When you have a child with dramatic issues, people tend to approach you. Usually it's a very friendly hello or sweet smile. Sometimes it's not. (I've written before about some of the strangest encounters I've had.) It's just part of the whole package and you have to get used to it. It gets tiresome being "on" all the time, but there are certainly rewards. I had one of those encounters yesterday, and it turned out to be a wonderful surprise.
Maggie and I went to the Ferry building and walked along the Embarcadero enjoying the sun. We went to the fountain at Justin Herman plaza and I took Maggie's picture to continue our "Where in San Francisco is Carmen San Diego" series.
There were two young girls playing behind Maggie and I waited a moment for them to get out of the shot. They were having so much fun I had to smile at the mom who was with them. She offered to take a picture with Maggie and I together and I said "no thanks, I just take pictures of her on our outings and post them on facebook to bug people."
She laughed and asked if I was from SF and I said yes. She told me she moved away 9 years ago and that she has a 12 year old a son in a wheelchair and wondered what it would be like to raise him here. I looked a little closer because I know a lot of other kids in wheelchairs in SF and have since Maggie was born. I didn't recognize her. I asked where she moved to and she said Jacksonville Florida. That's when the light went on. I remembered a family who moved to Florida I said "I know you. You're August's mom." It clicked for her at the exact same moment and she said "is this Maggie?"
Funny. we remembered the kids names but had to ask each other what our names were. That makes me smile.
It was a very chance meeting and it took us both by surprise. Ilene said she never says anything about her son to strangers and doesn't know why she said it to me. Perhaps she knew on some level that I was not a stranger. She keeps in touch with another friend from here, but the time and distance and the realities of our lives caring for our kids has taken its toll on relationships for all of us. She was out here on vacation with her daughter while her husband stayed home with her son. I can certainly relate to that. Her husband is the author of A Life Beyond Reason, which I posted here a few months ago. (If you didn't read it then I recommend it now.)
It was funny to hear her trying to explain to her daughter, who was born in Florida, how she knew this lady. Her daughter and friend were as sweet as can be and she took our picture with her mom's phone.
The whole thing was surreal, but great. I reconnected with an old friend in person and then we found each other on facebook, instead of the other way around.
I'm glad we went down there yesterday.