Today, J had his first playdate.

A friend I made in parent/child group invited us over so our boys (her 2 and my little guy) could play together. Her youngest and J were thick as thieves at group until he turned three about a month or so ago. They are polar opposites in a lot of ways yet that is how they seem to compliment each other. One’s weakness plays to the other’s strengths and with the way little M is growing in leaps and bounds between each time I see him… He’s going to be the kind of guy who ends up showing J how to get on in the world.

This was my bear’s first playdate and mine too. M’s mom teaches me a lot. She is persistent, never relenting in getting what it is her son needs and leaving no stone unturned. She has been the “forward scout” into the local school system and prepared us in parent group for what was ahead of us as our own children get close to three and enter into it. She always listens, always encourages and always offers an anecdote so notes can be compared and we can realize “wow, I’m really not alone”.

It is not uncommon for, after I explain to someone J’s special needs, for them to say “I’m sorry”. It’s not a flaw on them, it’s a lot to take in for those uninitiated so I cannot hold a grudge against those who say it.

To them, however, I say… “Well, I’m not.”

The special needs community has it’s ups and downs when I enter the larger realm of it. The small realm of our local Early Intervention groups and the handful of moms I have met online through blogging and through a moms group I joined while pregnant have shown me that there are great people out there, like M’s mom. We support each other, make each other laugh, and lend shoulders for leaning on when we’re struggling the most with what can be overwhelming loads of fear and stress. 

Would I have known this without autism in our lives? Likely, but I feel it wouldn’t have been the same. Autism has forced me to be a better person to help my son along and has shown me a whole new world.

So, C, thank you. Junebug 2010 moms, thank you. Thursday Sensory Group parents, thank you. Fellow Boston Mom bloggers, thank you.

Everyone who has helped me through this so far… Thank you.