I cannot count how many conversations are begun with strangers by that phrase. I'm out with Doug, and some one comes over to gush over him. They then announce that they have a child or children and then, lately, they proceed to tell me the various medical issues that their child has.
I just don't know how to respond to this. While they're listing their child's issues, I'm silently thanking God that Doug is healthy. And nodding and trying to keep a concerned and interested look on my face. The truth is not that I'm indifferent, it's that it's incredibly awkward when strangers over share. I'm also very tired. This level of social interaction at the grocery store wasn't budgeted for in my energy plan. While I'm sorry and empathetic that their family has been through this (I can't even begin to imagine an ill child), its a draining experience for me. I just want to get in and out of the store so I can go home and rest!
I try to humor them. They obviously feel a need to share whatever horror story that they have. I hope that sharing fulfills some sort of need in their lives. Last week I was having blood drawn and this woman came over to tell me about her two year old who was very very tall. She talked endlessly, way more than was socially normal or appropriate about it. I remember at the time that all I wanted to do was sit there quietly with Doug and wait my turn. Looking back, I think it was pretty obvious that she was lonely. I can't imagine the stress and isolation that may happen while you're dealing with a child who has difficulties.
Still, sometimes I wish strangers would keep their stories to themselves.