Somewhere along the way, his world separated like mine, drifting away from the one where every seemed to be headed. How am I to provide for my son what he needs if I can not even manage it for myself? I don't even speak the same language. It is all so foreign to me. The Kate Spade handbags, casual conversations about nothing, diamonds that sparkle as their heads turn. I am so far out from where everyone seems to be. Like I missed Adulthood 101 "This is how you act". I am having a really hard time.
I didn't know that you are to dress up when you go to McDonald's. Really? That heals are not meant only for anniversaries, the theatre, and Galas, but should be worn when picking Gabe up from school, grocery shopping and (how stupid of me) to greasy fastfood places where your kids socks turn a swamp black as they run through the germ infested play area. Who knew? That proper protocol was to only wear something that Ann Taylor, North Face, Ralph Lauren or anything else (Thank God no one was actually wearing BeBe) that could be purchased at The Somerset Collection. You don't just wear a shirt and pants, but an ensemble.
Gabe and I were invited to meet a friend and her kids at McDonald's this afternoon to play in the play place. (Can I just let out a big 'EEEEWWW!' about the condition that our play area is in). I go, because I really would like to spend some time chatting with this friend, I am trying to continue and hopefully maintain at least some friends from before Gabe's diagnosis. I live in a small town and all these moms know each other and they know me or at least "about" me. They know little about Gabe, most have no clue what our lives truly entailed the last two years.
Our worlds collided, these moms and I, it was awkward and the lack of interest was palpable. Did I tell you that the friend that I was meeting to spend time with also called most of the moms that I have, deliberately, chosen not to talk to to meet us there? Did she know? Probably not. I was just hoping that she was as interested in getting together to talk with me as I was her. I am so way off in most of my friendships, it blows my mind every time. I am constantly being slapped in the face with this reality. That perhaps the store clerk who rang my groceries may not want be my Maid of Honor at my wedding? Am I that far off? No, but it sure feels that way sometimes.
So, I would normally handle this 'rejection' by not talking to any of them again and starting over from scratch, in hopes to find more people like me. But, you can not run far enough away here. It is high school all over again. I liked that comparison. Funny enough, that was how my 'friend' described it too. I guess it will be a first in my life that I will have to stick it out. It's killing me. There is no bright light at the end, no rainbows after the storm, just me being an outsider, occasionally asked to join a few select functions. Mostly birthday parties and the rare play date. I hate saying this about myself. I know it can't all be me, but when you are the only one left waiting on the side lines and everyone else is out playing the game, scoring touchdowns for their kids, yeah, it's kind've a rude awakening, a painful one at that. Oh, and my neighbor of 5 years, that I just had over for a play date not but a week ago, leaned over and told me," Yeah, 'L' (my friend) called and invited me and "J' and 'K' too, I thought about calling you, but you know...." and her voice trailed off. Not because she was embarrassed or had an epiphany about her blatant disregard not to invite me, but because she knew, just as I did, that I don't belong. Not here, not in this group. I could feel the corners of my mouth drop as she was talking to me, by the end I pulled a smile and turned around, sinking quietly in my chair. "Why was there?" I thought.
Gabe had a really rough time at McDonald's. There was hitting, lots of sweat, pee in his pants and a lot of screams bellowing "No Thank You!". I had to carry him out to the car when we finally left. We sat there together, quietly. Gabe was protesting the car seat and I wanting to just drive away to anywhere that did not have golden arches.
I haven't felt so trapped in myself in a long time. I was trapped in a car, outside the McDonalds in sight of the play place. My 'friend' grabbed my bag for me and Gabe's coat when I said I had to go, because he was having a hard time. After unlocking the door, frantically watching as Gabe started walking away in the parking lot with just socks on, my 'friend' throws my stuff in the front seat, turns waves and says goodbye. If I didn't know better, I would think that I have just been voted off this world.
It's OK if you have that icky feeling after reading this. The sourness in your stomach that reminds you, Thank God you're not her. I have it too, but unfortunately I am her.