Today, I was sent this post which really blew my mind. We’ve all read great anonymous letters written on the internet to people the author sometimes barely knows. Today, I found out that we were the subject of one.
A mom, I had briefly chatted with while Charlie was waiting to be x-rayed at Sick Kids this past summer, had written a post about her encounter with myself and my kids. I wanted to respond privately but also thought it would be fun to let you all in on it. Without further ado….
To the Other Mom in the Hospital Waiting Room,
To begin, I think you did run over my foot. But to be fair, the pain only returned briefly today after I remembered and I’m pretty sure it didn’t hurt at all at the time.
Your letter was incredibly touching and special to me and to be honest it made me a little sad. Do people really not move when you have to plug in a machine to help your child breathe? Is this what we’ve come to as a society?
As you know and I know but not everyone reading this knows, we are both Canadian. Part of being Canadian to me means getting up when its helpful, saying sorry even when you have no reason to be and giving up your seat on public transit for the young, the old and the pregnant. And frankly anyone else who looks like they really need your seat.
It pains me to think that people would not do that for your adorable son.
Now here comes the big confession part. I didn’t feel sorry for you. At least not that I remember. If I did, I would have probably felt worse that you had a newborn because that was a tough go for me. I don’t remember your son looking ill. As I thought about it again today, I remembered only a giant cast and a very smiley face. I have absolutely no memory of this machine you speak of. I think that’s an important part for you to take away from this letter. I don’t remember him as being ill. I remember him as being really cute, funny and a little scared. That’s all.
I am happy we didn’t flinch but not surprised. Part of our secret is that the kids have been introduced to so many wonderful people in their short life spans who all have differences. From friends of many skin colours, to openly gay and married couples who serve as their mentors and pseudo family, to another wonderful “aunt” who has quadriplegia to the many many people who cross our paths everyday, everyone to us is just another person.
We don’t really feel sorry for many people and instead we try to impart on the kids that most people, including people who are visibly mentally ill or the homeless people we encounter daily, are in fact just like us and deserve our respect and compassion more than our pity or indifference. Only I must admit I seriously feel sorry for the homeless guy in my neighbourhood that sells pens. He has been doing it for like 10 years and I just want to tell him we all have enough pens but there is a market for other things like tic tacs or stickers or those pocket hand warmer things. He would make a killing on those. I digress…
I want to end by thanking you for your kind words. As I read them this evening aloud to Will and Charlie, I sort of lost it a little. Okay, a lot. Your words made me prouder of them than I already was.
I want you to know something that I noticed about you. You were alone with a kid in a half body cast and a baby the size of a grapefruit. I remember chatting with you and thinking “she’s got this together”.
I have not been cast a very hard lot with my two and there are days where I lose my shit from 8 am until bedtime. I cannot imagine what you were actually going through that day. I’m not shocked that you rocked it. You were rocking the whole month in my opinion. I go insane when my kids show me a wiggly tooth. You freaking popped out a newborn and then dealt with a broken femur.
That’s the thing about us moms. We sit in waiting rooms, mostly on our phones (which I am sure I was guilty of that day), not really chatting anymore or checking in on each other. No one shouts across a waiting room “Hey, you look like you’ve got this under control”. Whatever made us talk that day, I am glad it happened. You are a strong lady and an incredible writer and I will be forever thankful to be able to show this piece to my kids as they grow older.
I always say to them that I don’t care what they end up being in life as long as they are kind and happy human beings. Your letter will be a part in their upbringing to keep them on the straight and narrow.
Please feel free to write to me whenever you need to vent, laugh, or have a break. Next time, you can probably just email me directly. I am no different than you although I am a little farther out of the trenches with the age of my kids and can give you a good perspective on how fast it goes.
I wish all the best for your son. I seriously just remember him as a fun, giggly kid who was making the best of a very uncomfortable situation. One I am not sure I would be strong enough to deal with if it was me. (You should see what happens when I have an I.V. in; forget about a freaking half body cast).
I hope he has healed and is generally doing well and I hope we meet again. Let’s just make it outside of the Hospital for Sick Children’s X-Ray Clinic.