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

22 comments: said...

This is powerful and raw and real.

Someone you once knew can bite me. I mean, seriously.

Jerri said...

After SYOK finishes with Michelle, she can bite me, too.

Wanda said...

We might as well set up a hiney buffet line for SYOK.

jess said...

Oh, honey. We've all got em. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

I keep trying to think of what you could say to her to stop that flow of chatter, to force her into compassion and empathy. And I keep hitting dead ends. She can't get there unless she wants to.

I remember a meeting of my book group, where we had drifted off into a conversation about homework, and one mother said to me, "but how do you know what assignments she has every night?" (Yeah, right. Can you imagine NOT knowing every assignment? Assuming it was written down, that is.) In this case it was genuine curiosity, and it led to an eye-opening (for her) discussion that did change her outlook. But then, she really wanted to know.


Southern GFCF said...

I can so relate.

It makes me just as angry that it's also being done to you.

Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my ears. It still hurts sometimes.

Lori said...

Most of the people I know who brag without asking how you are first are insecure and hurting somehow. Know that her world is lived solely through her children and she will be crushed and left adrift when they're grown and gone. She lives vicariously, and that's as painful an existence as a woman can live.

Pray for her to find her own voice and self. That's something you have that you can teach.

Deb Shucka said...

This is one of the most powerful things you've ever written, in a long line of brilliant writing. I didn't breathe the whole time, and had to keep going back to reread because the tears kept blurring my vision.

One of your many gifts is to teach us all what it's like to be Rojo's mom, and Woohoo's, and to help us all see the world through more compassionate eyes.

Thank you.

patricia said...

You don't know me. I'm a friend of Deb's. I read your blog because you are an extension of her, and she talks about you a lot. =) I love this blog. I love how real it is!! Everyone has a "someone I once knew."

Robin said...

Seriously if you walked right by her like you did even know she existed, no one would blame you. In fact, I will stand there with you and we will form a closed circle and as she begins her spiel, we will let the words bounce off of us - not in the wounds.

Remember anything that is not love is fear- this woman has lots of fears.

One Mom said...

Oh, Carrie, I think we all know on some level how much this hurts. The difference is that you have an amazing ability to put that hurt into gut-wrenching words so true that they can bring tears to our eyes and sobs to our throats.

Hugs, love, and lots of happy thoughts coming your way.

Lola said... xoxoox

Amber said...

It is great writing. It makes wish I could just stand beside you while she yips away.

Only ONE grade? That's not that great or "gifted". Whatever, lady. Any of her kids get sudden angelic-like sage wisdom to pass along to us? Didn't think so.


Kim said...

Sign me up for a dish in the hiney buffet.

And on a more compassionate note: I feel sad for her, for all she is missing that is right in front of her, if she'd only ask. All those gifts she can't even imagine.

deb said...

I'm with Lori on this.
Which of course takes thought ( and imagination) to figure out. The great irony of most people who seem to lack basic compassion ..

of course my first reaction was not so dignified.
And I feel sad for her children .

Anonymous said...

Oh, Carrie. With love, C

kario said...

That's what reunions are for, right? To hold ourselves up in the best possible light, condensing our lives to the Cliff Notes version for a quick sound bite, impress everyone with our successes, and move on.

From one who was voted "Most Likely to Succeed," I can say that I never remember that moniker until it's reunion time and only then, with shame that I haven't lived up to it. Makes me all the more determined to show everyone just how great my life is at these things.

I can feel the pain in your words. This post is so powerful that my chest still aches. I can only hope that you go into it with your signature love and light and remain open to the gifts offered to you from others (or yourself) along the way.

And if it sucks, well, then come home to those of us who know you for who you are and will always ask how your kids are, because they are truly amazing beings.

Love you.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Stunning. Your writing is evocative and flawless.

Her different world is not better. We know this. But it still hurts. Sending you a virtual hug to be followed soon by a real one!

Drama Mama said...

I'm with Jess. I've got a slew of them myself. Chew, sip, nod. It's not worth your time.

Elizabeth said...

Whoa and wow. I think I know this person. Perhaps we all do.

Kathryn said...

Brilliant. I echo every one else here when I say I know this person, what that feels like.