!
That evening we headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Galactic Nights! Wow! What fun to walk the red carpet down Hollywood Boulevard! Special photo ops were part of the scavenger hunt while special meet and greets and shows filled the rest of our evening! Of course the night’s finale was the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, which lit up the sky with fireworks, projections and lasers! It was truly a galactic experience that we’ll never forget – made even more special because we saw it all together!
Over the past few months we, along with so many others, had been watching April the giraffe and waiting for her baby to make it’s debut! I have to admit that I was skeptical at one point and worried that they were pulling the ultimate April Fool’s joke! But that proved to be wrong. On Saturday morning when I woke up Gayle said “you might want to check in on April”. And sure enough, that was the day! We laughed and cried and cheered when her sweet baby was finally born! And the fact that we were able to watch it together made it even more special!
We had a magical last day together watching parades at the Magic Kingdom and meeting Kylo Ren at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Sadly it was our last day for this trip. But as we hugged goodbye at the airport the next morning we knew it wouldn’t be long before we would meet up again for more adventures!
Thanks to technology a Faraway Friend doesn’t seem so far away! Just this week while I’ve been having my own family’s health issues, Gayle has been the one who has reached out to me every single day – multiple times. She’s kept me focused on what matters and helped me take care of myself while taking care of everyone else. So even though our next face to face visit may be a little way into the future, our friendship continues to grow and support each other from faraway, because that’s what a Faraway Friends does!