When my daughter tried to kill herself, all my friends abandoned me.
My real-life friends, that is. I sat in the waiting room of the psych ward completely alone and terrified, walking out every so often to call my husband who was home with our other child to report on nothing. They were the worst hours of my life.
Once I was sent home, I was unable to sleep. I went online to my groups seeking help. There I found what I needed. I found my tribe. They weren’t physically my neighbors, but from all over the country, and they helped me keep it together. Nothing is more powerful than a group of Mom and Google trying to solve a problem.
The online world has become what today's changing world needs- our neighborhood, even if its worldwide. It’s rare to find neighbors at home when you want to chat, seek advice or are looking for help navigating parenthood. It’s a little easier when you have smaller kids, but parenting teens its nearly impossible. That’s when I turned to my online world.
There are many forms of social media that help us stay connected and to ask questions. I started blogging about bullying because I couldn’t find all the answers, and I wanted to be the person others could come to when they needed someone to be there for them. Lately I’ve been using an app called SpokeHub, which is just like a real time chatroom. I like being able to talk easily with someone in a platform where it’s all about one topic.
It’s like seeing the neighbors back door open, smelling the coffee, and wandering over for a cup of coffee and some chat. Just Online.
When my kids were little, we lived in a neighborhood with friends in every other house. We connected to each other and were there for each other. Now that they are older and we live in a more rural, not less friendly, but less engaged community, it’s hard to find that. I’m thankful that I found my tribe online. I love being able to turn to my friends who are empty nesters for advice and being asked for advice by other Moms. I know that I can reach out and there will be a hand, or hug waiting for me, even if it’s virtual. My online connections are as real and strong if not stronger than my real-life friendships, and I’m thankful for both of them.