To the mum at the hospital today. I heard what your child said. And I heard you tell him he’s naughty. I’m not sure what I wanted you to say…but that wasn’t it.
I may not have visibly reacted but you wouldn’t have seen my hand shaking as I tried to pay for my parking. Walking away with your berated child in tow you didn’t notice my eyes well up. Nor were you there to see the tears spill over as soon as I sat in my car. Thankfully my child didn’t hear yours. At least she said she didn’t.
I wonder if I should have spun around and said something. But what? Maybe I could have introduced our children. I know I wouldn’t have managed an empathetic “kids hey” type smile. I couldn’t. His words, however innocently he may have said them, hurt too much.
Your day may have been difficult. We were at a hospital after all. All I know is about our day. I know my child was so agitated when being assessed that the measurements weren’t accurate. I also know she felt hungry and concerned about the needles being painful. I had to listen to the doctor list possible side effects of the procedure and the risks associated with it. One risk she was required to tell me was the one no mother wants to hear. I then had to be in the room and help the doctor, nurses and therapist as poison was injected into various spots on her body. When we walked out of the pharmacy in front of you our plan was to pay for parking then go home.
“She’s dead. She’s dead.” “That’s naughty don’t say that. She’s still alive.” It’s not something I have ever heard…and I thought I had heard it all. I have comebacks for “what’s wrong with her?”, “why is she in a chair?”. I have perfected the warm smile for a friendly face, the encouraging smile for an uncertain one and the over-the-top grin for those-who-stare. But I have nothing for this. There is nothing for this.
All I can hope is there was a conversation at your place tonight. That somehow you managed to realise and convey my gorgeous girls humanity and her similarities to your boy. What else is there?