The Darling Files: "It’s okay to be sad, Mama”

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I keep looking at the time on top of my screen, the minutes quickly getting closer to 10 am. My foot bounces up and down as I watch the circle spin in front of me failing to open the Zoom meeting. We’re in the thick of the pandemic and the speech therapy clinic offers virtual sessions. It’s time for our weekly 45 minute appointment. Charlotte stands beside me, “Can I type now, Mama?”

I don’t even look at her while I say, “No, Charlotte, Mama needs to figure this out so we can see Ms. Carmen. It’s time for speech.”

“I want to type,” she repeats and pushes my hands away from the keyboard.

One more minute passes and the computer still isn’t responding other than asking me to download the latest version which I’ve done more times than I can count.

“Charlotte.” I snap and hit my hand on the desk. “It’s time to see Ms. Carmen and I can’t get this to work.”

I pick up my phone to call my husband, Stephen. He picks up quickly and I immediately begin talking. “I can’t get Zoom to work.” The tears start to fall. “Charlotte is supposed to be on right now, we’re wasting time, she’s missing out on her therapy.”

Stephen’s response doesn't register because next to me I hear Charlotte, “It’s okay to be sad, Mama, I get sad sometimes, it’s okay.” Her hands reach around me in an embrace and she lays her head on my shoulder. I no longer look at the time; I only listen to my daughter’s words, “It’s okay to be sad, Mama.”

When I hear Stephen’s response, “Okay, I’ll come over now and bring my computer,” I turn off my phone and lean into Charlotte.

In total we lose 15 minutes of our 45 minute Zoom speech therapy session. The remaining half hour finds Charlotte and Ms. Carmen laughing and learning, asking each other their favorite things, and practicing “L” words.

Yet, the only words I keep hearing are Charlotte’s, “It’s okay to be sad, Mama.”

// Tucked in a google folder entitled Camino and Apraxia, I find this scene. For years I worked on compiling material for a book connecting two journeys: the Camino de Santiago and being a mother to a daughter with Childhood Apraxia of Speech. Someday this book may be in the world, or maybe these stories will stay in my google folder. Inspired by my friends Callie and Rachel, I'm sharing this one scene now as a part of the Darling Files. Read more about darlings here and here.