I remember meeting my first two best friends. One lived right next to me, her father was the Minister at the church I went to and her mom was my Sunday school teacher. The second lived across the street from me. I lived in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. With both of these girls, our parents were friends as well. While I have since lost contact with one of the two girls, I remained friends with the one who lived across the street from me. She was a bridesmaid at my wedding in 2005 and my father just attended her wedding in May.
I look at my lil advocate with her best friend, they have been friends since they were two and a half. Even though we do not live right down the street from her and they do not go to the same school their friendship continues to grow every day.
I took my kiddos to the park today. It’s such a different world between my oldest and my two younger children. I watch them play, but by themselves. Lil girl is oblivious to the others around her. Lil man can’t connect with kids they way lil advocate can. While we were at the park, Lil advocate came up to me and asked me “Mommy, why doesn’t Buggie have friends? Doesn’t he want them?” In my heart of hearts I know both of the younger two children want to have friends, they want to be invited to birthday parties and be included but they just don’t know how to interact. I try to use these moments as teaching moments. Today I couldn’t do it.
This question came after I had to talk to Buggie about not pushing other kids out of his way when he wanted to get by. We talked about saying excuse me instead of growling. Of course someone laughed at him when he growled which set him off. Mommy kept her cool because these are kids and not adults, but tried to calm my lil man down. In the process of this, lil man was swinging on a bar and used that forward momentum to kick me in the stomach before flapping and growling at me.
Today I remembered all of the childhood friendships that I had growing up and those that have stuck around through our children’s hard times. I got angry at what autism has made harder for my kids, and i mourned the fact that friendships with peers will never come easily to them.