I am not good at that southern charm thing. Part of that is hiding your emotions. I don't do it. EVER. Not even a little bit. If I am feeling something, you WILL know it. Immediately, if not sooner. So, I got the call after we go home from school.
Private speech therapist- Hi Erin! It's... I wanted to know if you have a few minutes to talk.
Me- Sure. (I had a few minutes to tell jokes, suggest a dinner recipe, hear a poem, or answer riddles. Whatever. I'm loose like that.)
PST- Well, I wanted to tell you myself...
*Writer aside here- Anytime someone starts a conversation like that, I swear this is what races through my head- not in this order, and yes, ALL BEFORE the actual reason comes out. My brain has cat-like reflexes. It's a gift? Not so much.
-that I am gay. (That clearly is not an issue. I have more testosterone and facial hair than most gay men I know- sorry Robert, you are the only one in striking distance for the "one gay friend" and when I tell you he is the epitome of gay man stereotype, I mean- Broadway and all. Like, he is literally in and produces musicals in NYC. Let me know when you will be in NYC and I will hook you up. GREAT guy, buy not a speech therapist.)
-that I am not really a speech therapist. (Yeah, she seemed too good to be one. Although, the one before that left us was really good too. I miss her. Le' sigh.)
-that I am an illegal resident and am being deported. (She's only black, but you never know.)
-that I'm pregnant and leaving. (That was the case for the last private speech therapist, and she told me in person. And I will never forget how horrified I looked when she told me. Forget her sheer excitement and joy for growing her family. How was I to let her go and not work with Charlie??? Yeah, it was bad. It took a few weeks for me to properly apologize. I was devastated, and she was the first therapist to make any progress with Charlie.)
-that I didn't pay taxes and I am going to jail for tax evasion. (So, that was easy. I just dreamily began thinking about making weekly visits to see her, and having Charlie holding a phone up to his ear and her on the other side of the glass, and looking great in that jump suit.) Sorry, but my mind works independently of me sometimes. I mean, if she can make scrubs look good, than no doubt sista' can work that jumpsuit.
-that I have decided to go back to school. (That happens. This sort of stuff they do has definite burn out rates. Charlie had an occupational therapist that seemed great, and one day, I learned that she left because she didn't like working with kids anymore. So, maybe moving on from speech to some other therapautic discipline... I don't know.)
Back to our regularly programmed conversation....
PST- I wanted to tell you that I am leaving. I have been given an amazing opportunity with the .... blah blah blah... to further my career..blah blah blah... and I will miss my kids... blah blah blah, and I am leaving at the end of December.
Me- (speechless.) (Ironic. While speaking with a speech therapist. I get it. And I don't like it. And she knows it.)
First, as a mom with a kid on the "spectrum," once you find a therapist that seems to make progress with your migit, they become like liquid gold, and the second they sniffle, you run to get them the finest hanky to wipe their shnauz with, as to not damage their sinus cavity therefore they can continue doing the exemplary work they have maintained. If our speech therapist was on the side of a road in downtown Atlanta, I might brave my anxieties and go pick her up, if it meant that she could still work her session with my son. If she were stuck in an elevator, I would... uh, well. I would not hold the session there. Look, I have my limits. But keep in mind, I WAS willing to overcome that traffic anxiety for her.
There is a special relationship that I have developed with all of the therapists that have worked with Charlie over the last five years of therapy. Some, I still keep in touch with, on a personal level, even though they no longer serve our son. When someone makes a difference in your child's growth and development, there is always an attachment. This speech therapist was one that had a really great balance of great speech therapist, and equally great at knowing Charlie and his quirks as well as anyone could. While I hope my lack of enthusiasm for her moving on didn't hurt her feelings, if she looks at it just right, (also known as- my way) she will see that I was devastated to lose such an amazing gift to our son. Best of luck to you and may our paths cross again one day!