I took this priceless photo the other day on a field trip with my son’s school. So, my son has a friend, no big deal, right? What?! It might not be a big deal to you but whoa, it is a huge deal to me! He doesn’t go on play dates, play outside with the neighborhood kids, and his invites to birthday parties are pretty slim. Now, I can’t lie, this is not your normal everyday friendship. He actually hardly ever speaks to this friend, doesn’t really play with her, pretty much ignores her, and even runs away from her. But, this persistent, precious, sweet little girl does not give up on him. She says he is her best friend. Her best friend.
Beautiful words to a mother who has watched her son struggle to make a friend. Sure, kids try to talk to him on a playground or at a park. “What’s your name?” they ask, or they say something trying to start a conversation with him. I watch holding my breath, a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I know what the outcome will be. My son is sometimes interested and smiles, but he doesn’t know what to say to them, or how to say it. Many times he just runs away, leaving the other child to move on to someone else. Sometimes they will even come ask me, “Why won’t he talk to me?” or “Why is he being mean?” “He doesn’t really know how to talk to you,” I say, “he’s not trying to be mean.” “Why don’t you try to show him how to play your game?” I ask. But, honestly, I know their frustration. It is so difficult to try to talk to someone or engage someone that doesn’t talk or play back, and most of the time is totally happy being alone. It can be heartbreaking at times.
But, this little girl in the picture above is relentless. She does not care that he doesn’t talk to her. She doesn’t think he’s mean. She sees him, really sees him. She tries to engage him, involve him, and help him every chance she gets, even when he doesn’t want her to! I think she has a future career in speech, occupational or ABA therapy. I know it will not always be this way. As my son gets older, there probably won’t always be a little girl that wants to be his friend so badly and take care of him. But, I can’t worry about that right now, today I’ll be glad that my boy has a friend.