Tell Me Your Problems

We can learn a lot by listening to each other.  And there's no such thing as a normal familyWe were at Sesame Place today, and while Maggie was having a meltdown and begging me to take her home to bed, we sat on a wall along the main road of the park.  Both of the times that we were sitting on the wall, the same older lady was sitting just down from us. I could see her trying to either catch my eye to talk, or sneak peaks at us when she didn’t think I was looking. Then she stood up and came over to talk to me. I was waiting for some inquiries into Maggie’s behaviour, or for her to share a story about her sister’s grandson’s best friend who they were worried had autism. Or my favourite….”Have you heard of Jenny McCarthy?”

Instead, she initiated a therapy session.

For her.

I heard all about her son being left at the altar, and the mother of his child running off without the child, to go on their honeymoon with her new man. She asked my opinion on the woman’s mental illnesses, and shared most of her own life story with me.  Her own mother had been killed in WWII, and she also helped to raise her husband’s three kids from his first marriage, because their mother had run off too, and she knew what it was like to live without a mother.

Nerdguy says that I am a good listener. He came along later with the kids, and he said that he could tell that I had been dumped on. I am not sure why people tell me their stories, because I don’t feel like I am a good listener. Truthfully, when I could see that she wanted to talk, I was trying not to engage her because I was busy having my own pity party as I watched “normal” families strolling by. I felt like I didn’t have anything left in me to support a single other person emotionally.

But then I heard her stories, and it made me think that the “normal” families that I see all have something. Either now or at some time in history. Just because everything looks good doesn’t mean it is. She was there with her son and her grandson to try and distract them from the fact that the woman they love had run out on them and abandoned her son. They looked like a “normal” family.

I also decided that I am glad that people like to talk to me. I find it draining at times because I absorb people’s problems and let them weigh on me. But if it is a gift that God has given me, and if I can use that gift to help someone to feel even just a bit better, then I am truly blessed.

I still don’t understand why people tell me their problems though.

Isn’t that what Facebook is for?


  1. says

    For her, you were in the right place at the right time. Maybe not for you directly, but I love how you have the wisdom to see that this really did benefit you and that you have a positive effect on people. You do know that not everyone would see that this woman put things into perspective, right? You do have a gift. You are tuned into the human spirit and your friends and family benefit from being around you.
    For the many times that you have helped me, I thank you! And, I hope your vacation can be stress (and therapy) free from now on. ♥

  2. says

    Hi Tara! Just found you through the Blissdom Newbies group.

    While I do not have a child with autism, I am a teacher and have often heard others’ attempts to share Jenny McCarthy’s wisdom. I admire moms like you who live with special needs in your family… but don’t be so sure that there’s any such thing as a “normal” family!

    BTW, since I’m new here I’m just curious if Maggie is her real name or a pseudonym. I call my youngest daughter “Maggie” on my blog!

    • says

      Hi Kate! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!! You’re right…there is always something in a family isn’t there?

      It’s very nice to meet you! I always appreciate meeting teachers..we have really had some great ones, and it really does make all the difference in our children’s lives.

      Isn’t that funny that we both use Maggie as a pseudonym!

      Have you been to any blogging conferences before? This is my first one and I am NERVOUS! So thank you for saying hi!!

  3. says

    Good for you for being willing to listen- people really just want someone to be there, to acknowledge them. Doesn’t happen enough anymore. And yes I have fully come to learn that you really never do know what people are going through.

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