A sad realization 

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. 

… sigh. 

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.  

 My bestie and me. 😎 

8 thoughts on “A sad realization 

  1. I fret about this. I lose sleep over this. Autism can seem so lonely, and I try not to let the heartbreak of that seep in to much. I try to have optimism for the sake of my son. But being different is never easy. I also get mad because my son deserves to be just as happy and included as other kids. I get mad because it doesn’t seem fair he has to struggle so hard to learn/do things and he does a lot of that without the acceptance and understanding from his peer group.
    Hugs to you. My boy is littler than yours but I get it.

    • A very good friend said this to me yesterday, so I’m passing her incredible insight onto you.

      ready for a mind spin… does it matter to him? I know that sounds weird but hear me out… remember what I do. I have lots of teen friends who tell me that they were happy doing parrallel play at his age. Really happy. They did not get socially sad until kids did not let them do that anymore. He smiled and said friends. That means that he was excited to go and just be with his peers. That is a GOOD thing. He sees the world differently and that is okay and can be beautiful. The word friends can mean different things to both of you and both are okay. How many of us would benefit from being happy just “being?” As parents we mourn for our kids because they may not get the benefit of the things we think they should have… but what if they don’t want it? AT least not yet? You have provided him with all of your best, he smiles getting ready for school. I would kill for that some days 🙂 He is happy. It’s going to be okay. Trust yourself and trust him.

      • Thank you. You’ve always helped me see that this journey we’re on is a shared/understood one. Sometimes it feels like we’re on our own because the only people that “get it” are his therapists. Thank you for understanding and helping me see a different angle.

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