"Like, a real friend - or someone you've never met?" My 12 year-old asked.
"Does it really matter?" I answered defensively.
"Well yes it does," he said. "I have a lot of friends in 6th grade and I see them, in person, every single day. If you don't see them, in person, then they are not your friend."
Oh, wise one.
"Well, I have had email correspondence with her...before she was famous," I explained. "So that has to count for something."
"And that's fine, if you want to go to bed and read instead of watching Food Network with me, that's just fine. Plus, I'll have you know that the pasta your sister and I made last night was one of her recipes and that's just find and dandy if you don't want to watch my friend on TV with me."
Katie and Pasta with Tomato Cream sauce, ala The Pioneer Woman, aka my friend Ree. And yes, I desperately need a new nonstick pan, I know - I plan on Santa hearing my request and sticking one in my stocking. I also need a cleaner kitchen but I don't think Santa will be much help in that department.
That seemed to sway his way of thinking, just a little. But it was enough to get him to stop razzing me about my make believe friendship with Ree, The Pioneer Woman (who is, incidentally, also my facebook friend) and get him to get his jammies on and settle in next to me in the big green chair I like to refer to as "heaven." And so he did.
We watched her chop, saute, brine and bake her way around her lodge kitchen, Bobby Flay doing the same next to her. We watched her effortlessly entertain the enormous crowd and pass adoring glances at her children while she simultaneously went head to head with one of the food industries biggest stars. Our anticipation grew towards the end when the judges would pick the very best Thanksgiving meal and the kids held crossed fingers in the air before erupting into applause when it was announced that she had won.
It was a very exciting moment in our living room.
"Your friend won mom! Your friend won!" My 7 year-old screamed in my ear.
"I knew she would," I said.
And that's just the thing about blogging. You really do become friends in this virtual place that we occasionally call "home." And although I favor real, in person connections with those I care most about, there are moments, moments like these, when I see someone I've connected with in the way far off past who has now published a cookbook, created a brand for herself and basically hit pay dirt in the blogging world and I think, "Hey, way to go, my friend!"
And it's just as simple as that.