Finding your tribe

My son’s SpEd teacher recently sent me an email asking me if, given the choice, what electives my son would be taking next year in 7th grade.

I told her if it were up to me, he’d be in theater and choir. He loves to sing and I think choir would be a good experience for him. And he’s got a natural flair for the dramatic that would be well suited to theater (his old SpEd teacher from elementary thinks so too and was tickled when I told her about it).

More than anything right now, I just want him to find his tribe, as it were. He’s never been big on making friends and at the totally ancient (in kid-years anyway) age of 12, he’s only been asked to maybe three classmate birthday parties in his entire life. He’s never slept away from home except at my mother in law’s house from time to time. He doesn’t call anybody on the phone and he had been private messaging some girl through the school’s website (they use it for class or something) but he got in trouble for talking about non-school related issues so that was shut down. He’s not into sports (except NASCAR and even that’s an only if it’s on and he feels like watching it kind of thing).

I want, more than anything, for him to find a group of friends that he can hang with, call on the phone, spend the night with, go DO shit with. I didn’t have that at his age..not really. I’ve never been good at making friends myself and I wish now that I was better at it. I know how hard it can be for him to be social sometimes with his autism spectrum disorder and I know sometimes kids in other disciplines (sports, for example) can be really cruel if you’re not up to snuff. But choir and theater (at least when I was in school) and to a lesser extent–band, was where all the weirdos, freaks and geeks ended up. And I’m not saying he’s a weirdo, a freak or a geek (well..ok. Maybe he’s a little bit of a geek) but the weirdos of the world tend to be a little bit more accepting of their fellow not-exactly-socially-acceptables in the world. I want him to find a place where he feels accepted and belongs. Because I don’t think he’s ever really had that.

I mean, the kids at school (with one notable exception in kindergarten) have never been mean  to him, but I don’t know he’s ever really found a group to hang with outside of a pair of twin girls that he’s known since they were in preK together. And even then, their grandmother is kind of weird about them hanging around a boy so they don’t get to see each other outside of school.

I just want, I think, what every parent wants for their kid. I want them to find some way of belonging and to be happy and grow up halfway fucking normal. Is that so wrong?

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