"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
"Silence makes the real conversations between friends. Not the saying, but the never needing to say that counts."
-Margaret Lee Runbeck
When we were first diagnosed, I remember agonizing over the unknown in little C's future. What would his life be like in a year? Two years? Five? Would he be able to function in a classroom with his peers? Would he hold down a job, live independently?
Would he ever have friends?
Family is wonderful - he will always have that. His brothers love him to no end, and God knows I'm grateful for it. But there's something about friendship that the human soul just needs. You can't choose your family, and they're kind of obligated to put up with you, but friendship is a choice - someone looking at another person, with all their quirks and foibles and faults, and choosing to love them, as they are.
I've watched, in the months since starting therapy, as little C's social skills have come along. When we started, he was generally content to play by himself, and I worried--a LOT-- about what that meant for his future. I didn't want him to just function his way through life, I wanted him to enjoy it, to step outside of his safe little world and form meaningful relationships with people around him.
But how do you teach friendship to kids on the spectrum?
The answer? You don't. They teach us.
Completely spontaneous. Entirely unprompted. Simply perfect.
From the beginning, C and J just clicked. There were other girls closer to her age, and boys closer to his that either might have chosen to become best buddies with, but they chose each other.
And it is magical.
They bring out the best in each other. A simple burp is enough to send them both into waves of giggles, and after five minutes in their presence, I am in awe of how natural it is for them, at the ease of their connection. I wonder, sometimes, if we adults couldn't take a few pointers from these two. Both kids have their differences, and their own challenges - but these details are completely insignificant in their world. They met each other where they are, and that's all there was to it.
A year ago, I would have been content to know that my baby would eventually make a friend.
I couldn't have imagined how proud it would make me to know that he has learned to be a friend.