October 2, 2012

To Friends

In the three years I've been writing this blog, I've connected online with many parents of autistic or other special needs children and adults. Through Facebook, I'm able to have conversations with some of the smartest, funniest, kindest people all over the world, from Australia to New York, North Carolina to Berkeley. These are people who get it, who know what to say to each other when we're hurting, who prop each other up when we're down, and make each other laugh when it seems the world will come crashing down.

Sometimes one of these people will lament the loss of a friend or family member. Someone who didn't want to be around "all this autism." Or someone who got a little too judgmental about the parenting of a special needs child, even though she doesn't have one of her own. Who had an negative opinion about  their decision to medicate, or how they discipline, or what the kids will eat, or any other of the things we delicately balance every day. Sometimes these friendships end abruptly, and other times simply disintegrate from disuse, lifestyles no longer compatible. It happens.

But I am lucky. I have not lost one single friend or family member since Moe's diagnosis. In fact, I have some really great friends who have shown how great they really are. They make an effort to connect. They understand that I have to say no more often than not and continue to invite me anyway. They ask me about Moe and his school and they care about my answers. And when I don't want to talk about autism anymore, we talk about other things.

The other day, one of these friends said, "we miss Moe." I don't know if she realized it, but that was, to me, a remarkable thing to say. Because while Moe is still running around like our kids did when they were toddlers, their kids are in kindergarten, and riding bikes and scooters, and playing and making mischief of one kind and another. I am not as close to many of these friends as I was when I saw them every week, and I am sometimes a little bit jealous of how much they see each other and involved they are in each others' lives, but they always welcome me in, on whatever terms I need.

I'd like to say that this is because I am the most interesting woman in the world, and that they are just happy to have whatever time with me they can. But really it is a testimony to them. To their openness and intelligence and all around loveliness. And I got to spend last weekend with several of them in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

They are also funny as hell. And they catch me when I run to them.


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