Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Virtual—Almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition

In Junior High I was a part of an English Literature program called Great Books. At the beginning of each school year we were given a compilation of ten or twelve stories. We had to read one story every few weeks. During our English class on “Great Books day” we would all sit in a circle and discuss the tale.

One Great Books story that I remember was about virtual reality. I can recall a story about a room that would become whatever you imagined. And then something terrible happened. I don't recollect what, I just know it was terrible. Great Books stories rarely had happy endings.

I do remember that I did not feel positively about the whole “virtual reality” idea.

Until last week. When I fell in love with Facebook Chat once and for all.

See, I have a younger sister. When Mom was pregnant with her, she would always refer to the baby as "Cheryl's baby". And that is how I have always felt about Cherise. Mine.

Mine to boss. Mine to direct. Mine to control. :-) I wish I were joking.

But thankfully, I grew up and relinquished the perceived control and bossiness (oh yes I have!) Now, I just remain with "mine".

Mine to admire. Mine to love. Mine to share life with. Still, mine to take care of.

No matter how many years I live all these many miles from her, that last thing doesn't die away. I always want to take care of her.

Email, phone calls and long, long conversations when I am on furlough fill our gaps to some degree and keep me connected to her. But nothing challenges my desire to care for my baby sister more, than when she has a baby.

You see, there is just something horrifically wonderful about that whole birthing thing that makes a sister want to be there. Hold a hand. Shout encouragement. Pray.

Two times my sister was preggers and delivered without me around to help. Those boys came out fine, but I wasn't there. And it's one of those sacrifices that I can't get back. Or balance out. It's just a sacrifice.

Then, she got preggers again. And I was going to be there. I had been talking to my hubby about it for months. I just wanted to hold that baby and hold my sisters hand.

But, unexpected things happen. In January, my ticket was purchased so I could say goodbye to Granddaddy. Another trip in February was a difficult thing to pull off.

So, my sister had a baby again. Without me in the room…actually.

But, I was there…virtually.

ONLINE. Good grief. I kept thinking, “This is like a Great Books story!”

With Mom and Wade on Facebook Chat, I knew everything. Everything--ya'll. It was awesome! I saw pictures of that baby girl within the hour of her arrival! In Africa.

Of course, it wasn’t a room turning into anything. And I know there is much discussion of how our real worlds are being affected by our “virtual communities” for good or for bad. But Facebook Chat provided a virtual reality for me. And until I can see that baby for myself, I'll take what I can get.

Virtual knowledge with a very happy ending.

Feel free to circle up and discuss that!

1 comment:

the Redelsperger family said...

Cheryl! Thanks so much for sharing! I have just come across your blog today via my mother in law up in Washington. I hope you don't mind that I put a link to your blog on my page. Your words of wisdom inspire! Thanks for writing! In Him,
Amy Coate Redelsperger