I hear all the time how parents of children with autism feel isolated and a bit cut off from the community.
Everytime I hear something like this, I feel sad. I think how wrong it is for a parent/carer to feel like that :(
Fortunately, I am really blessed in that respect as I have some awesome friends who are just fab and include me and DS in practically everything! :)
I would like to tell you about one friend in particular as she is pretty special to DS and I :)
I met Cate on my first day of High School aged 11 years old. We had come from different primary schools at opposite ends of the town so had never met before and were put in the same form.
My first memory of her was when our form tutor started a 'Getting to know each other' session and wanted us to write our names on sticky notes. I remember overhearing her laugh and say that there was no way that she was going to put her full name as it was a tad embarrassing to her! (her middle names are not embarrassing by the way! lol) a bit of a joke and banter started between her and our tutor and I remember thinking how funny she was! :)
We became best friends and had a great little group of boys and girls with us! :)
I could tell you lots of funny stories over the years but this post would be a mile long if I did! lol
We moved through the years within school, Cate even moved in with me for a short time when we were 18 and then she moved to North Wales. I would go and visit and often would stay over at her house.
The day DS was diagnosed with autism, Cate and I had planned a girly shopping day in Liverpool. I remember coming home from the clinic really upset as the autism diagnosis had come out of the blue so was really unprepared for it! (I later learnt that the paediatrician was unaware that suspected autism had never been mentioned to me which she later apologised for).
That day was a difficult one and Cate was just lovely! I decided to still go ahead with our girly date even though my head was completely somewhere else! Cate never ever said but it must of been a bit like I wasn't there to her - sort of there in body but not in spirit :/
By the time I got home that evening I was in a better place and had got over a lot of the shock :) which a good chunk of that was down to her! (not to mention the numerous glasses of wine I had consumed!)
I think Cate checked in on me everyday after that for about a fortnight! lol
Also every time I am poorly, this little trouper has lovingly cooked up meals for us all and delivered them to my house - she is like my own little "meals on wheels" service, not to mention what an amazing home cook she is too! :)
I have lost count of the delicious meals I have ate from her good cooking!
As well as all this, she is terrific with DS!
DS loves her car so every time she pops round, she always gives him a little drive around the cul-de-sac before she leaves :) and no matter how pressed she is for time, she always does this and lets him have a little play of her headlights, washers and wipers :) - how many people would do that??
As you can imagine, DS adores her! :)
I have to say, that when you have friends with neuro-typical kids, it's easy to think how they are probably not going to get it and lots of things we do will seem pretty alien to them!
I can honestly say that I have never seen Cate look at anything a bit quizzical that I do with DS instead she has a good awareness and will ask me stuff if she's unsure of anything :)
Really I could go on singing this woman's praises as I have LOADS more examples to share but I think I best stop there! :)
I would absolutely love to think that every parent of special needs children has at least one friend like Cate and if not, then I think I will start up a campaign so that every parent/carer does!...... or just simply clone her! :)
Last weekend, we arranged to eat, dance and be merry and when we got to the restaurant, the table was decorated with birthday balloons! (sneakily done by her)
Not only did we have a fantastic night but Cate surprised me with a gorgeous flower cake with 'Happy Birthday' on one side and 'Just Engaged' on the other! :)
It was layered with different tones of pinks and tasted delicious!
It will probably come as no surprise that she is going to be one of my stunning bridesmaids at my up and coming wedding as I don't think every friendship out there spans 26 years to date!!
Now, next on my to do list is how to clone someone............;)