No, you DON'T Know Me
I guess I have one of those familiar faces, because I seem to get it a lot. The head cocked to one side, the awkward pause, then “Do I know you?”
Normally that comes after I get that strange feeling like someone is staring at the back of my head.
“Um, no….I don’t think so….” But I’m just being nice. No, you don’t know me.
I’m kind of used to it. My husband played in the NFL for 13 years, we did a lot of charity work, and made a lot of appearances. During our time with the Tennessee Titans, I ran a charity called Nurses for Newborns of Tennessee, and did quite a few TV interviews as well. It’s not like I was a quarterback’s wife or anything, but we were out there in the public eye. People recognized me. That was at the height of the “do-I-know-you” period.
(oh, and in case you are wondering, I’m really not short. He’s just that tall.)
When we moved to Chicago, and started up with the Bears, I got less of that. It was a BIG city, and I also wasn’t “out there” as much. My boys were in Kindergarten and second grade, and had requested that I be the stay-at -home mom that bakes cookies for class parties and runs the cub scout troop. So I did.
People still thought they knew me, but in a different way. I didn’t get as many people recognizing me, but the people I had frequent contact with (other parents at school, neighbors etc) thought they knew me because they knew I was an NFL wife.
They assumed I had Nannies. (I didn’t)
or a cook (yeah, right)
or that I took private planes to all my exotic vacation and sat in a suite at the games every week. Um, no- NOT BY A LONG SHOT.
We enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle, but we also were living pretty much like everyone else in our neighborhood. I drove my kids to school (no chauffeur) packed lunches, wiped snotty noses, did laundry for myself (didn’t hire someone in or send it out) and all the other stuff that “normal” people do. Don’t get me wrong, we did get to go on some great trips and acquire some cool stuff, but people didn’t really know us, or understand our life, even though they thought they did.
It was good training for what came next.
When my older son, Grant got so ill, friends and family thought they knew. They had NO idea. Many times he didn’t look sick, but just getting out of bed was a challenge. We were inundated with well meaning advice, sprinkled with snide remarks, and lots of comments that may not have been meant with any ill-will, but were hurtful nonetheless. I wasn’t getting asked the question, but people assumed they knew. They thought they knew me, my life, and what my family was going through. We tended to be more private back then, and I wasn’t given to drama. Even when things were bad, I put on my happy face, for all but just a few people. No, you really don’t know me.
No amount of money will fix the feeling of not knowing whether your child will live or die. Nothing you can buy will make you feel better when your child is suffering, in pain, every single day, and you are helpless to fix it. So what that my husband played in the NFL. It helped us pay our medical bills (BIG help) but it didn’t give me the power to fix things.
I eventually shut myself off from people, especially the ones who didn’t get it. Then, I found support from other moms and dads going through the same things in my online communities and Facebook groups. I started to come back out of my shell again, better prepared to deal with what all the people who thoughtthey knew me (us) could dish out.
I’ve been doing pretty well with it, but every once in a while, I get thrown for a loop, caught off guard, and taken back to the old days.
I had another “No, you DON”T know me” incident this past Monday, and it was a big one. Tune in tomorrow, and I’ll tell you all about it.