"Imaginary friend" is the term Jason uses to describe people I know online through blogging.
Two weeks ago, Josiah, Grace, and I drove to meet Kathleen
and her family for the first time when she was visiting family in a nearby city. I was very excited and a little nervous to meet Kathleen; Josiah spent time speculating whether or not we would actually recognize each other. (We did.) We met at Chick-fil-A since rain was in the forecast, and as I spotted Kathleen parking and everyone getting out of their van, it was a little surreal...I told her it was as though photos from her blog were coming to life in the parking lot. We all enjoyed our lunch together and, since it wasn't raining after all, we decided to head over to a local zoo as we had originally planned.
The kids paused briefly for photographs
|Josiah, Jacob, Audrey, and Grace|
before they began racing through the zoo together. At one point, Grace came running back to tell me, so excitedly, "Feline is here! Feline is here!"
Who is Feline? Feline is the deer Grace becomes when she is playing the Baby Deer Game
. While she rarely crawls under a pillow to become the baby deer who has lost her mother, she still occasionally does the Baby Deer Dance.
So, yes, I had to explain to Kathleen why Grace was so very excited to see a deer
in a zoo.
We saw a bald eagle
and he saw me when Kathleen made some noise to get him to look her way! Yikes. What a look.
We saw a few bears
|At the bear exhibit|
and some really
|Audrey and Josiah|
We left the zoo area and headed over to the playground. I find it hilarious that Kathleen and I both got similar shots here
as we walked towards the pond. (I had stopped off at our van to get Josiah's water bottle and as well as some leftover fries to feed the geese and ducks. Everyone else went on down the trail, so Kathleen and I walked these parts separately.)
We spent a little time feeding the geese and ducks the leftover fries
and then some grease from the fries got on my camera lens and made the rest of my photos a little blurry. :(
The kids had fun playing together. The girls played "house" and the boys played games of friendly but sometimes, well, painful competition. Kathleen and I chatted in the way that moms with six children around them chat. (It would have been seven except Robert stayed with Jason that day.)
The kids rather reluctantly posed for a group shot before we said our goodbyes.
And you know what happened? Somewhere along the way--really, early on during our visit--I lost my imaginary friend
|Kathleen and me|
...and found a real friend.
I love how it wasn't awkward when we first met. We began talking like we'd known each other for a while--which, of course, we had, just online. I love how our kids got along so well. I love how Grace wants to mail Audrey some of her books as soon as she got home--just because--and how Josiah has asked when he can see Michael and Jacob again.
I'm hoping it's pretty soon, because I'm looking forward to seeing Kathleen again, too. I have a few hundred questions to ask her now that I'm not a bit nervous. ;)