A blogger friend of mine posted an entry today talking about how one of his daughters has a friend over tonight and they were “camping” in the back yard.
I read that and once again, I felt a tiny little stab like kitten claws, in my heart.
It’s the little things like having a friend spend the night that I miss the most. Sonthing has never had a friend spend the night, nor has he spent the night at a friend’s house. He’s never spent the night away from home unless it was at a relative’s house. He’s never called a friend on the phone or IM’d them. He’s never had somebody come ringing our doorbell or knocking on the door asking him to come out and play. And, outside of a handful of birthday parties in kindergarten, he’s never been to a birthday party that wasn’t for a family member.
He’s never giggled with a friend over something that was benignly naughty or shared a secret. He’s never had an unsupervised adventure with a friend. I feel like his childhood is almost over and he’s missed SO much because of his autism. And, being the kind of person who would quite happily go live in a cave in the woods so that I didn’t have to deal with other people myself, I don’t know how to help him. I tried playdates when he was younger and they never ended up going well for either of us. He’s gotten too old to go to the library for story time (it’s geared for kids about 5 and younger) or craft hour (same problem as story time). I can’t drop him off for an hour or two when they have movies or events for middle schoolers, because he tends to get nervous and anxious if either I or his father (or his grandparents, if we’re not available) are around.
It breaks my heart a little when I hear about all the trouble or great adventures my friends’ kids are having, all the wonderful friends they have, how their daughters have a BFF. My son doesn’t have that…he might never have that. Yay, Autism.