As we enter the playground area, your child points to mine, calling loudly “Mom, look at HER!”
You quickly hush him, calling him to you to quietly reprimand him.
You’re at the end of the same grocery store aisle when your child catches a glimpse at the baby in my cart and asks “why is that baby so red?”
You practically put your hand over his mouth to stop as much of the question as you can, while hurrying around the corner without looking back.
Your children freeze, staring open-mouthed at my daughter at the library, and you get a rising panic in your eyes as you try to distract them to look anywhere but.
I recognize all of this unfolding, nearly every day. I hear all of the questions, I glimpse all of the pointing out of the corner of my eye, I notice all of the whispered comments.
I hear you, and I see you, and I feel it all, deep within my heart. And it makes it worse when you then try to “hide” it from me, from us.
You’re embarrassed, and I understand that. But we’re both parents, trying to do our best, and we both love our kids fiercely. And when you try to hide these obvious conversations that are happening right in front of us, it feels like you’re hiding from our family. It feels like the small insignificant gap between us that your child has noticed has now grown into a wide-spanning canyon that no one wants to cross.
What I wish you would do?
I wish you would invite us into these conversations about us.