THE BLOG
08/31/2016 04:03 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2017

I See The Picture You're Not Posting

Hey, parent? Yes, you -- the one with the incredible, wonderful child whose path has not been as easy as you'd like it to be. I just want you to know that I get it.

I get how hard it is at this time of year when your Facebook feed is full of the shining, happy faces of your friends' kids on the first day of school. I know how much it stings. I know the pain, and then the guilt you feel that someone else's joy should cause you pain, and then the loneliness you feel because it seems nobody else really understands how brutal this time of year is. Because it should be happy, right? Look! Shiny, happy faces everywhere! This is a Very Happy Time.

But it's okay to feel the way you do. It's normal to look at pictures of shiny faces and feel sad for your child, who has dark circles under his eyes because the anxiety about a new transition kept him up for most of the night. It's okay to look at pictures of crisp new outfits and feel the pang of hurt for your child who was so bothered by the texture of the treasured new outfit she'd chosen that she cried all morning until you convinced her that it really was okay to wear her old, soft t-shirt on the first day. I understand how hard it is to see the photo of the happy kindergarten student as he boards the bus for the very first time, as you prepare to drive your high school student across town to school because he just isn't ready to ride the bus on his own yet.

I get it. It's really, really hard.

But you know what? Those images you're seeing on Facebook? They're moments. They're real and they're true, but they are single moments in time. Each picture is a single moment in a whole life, most of which is not chronicled in photographs and submitted for public review.

The truth is, we all have hurt, we all have struggle, we all have a Facebook timeline overflowing with the pictures we will not take and the moments we dare not publish.

So, really. It's okay. I get it. I see the picture you're not posting.

And I'm not posting one just like it.