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Coffee+Crumbs: The Most Isolating Thing I’ve Ever Experienced

I plod up the steps and open the door into the waiting room of the therapist’s office, coaxing my child in behind me. I try to smile encouragingly, but I know it doesn’t reach my eyes. A few kids play with toys on the floor in the middle of the room while tired caregivers flip through magazines and check their phones. A bored teen crosses her arms and shifts uncomfortably in her chair. She’s too old to be there but too young to be anywhere else. I try to keep my child calm enough for public. Periodically, therapists pop their heads into the room and call for the next young client.

We’re there for my child’s weekly play therapy. I don’t know if it’s helping, but I have to try. Leave no stone unturned, right? Gotta try all the things when it comes to your kids. Maybe we’ll learn a strategy to help with the rages.

The office assistant hands me a clipboard with paperwork to fill out. She tries to make small talk and chirps, “Isn’t it a great day?” The most I can manage back is a small hum of affirmation that hopefully doesn’t sound too sarcastic. I want to scream at her, “I’m HERE. In THIS office. AGAIN. How great could it BE!?!?” I hand back the clipboard, mustering a wry smile that only makes it to one half of my mouth, and grab a seat.

The door opens and a new friend walks in with her child. We only just met a couple weeks ago. I like her, but I barely know her. She just moved to the area and a mutual friend introduced us. Our eyes lock as her child runs into the room and we both feel the weight of this moment.

“Hi!” “You’re here, too!” I feel vulnerable, like I blurted out a secret in a quiet room. I can see it in her eyes, she feels exposed, too. Our relationship just went from new acquaintances to the deep end in an instant. We don’t know the details, but we both know where we are, and who we’re with. Our kids recognize each other from school.

The therapist calls my kid’s name. “Talk soon?” I ask my new friend cautiously. “Yeah,” she replies. “Good to see you.”

It’s good to see her, too. Although I wish we both didn’t have to be here.  READ MORE