Sunday, June 20, 2010
Dear Someone I Once Knew,
I will see you tomorrow at the reunion, and I will remember how we were pregnant with our daughters at the exact same time, and then two years later, our sons.
In those early years we tried to get together with the girls, but by the time the boys came into the story, we were on such divergent paths that it was hard then, impossible now.
Tomorrow we will hug, you will say how great it is to see me, how you think of me all the time. But you will not ask about my kids. You will tell me all about yours - the daughter too smart for her age, skipping a grade and no longer my daughter's peer. I have heard that story, but you will tell me again, how advanced she is and how school is just not challenging for her.
I will recall my years of teaching Talented and Gifted and pull out some dusty compassion for what I know to be a difficult row to hoe, too, the likes of which I cannot imagine.
You will tell me about your son, also brilliant and a gifted athlete, a year ahead of my son in school, although only a month older. He is darling. Popular. Keeps you busy, busy, busy running him to all his friend's houses and his sporting events, the likes of which I cannot imagine.
You will tell me about all the places your family will go on vacation this year, all the fun things you like to do, the activities you enjoy, the way your kids are natural travelers and how great it is that summer is finally here so you can all spend more time together, the likes of which I cannot imagine.
You will tell me how you cannot believe in four short years you will be an empty nester, how you and your husband are looking forward to an early retirement and trips abroad, the likes of which I cannot imagine.
You will not say, "So how are your kids?" I know it's not because you are callous. I know it's not because you don't care. I know it's not because you are selfish. I know it's because you don't think about how every word out of your mouth is fresh salt in my old wounds. I know you don't know how it is you, and only you, that has this effect on me - we were doing this together, and I broke the pact, by having kids with differences.
It's not your fault. You know your world and I know mine, and we have both met many comrades in our respective worlds, friends that get us through, friends with less history, friends that didn't break old pacts but made new ones: to imagine.
* Photo from www.obit-mag.com