When my son was little, we used to go to the park often. Each time, I would silently hope that that would be the day that he would make a friend. The day that he would break down his wall, step out and approach another child. But, it never happened.
Each time we went to the park, he would settle himself in the sand a short distance away from all of the other kids. Every now and then, a child would come over and say “hi,” but more times than not, my son wouldn’t even acknowledge their presence. So they would walk away leaving him to play alone. I assumed he preferred it this way. Perhaps he liked being a ‘loner’, or maybe it was the simple fact that he didn’t know how to relate to others. At the time, I didn’t know for sure.
Since then, as he’s gotten older, I’ve learned that since talking to others is so challenging for him, he rather not do it at all. He’s afraid that people won’t understand, that people will give him a hard time, but mostly that he will mess up on his words. When it comes to his speech ability, he has a very low self esteem. It’s understandable. He’s 15 years old and struggles greatly with forming sentences, using proper vocabulary and explaining his thoughts.
I don’t like this label. Never have. Rarely does this diagnosis get brought up in front of him. I don’t want him to feel different, but unfortunately this is something he can’t avoid. He feels it everyday; at school, at the store, when he’s around others. He knows he’s different. Because of his differences, he’s never had friends; partially his choosing, but mainly because most people ignore him.
He has a friend, “Sam”. Every day when he comes home he tells me, “I hung out with my friend Sam.” From a boy, who in 15 years has never truly had a friend, it’s like music to my ears to him so happily say, “my friend Sam.” My son has a friend!
Not only has he emerged from his shell enough to gain a friend, he’s also just joined an after-school club. His idea, not mine. He came home one day and asked if he could join the bowling club. His excitement was obvious, so of course I said yes. Plus, never has he asked to join any kind of club. A club involves people and people involves communicating. So wanting to join a club is a huge step for him.
After a string of emails with the club coordinator over the weekend, my son was all set to go by last night. After relaying the information to him, he got a big smile on his face and finally admitted the reason behind wanting to join. “I get to go with Sam!”
It is truly a gift to see my son so happy. I’m so appreciative to people like Sam, who take the time to see my son for who he is. My son is an amazing young man, with a caring heart and a great sense of humor. Sam sees past my son’s differences and likes him for him.
That’s how we should all be. No one should ever be turned away because they’re ‘different’. Their differences are part of what makes them so special. Plus, aren’t we all ‘different’?
So I’d like to say…
Thank you to those, like Sam, who take the time to befriend people, that others tend to turn a blind eye to. Everyone deserves a friend and I’d dare say, that everyone needs one.
You could be the friend that someone’s been waiting for. So step out of your comfort zone and make yourself friendly.
After reading another blogger’s post regarding Writing 101, I decided that it would be a fun challenge. So, this is my first writing assignment for Writing 101 hosted by The Daily Post.
Assignment: To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.