I was recently on Facebook when a friend messaged me. This friend was near and dear to me in college, but as life often does, it took ahold of us and pulled us in entirely different directions. Sadly, at this point in our lives, our only communication is via Facebook. We began our chat and one of the first things she asked me was if I was still teaching or staying at home. Anyone who really knows me, knows that I stay home now and why so the question made me a little curious. Clearly, she did not know a thing about Oia (though I'm sure I once mentioned our situation in an email long ago).
Anyways, I told her I spend my days at home caring for Oia and have been able to do so since shortly after her diagnosis and her reply was "I'm sorry". I feel like that is the typical, safe thing to say when one doesn't know what else to offer. I hate hearing "I'm sorry". I dove in and asked her if she even knew about Oia and she apologized for not knowing. That's when I told her Oia has cerebral palsy. As I've heard a thousand times before, she said something to the effect of how God knew we would be the perfect parents for this girl and how lucky she was to have us but I quickly assured her that Rob and I were the lucky ones in this situation.
That must have been all of the topic she could handle because what she messaged next shocked me.... and kinda hurt at the same time.
Completely changing the subject, she says "On to a more positive note...." at which time she turned the topic into something insignificant regarding music.
No curious questions. No inquires about progress, Oia's current health, etc. No nothing. Just changed the subject, and in doing so left me feeling no colder then than I do on this 20 degree winter day in Virginia.
I'm just like any other mom. I want to talk about my kid too. Although Oia's different by medical definition, she is something worth talking about. She is not a taboo subject that needs changing. She is the most "positive note" I have to share with anyone. Who else can speak very little yet has so eloquently communicated and taught me some of the most beautiful lessons I'll ever learn?
There's no need to feel sorry. There's no need to change the subject. Next time, have a heart, show some compassion, and ask about my girl. She works too hard to keep her triumphs a secret. You'd be amazed and you just might even leave our conversation on a more "positive note".