“I do not know you.”

We have received so many comments and emails in the last two weeks. Fellow bloggers know that comments can be so important. They are how we reach out to each other, establish initial contact and maintain relationships. I have not always been great at commenting back. It’s something I promised myself I’d try to be better at. But I always read every blog. I tried to respond by email. I tried.

“I’m just someone else that doesn’t know your family.”

In the last two weeks, the internet community has done more than try. They have acted. They have united together, a huge group of strangers helping a small family. You have cried. You have sent cards, food, donations. You have started March For Babies walks. You have grieved with us. You’ve turned your blogs purple. And you have used your words. Your beautiful, glorious words. There are so many blog posts dedicated to our  Maddie that we are floored. And that means so much to us, because we know how precious each individual blog is. It is your personal space, and you gave part of it to our daughter. We will be eternally grateful.

“I’m another stranger that cares about your daughter.”

I’ve been on Twitter for about a year or so. I used it off and on at first, but I didn’t fully embrace it until October, when I was thrust into my new role as a stay at home mom (SAHM). Most people don’t understand Twitter. And it’s a hard thing to explain to people who don’t “get” Web 2.0. But it’s easy for me to explain WHY I Twitter. Being a SAHM can be isolating, especially when you are used to a busy environment with a lot of co-workers. But thanks to Twitter, I was never alone. I had all my co-workers at my fingertips. I had the food bloggers to help me with recipes. The humor bloggers to tell me jokes. The single bloggers to complain about dates gone wrong, the political bloggers to keep me informed, the tech bloggers to “help” me spend my money, the fitness bloggers to encourage my weight loss. And the mommy bloggers. Oh, the mommy bloggers. I’ve relied on them to give me advice, cheer me on when I did something right, and hold my hand when my baby was sick. I never hesitated sharing my family’s life on Twitter because I always considered everyone on Twitter to be part of my life.

“I’m just some unknown person.”

On the internet, we use a term called “IRL” to describe the people we know “in real life.” So you have “blog friends” and “real life” friends. I used to throw that term around a lot, careful to keep friends separate. I feel ridiculous now. My blog friends and my real life friends are now one and the same. They rallied together to care for us. Their comments interlace on my posts. Old friends are joining twitter and interacting with new friends. Seeing everyone mingling together at Maddie’s service felt natural and right.

“You don’t know me.”

But we do. We DO know you. Because we love and miss our Maddie, and you do, too.