If you ever met me you wouldn’t think that I wouldn’t have a problem making friends. I’m bubbly and seemingly outgoing. I’m the goofy and animated friend who always tries to make people laugh.
But when you become a special needs Parent, your choices in friends drastically diminish. It’s not that there aren’t amazing people out there… and it’s not like the friends you had aren’t still there. But after a while, you get tired of explaining the same thing over and over. Or answering the same questions… Or answering those “well have you tried…?” Or “why don’t you just…?”
I know MOST of them mean well… It’s not like they’re bad people, but it can be exhausting. Especially when my life is exhausting enough on it’s own, the last thing I want are my friendships to be also.
I don’t even do it on purpose… But I’ll realize I’ll respond less frequently or I’ll respond later and later to posts. Not because I don’t want to, but because just thinking about everything I’ll need to say, explain or give an excuse to is overwhelming.
I can’t “just find a sitter” so I go out less and less. We can’t come visit you because your house isn’t nearly child-proofed as ours. You could come over here, but a kid is bound to show up naked and really… When do i have time to clean? So I don’t invite you over anyway. It’s not that I don’t miss you. Or want to see you. But things change.
Every once and a while you find that amazing friend who “gets it” and doesn’t live too far. Either because they have kids on the spectrum or are your kids teachers/therapists. And when you find one, you about leap out of your skin because you don’t have to apologize for your house or naked kid, or explain what your kid is chewing on or what they’re scripting…. Because they get it.
But often, those amazing people who get it… We will never meet in person, because they’re all over the world.
Sitting in a house, nodding along to your child’s most recent milestone, celebrating with you because they understand just how truly amazing every new skill is.
No matter how small it seems to the outside world.
They might not have to go through or have gone through the exact same thing, but they get it.
Or they’re the people who don’t have kids or aren’t personally on the spectrum, but love your family and want to learn more about them.
They’re pretty freaking awesome too.
I have an amazing support group.
They laugh, cry and mourn with me.
They’re nodding along and raising their fists in excitement because they GET IT!
They share stories.
They give and ask for advice.
And I will probably never have the honor to meet them in this lifetime.
But I love them and I’m thankful for all of them.
They’re my support group, and I am theirs.