Friday, January 30, 2009

Debi: Welcome to Our Small World

My name is Debi, and I met my friend Stori on the Internet about two years ago.

We are both deeply feeling women, both mothers, both intensely engaged in our families and the lives we want to build for them. We met online because each of us had a child diagnosed with a birth defect that, while destined to be outgrown, left us scared and searching for answers. We found that this tiny thing, a small detail in lives that would long outlast the problem that brought us together, was only one of many surprises we would have in common.

To me, that is one of the great benefits of the internet: that two people who would never, ever have met in the days before it, could share a moment in time where they'd have otherwise felt terribly alone. As Stori and I shared our fears, commiserated about what was happening to our babies and ourselves, we discovered that there were other things we had in common, things that still surprise us every day as we chat on messaging programs and occasionally on the phone.

Why should we be surprised? Because, on the surface, Stori and I lead completely different lives. I live in an urban center just north of Chicago, Illinois. Stori lives in rural Alaska. The rhythm of our days -- indeed, the rhythm of the very seasons in our parts of the world -- dictate tremendously different challenges, joys, and even basic patterns of daily living. It's easy to get caught up in what we've come to call the "City Mouse, Country Mouse" game: enumerating our differences and teasing each other for our tendencies to fall into stereotypes of the country hick and the soft city slicker.

In the end, though, common humanity unites us. Both of us love our children, love our spouses, have an alliance with decency and respectful consensual living, and are curious about what happens outside our own comfort zones. And we both believe that there are a lot of other people out there like us. So, here is our contribution to mutual understanding in the world: Country Blog, City Blog. Welcome!

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