mother’s friendship roll is long and full. she has friends from work, friends from starbucks, friends from church, friends she grew up with. mother is always socializing with this friend or that friend. sending cards. going to lunch. making quick check-in phone calls.

me? well, i always said that my children made me the best friends – and in many ways they still do. historically, my friends were mothers of my children’s friends. now my friendship roll is populated with women i’ve met through my involvement with the theatre company my daughter started 5 years ago. many of the people i graduated from high school with are still in the area, and i count them as friends. my friends from graduate school, both classmates and faculty, are scattered around the world. and then there are the women i’ve met online – mostly through blogs and twitter.

(my mother must occasionally worry about how many people will be at my funeral, because that is an important testament, you know.)

in my experience, the evolution of an online friendship – at least on twitter – goes like this: exchange follows on twitter > exchange tweets and retweets > comment on each other’s blog > swap private emails > exchange phone numbers > connect via phone or skype > meet in person.

many of my friends live in different time zones, so when we do lunch, it’s a virtual lunch.

and it’s not always at lunchtime for at least one of us.

but they’re still friendships. we’re women who share the same interests; ask the same questions of ourselves and others; laugh together; cry together; help each other realize our desires and dreams; and just generally see and consequently bring out the best in each other. it’s amazing how close i feel to so many of these women i’ve never laid eyes on. how much i cherish them, am stimulated by their creativity, enriched by their intelligence, shored by our conversations.

one of these women is celebrating a birthday today: angela kelsey (@angelakelsey). angela is an avid, intrepid seeker who is (thank goodness) willing to share her questions and occasional answers. her open mind and equally open heart inspire me, tickle me, challenge me, encourage me. though her interests are varied, the common thread is a desire to be the very best woman she can be. please click on her name to visit her blog or find her on twitter or, if all else fails, leave a comment here to join me in wishing her happy, happy.

when angela and i first met in person, the ways our friendships differ from our mothers’ friendships really surfaced. when angela told her mother that i was meeting her in columbia, south carolina, her mother expressed concern that i might turn out to be an axe murderer or something. we laughed as she told me the story, but i couldn’t help thinking how understandable that is from our mothers’ perspectives.

well anyway, whether your friends live in the same town or are neighbors in the etherhood, go invest some time into evolving a friendship, will ya? the return on investment is astounding, humbling, life changing.