A million thoughts go through my head at once with just one simple question.
“So, how’s your son doing?”
There’s this feeling of panic. I don’t know how to answer the question. How much detail do I give? Do they really want to know? Would a short, “Okay,” suffice? Probably. But, in my mind, all these various scenarios are racing by. It’s like a logarithm. I’m waiting for it all to work out in my mind to give me the final answer. Is he doing well or not? Does the sum of the parts equal an answer of “all is well” or not?
The question shouldn’t be so difficult to answer, but it’s such an awkward one for me, and everyone asks it. And you know what? They never ask me how my other son is doing. That question would be easier to answer. Less complicated. Less loaded. I’m not sure why. It’s not because I’m embarrassed to answer the question with Squeaker. That’s not it at all. Maybe because the answer doesn’t change from hour to hour like it does with Squeaker. Or maybe it’s because I feel like the answer would have too much detail. Or maybe it’s because I’m afraid that I’ll sound too negative if I give the answer and I don’t want to sound that way because I love him and I don’t feel like having him in my life is a negative.
Most of the time, I just answer that he’s doing fine. A good day for him doesn’t look the same as a good day for another kid. The other day, he beat the crap out of me while I got him dressed. I’d say that was a pretty bad start to the day. Then, the rest of his day was golden. So, was it a good day or not? I guess so. This morning, although we didn’t make it to school without him having an accident, there were no other behavior issues. He had a “yellow” day at school because he wouldn’t stop picking at himself, but behaved well at home and cooperated at Occupational Therapy. I would consider this a good day. Are these good days for other kids? Not really. But for him, they are. Why? Because the bad days are truly epic in proportion to this. On the bad days, his arms are bloody from him biting himself, the house is a wreck, and I’m exhausted at the end of the day. I can’t even begin to explain this in the flash of a moment of interaction with a person.
Perhaps a more difficult question to answer would be “How’s he doing at school?” I don’t want to stumble into too-much-information-zone with that one, either. He’s in a self-contained classroom. We had two good weeks where he was golden and we were going to start moving him out into regular classes, followed by a week of red days. Academically, he’s a superstar. So how do I answer? Usually with a short, “he’s making great progress in his academics.” I brag on him hard, too, with his mad academic skills. He’s super smart.
My point, though? Maybe I’m over-thinking this whole thing, but I just have a hard time answering these “simple” questions directly. I wish it didn’t make me feel like such a politician.
Do people ever ask you questions that you have a hard time answering? How do you handle them?