Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Weird and Perfect Tribe

I recently returned from my annual pilgrimage to NerdCampMi in Michigan. 

Yes, it's a real thing. And it's an awesome thing. This is the one time of year that I can hang out and learn with people who are a lot like me. It's great to meet authors and illustrators. It's also great to meet new people and learn from experts. 
But the best part? It's seeing these folks.

We missed you, SD, KP, MK, and MS.

What makes them so great?

Well, one of them is my sister, and my sister is my heart. Having her with me this year was the best part of NerdCamp. She is truly the nerdiest of nerds in the best way.

Dorky sisters.

I only get to see the rest of these weirdos once per year. We look forward to it and we talk about it and we plan what we will wear and what we will eat and which books we will bring for each other. They have become my family, even though they live all over the US - from Maine to Chicago and many places in between. 

(And we talk every day through a snazzy little app we love. More about that in another post.)

It was especially sweet this year, though.
Not because I learned so much. (I did.)

Not just because I met Kate DiCamillo. 
(I did and I think I had a stroke.)

Having a stroke with one of my favorite authors.
Not just because I got to hang with these kickbutt writer friends Jess Keating and Josh Funk. (Wicked awesome.)

So Wicked Nerdy.
And not just because I took a creepy picture with Victoria Coe. 
(I had way too much fun with her.)

Left: Weirdo, Right: Victoria Coe, author

It was sweet because I'm still learning an important life lesson about friends. 

I'm still learning, at age 39 1/2, that these friends are people who may be out of sight, but they're not out of mind. They are people who put up with the ebbs and flows of distance and job changes and moves. They look out for me and include me in their daily lives.

They know that when I put books and ideas on social media, that I'm truly not bragging or showing off. They know that I'm simply sharing my love for what I do. Because I really do love it THAT MUCH. They know that I want others to share books and ideas with me, too.

So goofy, with author Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

The crazy part is these friends don't even live within 100 miles of me.

I've had a ton of changes in my life the past few years. Job change, location change, family changes. But these lovelies have been the most wonderfully supportive nerds. Even from afar.

I'm amazed at how my understanding of friendship keeps changing, even as I approach the 40th birthday. I always assumed that adults had it all together, which I of course know now is laughably wrong.

So thank you, LB, KB, MS, MK, KP, SD, RH, KS, CD, JL, NB, and MG and so many others.
Thanks for putting up with me and learning with me and geeking out about the same stuff with me. 
(Even those of you who don't love Winn-Dixie.)

(But I mean, really about the Winn-Dixie thing? Who doesn't love that book?)

Love you guys. 

Until next time.