As I was about to put my son on the school bus this morning, he said to me “go to school?” And I said “yep it’s a school day.” And he looked at me sideways and said, “see friends?” I looked at him and said, “uh-huh, you’ll see your friends today.”
Then I stopped tying his shoes and said quietly, “buddy… who are your friends?”
He just stared at me. So I asked him again. “Willy, who are your friends at school?” And he said after a long pause… “Susie’s my friend.”
Susie is our home therapist.
“Anyone else at school kiddo?” I asked with a hopeful sound in my voice?
“Miss. Paula” he said all excited, “and Mommy!!”
I kissed his head and helped him into his raincoat. I sighed a big sigh and fought back tears. My child doesn’t have any friends at school. This makes me sick to my stomach. When he was in preschool, he had two best friends. He was always getting invited to birthday parties and play dates. And now that he’s in a completely different school, in a completely different city, everything has changed… and he doesn’t even realize it.
Not too long ago I asked his teacher who he likes to play with at recess, so I could possibly set up a play date with one of his classmates. She said that he likes to parallel play next to just about anyone… as long as they are sharing of course. But there isn’t anyone that he would consider a friend.
Fabulous. Just fabulous!
And to add insult to injury, the other kids don’t seem to show much interest in him either. So I asked our home therapist if there were any kids in his social group that he liked to play with that were around his age. She said that there were, but because of their disabilities, it made managing play dates a little harder.
I’m very lucky to have such a wonderful circle of friends who Willy feels comfortable playing with, but it still kills me to hear about their kids having typical play dates with their typical friends/peers, when I’m yet again feeling excluded from that social part of the circle.
It’s so lonely but I guess it’s something that I’m just going to have to get used to. But in the meantime, Willy will always have his “best girl E” and P by his side for life. And for that I’m incredibly humbled and truly grateful for them.
But at least he considers me his best friend, and I’ll take that over anything else.