Ace had an appointment with his developmental pediatrician. All the kids who go there are either being evaluated because there is a concern or are already diagnosed with something and seeing one of these doctors is part of their care regimen. As we sat in the waiting room, and patients and their parents were coming and going I noticed that every single one of us smiled at the other and we all smiled at each others kids.
It was simple really. Just a smile. No sharing stories or swapping tales good and bad. No questions; No expectations. Just smiles. But it felt good.
From the Mom of the non-verbal little girl wearing braces on both her legs to the Mom of the boy who repeatedly waved and said “Hi Hi Hi Hi” to everyone. (We all said “hi” back every time). From the darling girl with the blond curls who made herself very comfortable in Jay’s personal space to the sweet little one with corn-rows who kept going back for more hand sanitizer from the automatic machine and got it all over herself and the floor.
All the parents of all these kids have worry. Some of them looked exhausted and worn out. But in that waiting room, for a split second, they all smiled at some point. Actually they all laughed when Jay announced very loudly that he needed to go to the bathroom and that I should not leave him there if we get called by the doctor to go in.
It may not be the place where one would think to go for respite, but I dare say that when one Mom sat at the small table meant for children and began reading a story to 3 kids (only 1 of which was her own), the Moms of the other 2 seemed to relax a little – just for those few minutes. When 1 girl (who I think was a neuro-typical sibling) walked over to another little girl (not her sibling) and asked the parent, and then the child, if it was ok for her to tie her shoe laces, it was well received. Then both parents smiled at each other.
Maybe I’m over analyzing – I tend to do that. Maybe this happens everyday, at most doctors offices, all over the world and I just never noticed it before. But it just seems to me that there is an unspoken understanding and warmth that special needs parents share and just a simple smile as you enter or leave the waiting room says so much.