I really hate shared glances. Nothing makes me feel more despair than that. Wouldn’t it be nice if people did not judge?
I hate knowing that my family is critical of me. I find it especially depressing during the holidays, when I feel attending family gatherings or hosting family members is a chore rather than a joy. Every criticism is stuck in my head, and I don’t want any added to it. It seems inevitable.
My autistic son has a small meltdown, nothing I worry about, and I get the shared glances. Because it is always, always, assumed that he has trouble with transitions or denials because I am spoiling him. Not because he is not neurotypical and overloads easily.
My kids act like kids, they get loud or make mistakes or have trouble with ¨no¨, and it is because I am not parenting properly. They are expected to be quiet and obedient, robotic, by my family. They are expected to keep their hands in their pockets, to never be curious, never impulsive.
Maybe I am doing something wrong/different, because I want my kids to be interested in things and feel free to say how they feel, and I cannot see any long term issues with that. Impulsive, I could do without, but age and learning self regulation help with that.
Everything is a teachable moment to me. Everything to my family is a mommy fail.
I hate hearing all the bad things they say about anyone else of my blood, because of course then they are saying it about me, too. Never have I ever heard a bad thing said about any member of my stepfamily, until after divorce. They seem perfect, and in company with them at holidays it is in stark relief, because my father can see us all together and compare.
Shared glances when I am among friends is hard, too. It means there is some conversation, some observation that I wasn’t present for, that is being revisited in that glance. Something about me, and not good, either. I know I am odd, couldn’t you just spare me the embarrassment and keep your gaze somewhere else?
Shared glances when I am among strangers are the worst. It is a reminder that I cannot fit in. That I will probably never belong.
I don’t want to think like this. I spend a lot of time arguing with myself over this sort of negativity. But for a month or so after witnessing a shared glance, it consumes me and takes me back to childhood. I was one of those kids. The ones that were dressed cheap and sloppy and had greasy hair. The one you would tell to have a nice trip just before you stuck a foot out.
Then my daughter comes up while I am typing this and announces that it is time for a hug, that she is going to hug me and I am going to hug her. Then we hug, a big happy hug, with smiles and those content noises little kids make. When I let her go, she tells me it is my turn to hug her, and we share a happy glance first.
That makes everything better. That is really all I want, for my kids to feel supported and safe at home, happy in their own space. There is nothing else in this world that matters.