Between the Lines

I heard it again yesterday when I went to do my stint as kindergarten room volunteer.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.  You come two days a week???  How nice that you have the . . . flexibility . . . to do that.”

It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard something similar.  I am open to the idea that I am reading into it, but I wouldn’t make that kind of statement to someone about his or her volunteer work.  I feel like there’s a lot unspoken in these comments, and I’m not sure what it is.

Perhaps, “Ohhhhhhhhhh.  You can’t let go of your kid.  That’s so sad.”

Or, ” Ohhhhhhhh.  Don’t you think you’re special because you don’t have to work.”

Or, “Ohhhhhhhh.  Sad.  You were never able to find a job after working for your dad.”

I want to tell you that I don’t really care, but I am devoting blog time to it so I must a little.  People were very open to the idea that I was a stay at home parent as long as I had a kid at home — but even then I got several, “Ohhhhhhhh.  It’s nice you can afford to do that.”  This is the choice we made and it works very well for our family right now.  I make every effort not to be shamed in any way by our choice.  We have given things up to live like this.  We have gained things we couldn’t have had otherwise.  There may come a time when we choose a different way, but not this year.

I think it’s that I am curious.  What do these comments mean?

A couple of days ago, someone asked me how Colin was doing.  I bragged about his brilliance, of course, and my conversation partner said, “That must be so gratifying as a parent when you have that sort of child.”

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.  What does that mean?  I can have trauma-dramas about Colin and about autism.  You may not.

Maybe next time I’ll take the forward approach in these conversations.  “What exactly do you mean by that???”

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