“Oh HI,” the woman cheerily waved at me on the unit. “I’m Paulie’s mom, do you remember me? Conor and Paulie went to preschool together. In Miss Robin’s class! I work here now!” Bright smile.
“Uh, no, but how are you?” I replied. “Conor’s, well, here. Here we are!” Fake smile.
Of course, of course I would run into someone that knew-us-when now. Today.
When I have no make up on, my hair is a disaster, my bra straps are showing because I wore this stupid tank top, and my kid is in a locked unit for children with autism who are a danger to themselves and others.
Of course I would.
It’s like running into your high school boyfriend in the mall when you go home to visit your parents and you have the biggest zit on your nose. Yeah, like that.
Or when you dash by Target, happen to find yourself standing in front of that prissy friend of your mom’s that you just can’t stand, and your three year old decides it’s a good time to practice his curse words at the top of his lungs. (Curse words that he learned from you, of course.)
Embarrassing. Agonizing. Is frazzling a word? Frazzled.
Oh, look at me, me and my kid who’s having a rreeeaaalllly tough time of it lately. So happy that you remember me! NOT.
I have no idea why I found this so embarrassing. It’s not like this mom doesn’t know what autism is like. She doesn't just work it, she lives it too. Her son, she told me, is still relatively nonverbal, and she mentioned that his level of self-injurious behavior has come down a lot, and he hits people sometimes. Well, her but also other people.
But, I think she was just trying to make me feel better. Come to think of it, I think she felt kind of awkward. I mean, what do you say to a mom in my current situation? How’s it hanging?
A little to the left, thanks for asking.