I have a whole new group of friends. It took me awhile to get all of their names straight. There were so many of them, and almost all at once. They were all colors, shapes and sizes, and while I didn’t lack a social life before, I now found myself befriending many types of animals and creatures as well. It was a strange new world, getting to know them all and getting up to speed with all of their likes and dislikes. They rarely leave my house, but unlike stereotypical houseguests, they never leave wet towels anywhere, they don’t have any special dietary requirements, and they don’t mind sleeping in a heap from time to time. Of course, not once has one of them ever offered to clean up, but I guess you can’t win them all. Isn’t it enough to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, school friends, skating friends, the local baristas, people at my husband’s office . . . just anyone I need to remember. But this? This I didn’t see coming.
Eventually this crew allowed other species to make their way into the living room, but not into the kids’ beds. That is sacred territory. Only a spaceman of extreme worthiness could bridge that gap, and his landing occurred in late 2009.
Alas, my head swimming in more names than I’ll ever remember and more faces daily that blur my eyes are now the audience to which I must cater. Who gets to sleep in bed? Who gets to go in the car? Who watches you eat breakfast? No, they can’t go to school with you. You have real friends there. I know, I know, these friends ARE real. Sigh. I just sometimes wish my kids had imaginary friends. They would be far less messy, could go anywhere with us at any time (except the bathroom – PLEASE LET ME PEE IN PEACE!!), and I’d never trip over them or take an unexpected ride across the living room, face first into the couch because they got left behind in the rush of everyone trying to play with the same toy at once.
I rarely have time to talk on the phone, and without Facebook I might have less of that aforementioned 'social life'. But when I see the wonder on my children’s faces as they talk to Charlotte, Hazel, Stripey, Eggo, Hop Hop or whoever, and make up stories to create this ‘real’ environment, I have to pause and wonder. These stuffed friends remain in previous centuries, blissfully unaware of digital friendship. It’s like they know something about being face to face. Despite the fact that they are so loved they almost have no faces left. Hmmm.