Once ML (Mom-Lady) grasped the job and had some good days at work, she calmed down and was able to become MF (Mom-Friend) again. MF was able to recognize how her anxiety literally hijacked her brain and her fear of feeling inadequate or stupid triggered some massive shame. MF also reluctantly went back to counseling and shifted her mindset; coming up with a “new normal” about her dreams for her family.
MF always had a hilarious spin on everything. Her impressions of people were on point and she had our coworkers, doctors and even patients erupting with laughter. Most of all, her therapeutic interventions with patients were professional, empathetic and real. She was extremely compassionate and went above and beyond with each patient. MF had the patients laughing and sometimes was able to “roll with” where ever our patients were. If the patient needed to sing, she would sing with them. If they needed to pray, she prayed with them. She danced with patients in the hallways if that is what they needed to do.
Some of her escapades with patients led to some hysterical stories, hashtagable phrases and our team developed an almost secret language of inside jokes. This “language” originated it seemed, when MF, (a five foot two, petite, Irish, woman with glasses) began dancing with a six foot five African American Male who was in the greatest mood of his life thanks to his manic episode and auditory hallucinations of Motown music playing.
His euphoria led him to believe that this was a kick ass time and he was eternally grateful to be sitting in the ER hallway that we all referred to as the last stop before HELL.
He thought his ER visit was awesome and jam-packed with good times. The lucky ones to witness this dance routine could hear this male yelling “It’s gonna be a good time!” He was also doing that grunt sound like James Brown as if he just consumed the most delicious, satisfying meal of his existence. Meanwhile, MF was donning a protruding-lower-lip-pouting-smile, shaking her head back and forth in agreement as she were saying “Damn Right”. #itsgonnabeagoodtime
I rarely worked with MF but when I did, I could see the cohesive connections she had formed with each of our coworkers. MF and the Doctor ended up having tons of pop culture tastes in common and watching the two of them have a discussion or debate was mind-blowing. MF and Rokstar ended up being two peas in a pod and they discovered that Rokstar was basically a younger version of MF. MF and the Seasoned Social Worker (SSW) both were avid newspaper readers and would have in-depth, intellectual and political discussions. Lucy and MF had this sister relationship where they would talk about their daughters and husbands; laugh hysterically together yet have these emotional arguments about work and make up like family. Unfortunately for the Doctor, MF and Lucy would seem to always have these heated fights while working with her and she was awkwardly stuck; like the middle child. Then Lucy, the doctor and MF would all laugh about it later.
MF and The Hunter had opposing political views, yet they both possesed a dark and dirty sense of humor (thanks to MF’s three brothers). They would be crying laughing about raunchy things then switch gears into a heated political argument; he would enjoy getting her all riled up and pissed off just like a brother would. MF and The Barber were about the same age and they clicked when discussing their generation and their kids. MF loved jewelry, flowers and fashion which was the topic of discussion between her and The Movie Star; who was also the biggest fan of her impressions. If you were a strong-minded, opinionated, independent woman, LOOK OUT, because you were bound to butt heads and get into it with MF as Kendall, NaeNae, CeCe, and Jacquaylan did. They would always resolve it laughing while maintaining mutual respect agreeing to disagree.
Eventually MF became comfortable with her new normal and found the humor in many of her son’s rigid views. She would have all of us cracking up with stories of epic failures in trying to beat the spectrum. “CFG!Delete!” was another coin phrase after MF and her husband attempted to get their son to broaden his palette besides chicken nuggets, fries and grapes. This attempt was met with rage as her son burst through the door exclaiming “CFG! Delete.” Translation: “Delete that bullshit lunch you gave me. Get me Chicken nuggets, fries and grapes immediately.” #cfgdelete
MF would share her initial mortification of being at parties where her son would say his version of “thanks for having us” when leaving as “Thank you for the chicken, it was kinda disgusting.” She would obviously laugh privately and most of the time agreed with his brutal honesty. Her son would lecture anyone who would listen about the fact he knew the names of the all of the editors, costume designers, sound effects specialists, stunt doubles, and other random titles of people involved in movies that most people do not pay attention to. MF, her husband, her son and her daughter all possessed musical talent and amazing singing voices. Her son would belt out songs anywhere, even during class and all his peers and teachers would stop and listen because it was too beautiful to interrupt him.
When MF was happy and in a good place, she was unstoppable and intoxicating to anyone around her. You felt lit up as if the sun was shining just for you. When she was not in a good place, it felt lonely, cold and dark to be near her. Things that put her in a bad place seemed to be anything that triggered shame. An example, MF refused to watch the movie Shrek 2 because her son was unable to stop talking during the movie, a woman complained and they were asked to leave the theater. Her son was too busy going through the first Shrek movie dialogue in his head and reciting it out loud to care; however MF and her husband did. They were heartbroken and beginning to see the signs that being on the spectrum in junior high was more evident and not so cute anymore. This triggered more fear and shame in MF, which led her husband to want to fix it and make her happy again. He could not bear to be in the cold and dark place and longed to be in her shining presence again.
MF was able to snap out of it fairly quickly with some good laughs, connection and her faith. She knew when she was being a “debbie downer” and would slip into character doing Rachel Dratch’s facial expressions and the “wah wah”. She enjoyed singing at church, watching her daughter sing at church and seeing her siblings in a good place. MF was too cool for school and you would actually forget she was a mom sometimes because she seemed too in touch with everything. She was caught up with the latest binge worthy netflix shows, could jam to Missy Elliott, Ed Sheeran and Adele. If MF was singing, you knew she was in good place. However, for the Doctor and I, who also enjoyed singing; we felt completely inadequate singing around her because our voices sounded like sick dogs. MF could stop a party with her voice.
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
-Civilia D. Martin