It was a normal drive there. I asked about her day and shared my happenings. She is my thinker – always wondering, analyzing, and asking for clarification – so the questions flowed. At the end of our short 8 minute ride we exited the car, entered the building, hopped a ride in the elevator, and arrived on the second floor.
In the 7 or so steps from the elevator to our destination something changed, as it does each time. It’s just different, we’re different. It’s sort of like a preparation. We quiet down, or at least I do, and await for what/who we may encounter. With caution we open the door. Sometimes it’s a ghost town and other times there may be a few people waiting. Nonetheless, it’s often silent with the exception of the white noise used to create a sound barrier.
Yesterday there was one person waiting. She appeared to be a mom. Reading a magazine, she never acknowledged us as we entered. This is not abnormal in this familiar room. Nobody tends to talk, but is either buried in a book, in a magazine, or is glued to his/her phone. I am guilty too. But why? Normally I talk to anyone who will listen.
As time passed, the mom was called back and disappeared . Shortly thereafter, I am called back. Me? I wasn’t expecting that. I obliged and divulged all the recent issues my little one has been experiencing with her anxiety. The conversation gave me hope. I hate when she suffers.
The majority of the appointment was consumed by our conversation, but there was still 15 minutes left and I knew my little one could use to empty that mind of hers today. So, I re-entered the waiting room only to find some different faces. A dad and his daughter were passing the time by reading. The little girl gave me a once over. I said “hi.” I then began reading myself. The little girl was eventually called back and her dad followed. In just a few minutes he returned.
I wanted to talk to him and give some support. But…maybe he is not interested in conversation, maybe he doesn’t need support, maybe he is embarrassed, maybe he just wants to explore the internet or email as he stares at his screen. My mind continued to go around in circles…just say something, maybe he needs it today. No, keep your mouth shut. But people need to talk about this – it’s a good thing. He’s going to think you are nuts. Oh so what – add him to the list. “Can I ask how old your daughter is?” He replies, “She’s 6.” “Well good for you for brining her here. I bring my daughter so she can learn some tools to deal with her issues now so she is not dealing with them when she is 18.”
The kind man continued the conversation speaking of the importance of counseling and how he makes it a priority to be there nearly every week. I was happy I spoke up and was enlightened by his perspective. He was no longer the quiet stranger distracted by his phone, but another parent who deeply cares about the well-being of his daughter. We spoke of the amazing benefits of our children speaking to other adults. We were not ashamed nor embarrassed. We were proud of our children for being brave and we know they will be better off for it.
We all deserve to be our best selves.