Saturday, August 13, 2011

Small Talk

I definitely consider myself to be an out going person.  I feel comfortable talking to just about anyone from little kids to the President (not the current one, I have not met him).  I like talking and even prefer talking rather than email or texting.

However, small talk has proven to be difficult lately and I am sometimes left feeling awkward and inauthentic.

Typical small talk...
Hello.  How have you been?  So what's new with you?  How is the family?  What are the kids doing these days?

I answer the best I can and usually divert the conversation towards Carter and Luke's activities or about school for all three boys.
A couple of weeks ago, we ran into some old neighbors, our nice neighbors, while at a local pool.  We went through the typical small talk and trying to catch up.  Brayden was post hospital just by a few days and pre more doctor visits, etc.  How can I answer those small talk questions?  I do answer them but in a very generic way.  Do people really need to hear or know all the medical things that consume our life?
I have yet to find a good answer to:  How is Brayden doing?
That is a loaded question. If they look close enough, clearly he has a lot going on.

The vast majority of the time, I make things sound as optimistic as I can muster up (enter the inauthentic feeling).  I never know if someone wants to know or if it is just questions to be polite.  I never feel quite sure how much information to give...all of Brayden's things sound so medical/technical that feels like most people could not understand and I cannot fit into a nice sound bite.

However, sometimes those small talk circumstances can turn into something great.  Last week while loading Brayden and his wheelchair into the car, I met a women who has been in a wheelchair for over 25 years and she herself was a special-ed teacher.  20 minutes later and I felt encouraged.

Another time I met another mom, while bargain shopping, who was a mom to a special needs daughter.  Just an instant connection.

Questions, never bother me.  I just want to navigate the small talk better.  And you never know, sometimes God places certain people in at the right time for a good talk.


The VW's said...

I was just thinking about similiar thoughts. When people who we haven't seen for quite awhile see us again, or we meet someone new, I never know how to express what's going on with us. I either feel like I'm saying too much, or not enough.

The one thing that mostly bothers me is when I try to express the blessing that Gavin is to our family.....people usually look at me with pity, or like I must be lying. It is ALWAYS a blessing to get the opportunity to meet another family/person who can truly understand what I'm talking about. Times like these make me wish that we could all live together in a special needs would be so refreshing to be around others who "get it"!

As for a short answer to how Gavin is doing.......If he is doing well(which means he's not in the hospital, ill, or having a bad week), I just tell people who ask: "He's doing good for Gavin." Because, unfortunately, the truth is, his good is really never going to be great. Even when Gavin is truly doing great, he still has lots going on each day....that's just the way life is for him. And, obviously, even more so for you and Brayden lately!

Sorry you guys are dealing with so much! Glad you have been blessed with those special times of conversation with those who can relate! Big Hugs!!!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

I completely understand. I never know how to respond when people ask me "How is Emily doing?". It is hard to know how much to share with people and when. Sometimes people are just trying to be polite and sometimes they REALLY want to know. It can be hard to determine. You are right though, sometimes God uses those interactions in an incredible way. Guess we just have to go with our gut and share what we think we need to share in those moments.