It's tough to grieve a child when they are fine. He is okay. He hasn't gone anywhere. in front of me. He has always needed me. But it has taken a long long time to get past the feelings of uselessness or guilt if he had a meltdown - a meltdown, not a tantrum. There is a difference.
I'm not completely past feeling useless, even now. We are getting along the best we can, but, sometimes, grief catches me off guard. Like when I forget school has a closure in the middle of the week, and he is eagerly expecting the school bus, or even times like tonight.
He didn't do anything. In fact, I was just nursing his baby brother, scrolling through Facebook when I got hit with the grief. I read a post on its way to becoming viral, and it resonated with me so much, that I cried. A dad wrote about his son, who is on the spectrum, and really wants a sleepover, but has nobody to ask. On the little interview forms that are popular for kids to fill out in the first days of a new school year, this boy wrote two words that sparked my grief over again.
When asked who some of his friends were, he wrote, "No One."
He was aware of none of his peers really taking notice of him, or if they were, some teased him, sometimes in front of him, mistaking him for not being intelligent. My heart aches for that poor boy, who wants to join in, but doesn't know how. He reminds me so much of my own son, that it is tough to worry and think about what J thinks of himself, thanks to the world he finds himself in.
However, I would hope that if J was ever asked that question that he would try to write down the name of my good friend's (another ChicagoNow blogger, and fellow alien) eldest son, 'X' in particular, as well as her younger son, 'Y'. Before meeting them, J WAS that boy who had nobody that he could call his friend. Sure he had acquaintances, like we all do, but nobody who would actually go out of their way to include him, the way X and Y do. It's hard to explain all the things these two wonderful boys do for J, but goodness I am so grateful for their friendship and kindness they have extended to him. They are a credit to their parents. Without them, he would be the boy with 'no one'.
I only hope that poor boy finds somebody that he can share some friendship with. We all need friends, and friends help you to feel good whether it is a good or a bad day, special needs or not.
It takes no effort to extend a little kindness to those who may need it. You never know how much that kindness might be needed. Be somebody's someone, not their no one.
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