A few days ago, I wrote that I would eventually come around to a 50-50 (OK, if I’m keepin’ it real 60-40) conversation balance. It ain’t happening, but not for the reasons you might expect, me being the Empress and all. When you tell people your kid has this disease, many people don’t know how to respond to, “so how are YOU?”
I’m fortunate that most people in my life are genuinely kind and concerned citizens of the world. Sources from which you may never expect to gain comfort become surprise agents of goodwill. Humanity puts its best foot forward in ways you don’t expect when you tell them what’s going on. This is all good. What’s not? When I do ask about them in return. All of the sudden, it’s like their stories and lives are inconsequential. THIS IS NOT A CONTEST, PEOPLE! If it were a contest, I freaking win this month. I think we all concede that Wendy takes this round. But I do care about you and your life too, and talking about something NOT diagnosis-related is actually kinda awesome these days.
A lovely co-worker approached me yesterday. Another colleague of ours had told her my news. She came to my desk, and (how I love her for the tears in her eyes) said to me, “I can’t pretend I don’t know, even though you didn’t tell me about your son, I know, and I’m sorry.” I babbled on for awhile, as I do, and we shared some tears. She offered me the use of her office if I ever needed time away (cubes do not afford a whole lot of privacy), and asked if there was anything she could do. I asked her to be honest back with me, not always to approach me as ‘Wendy with the kid with MD’ but as Wendy. Just keep it real. If I am being a jerk, call me on it. If I’m carrying on, call me on it. I DO care back. I do. It may not seem like it today, but I do.