Reasons To Love Autism: Moment #23 (on making friends)

Everyday my boy who is supposedly “disabled” teaches me tremendous lessons.  Language does not come easy for him and he does not volunteer a lot of information so where you, as a parent, might be able to simply ask questions and get a whole diatribe of what went on in your child’s day, I have to go through a mild interrogation.   Inside these mild interrogations, I learn a lot and, if i am lucky, he leaves me speechless.

It started like this:

Mom: How was your day?

The boy: Good.

Mom: What was the best part?

The boy: I didn’t get in any trouble.

Mom:  Okay, that is what didn’t happen now can you tell me about something that did happen that made your day good?

The boy: The boy who sat next to me at lunch ate a fly.

Mom: How did that happen?

The boy: It was in the rice.

Mom: Did you eat rice?

The boy: No, he had cold lunch.

Mom: Which friend was this?

The boy: I don’t know his name.

Mom:  Aren’t you sitting with the same friends?

The boy: No, I was sitting at a different table.

This is where mom gets a little nervous because he is not sitting with the same boys he was with at the beginning of the year.  The safe boys from the elementary school we attended.  We are in seventh grade now and the social ramifications are more immense and I worry he will be targeted or bullied or made fun of and I appreciate the sameness of our lunch crowd because I know with them he is safe.  So naturally my radar goes onto high alert and I ask more questions.

Mom: What tables do you sit at now?

The boy: Any table where there are only boys.  Just boys, no girls.

Mom: And you don’t know the people you are sitting with?

The boy: No.  They are boys.

Mom: You sit with people you don’t know?  Why buddy?

The boy: Mom, I have lots of friends at lots of different tables.  I change tables so I can see them all.  How could I know all their names?

And that is when he knocks my socks off.  In my mind’s eye, I am worried he is the friendless boy who moves from table to table but, in his eye, he sees that everyone is his friend and he is trying to move from table to table to see different people.  I am not sure if he truly has devoted friends like you and I might define them but, in his definition, he has a lot of friends and I like that.  I love his eyes, I love his view of the world and because of his grace and who he is… he teaches me the big lessons, the really important stuff.  Love that boy.

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