It was her first post on Medium.

She wrote about her beautiful son. And the hardest thing that she had been through — heart-wrenching. I read the first essay from her husband, bookmarked it, held her and her family in my hearts. I’ve never met her, but I cried for her family nonetheless.

A year went by, and she wrote again. She started her first Medium blog. I found it one day in my dive into the tags ‘parenting‘ and ‘pregnancy‘ that help organize the site and deliver essays for you to read. I clicked through. I noticed this was her first post on Medium. 11 recommends. 12, with mine. I rooted for her essay.

I followed her. I want to tell her how much I want to read more of her writing.

We had many friends in common. I did that thing that I don’t often do: I found her on Facebook and friended her. I felt a pull, a joy, a feeling —

I wanted to say hello in that strange internet way of no words. A click, a follow, a friend.

A few hours later,

She followed me back on Medium,

Accepted the friend on Facebook,

Recommended an essay of mine.

and I smiled, delighted. Hi there.

Across the continent, never meeting, both likely reading and pouring over internet pages in our own coffee-and-pajama world, we knew of each other. We both absorbed the other.

We spoke no words, we did nothing more than click a button to say hello to each other.

In a world of noisy likes and follows, a chatter of surplus click-bait information, sometimes a tiny nod in your direction is plenty to make you smile.

This has happened before. I have found new friends on the internet, people I’ve never met, people I have come to adore. We speak through shared essays, we write notes to each other, we join in the conversation on Facebook. I still have yet to speak or hug Christina Rasmussen in person, and I think of her dearly. (I can’t wait until we do.) I met Emma Sedlak through our shared love of teaching, reading, and writing — and she joined me as an assistant in teaching my Writer’s Workshop. We ended up chatting on the phone nearly every month, even as she went off to Australia and our phone calls became 6AM her time.

In the online world, we can find each other’s voices and dig in. Listen in. Reach out, write to each other, find new people that say yes to the world in the same way that we say yes.

There is a piece of the online world that accepts friendships in a new way. A digital moment, an internet glance.

And for my new friend, the new mama starting a writing journey, an aspiring writer:

I’m here, listening. I like your writing. Your voice is clear.

Thanks for showing up, mama. you’ve been through a lot. I appreciate you.