The Therapy Waiting Room

April 3, 2015


Dear Mom trying to hold it together,

I’m sorry that your little one is having such a hard time lately. I’m just never quite sure if I should try to strike up a conversation with you as we awkwardly wait in this cold, little room. I want to respect your privacy and I apologize for the times I catch myself staring at you. I’m often aching for you to make eye contact with me so I can try to help in some way or another because I know that on the hard days a smile and a nod from a friendly face can make all the difference. I know how even the simplest of gestures can give you the strength to keep going.

Today you look especially fragile, as if you’re about to crumble into tears as we listen to your son screaming in the other room. You wear the face of fraying determination as we hear the therapists trying to sooth him though the paper-thin walls. It’s devastatingly clear that the sounds of his agony tear through your heart as you try to remain calm and collected. I know this has been a rough time for you – but I want you to know that are not alone. I’ve been there too many times to count. The rollercoaster of regression is so much like a waltz of happiness and desperation – taking one step forward and then two steps back; one step forward and then quickly taking two steps in another direction. Eventually making the days feel like nothing more than a whirlwind of events you watch from the sidelines … This waltz continues for years with an ever-changing tempo as the songs of life ebb and flow softly in the background.

A little boy who has been playing near your feet stands and shows his mom the creation he has made out of Legos. I can hear you quietly exhale as if you’ve been holding your breath for far too long and I can tell by the haunted look in your eyes that you are silently comparing your son to the little boy. For years now, we’ve watched as children come and go through these doors. Children that seem to surpass the milestones of our own kids at what seems like lightening speed and accuracy. Trust me, I know how hard it is when it feels like your child’s the only one not showing progress. For me, this feeling of frustration began four years ago while we were in the NICU.

Little Fighter

Born at 2 pounds 4 ounces, I vividly remember watching babies born much smaller and more fragile than my son progress through the levels of care with such momentum that I was certain we’d never make it out of there. But my son was a fighter and I see that same fight in your little boy. I can tell by the sparkle in his eyes that he is loved and cared for beyond measure. You are an amazing mom who is doing everything you can to make sure he has the best care possible. Please be kind to yourself. You’re doing the best you can. It’s because of your love and patience that he will flourish. It may be taking a little longer than other children, but it will happen when he’s ready. He will prevail.

I want you to know that I’m not someone who is sitting here and ignoring you; I’m just respecting the ethics of the waiting room. I respect your privacy and the right to sit and find comfort in the silence. I may never be able to find the right timing or come up with the right words to let you know that I’m here if you want to talk. But I am.

I’m here… and I’m watching you take on the world one tiny footstep at a time. Thank you for inspiring me to keep fighting. Thank you for inspiring me to never give up hope. Thank you for inspiring me to be a better mom.

Thank you for inspiring me.