A sassy, crafty mama bird from Los Angeles
raising a very sweet little girl with Autism
and a new baby boy in the Midwest... and other stuff, too.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Small Things Saturday: friends who get it



About two or three years ago, I noticed an interesting shift in my life: my friends without kids seemed to be a lot more comfortable around us and autism than my friends with kids. I think it might have been because they didn't have their own kids, so they couldn't really compare Little Bird's differences to their own normie experience. Does that make sense? Well, soon a bunch of those friends started having their own normie babies and sure enough, we don't hear from them so much anymore. Sometimes, yes, but not as much. Maybe it's a coincidence or maybe it's because they're busy with their friends who also have babies, rather than 5 year olds? Maybe I'm reaching. But still... 


About a year and a half ago, we formed a pretty strong bond with some beautiful people who have now become like a little family to us. These people traveled with us to Israel in Sept '09 so you can go stalk my archives to look up my posts from that unbelievable trip. These friends don't have kids yet and they are so incredibly accepting and comfortable with Little Bird. They're not afraid to talk about it or ask questions. This is a pretty big thing when you think about it. One of these couples came for dinner last year and baked their own GFCF dessert so Little Bird could eat it, too. Another brings her books every time she comes over because she knows how LB loves books. Last night we did the whole gluttonous Thanksgiving meal (a night late) with another one of these couples. Not only did she bring LB a turkey toy, but she sat with her at the computer and got really excited about the fact that LB sat on her lap and engaged her in play. She was truly, genuinely excited. 


I love friends who get excited and passionate about my kid's triumphs and can really see progress. Another friend of this little "family" tells me he had no idea what Autism was before getting to know my family, and genuinely takes interest in our experience, trying to learn more about the situation. These are some of the people in Little Bird's corner, in my corner. I am so grateful. It's really no small thing.


18 comments:

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

What a cute turkey toy!
I think it's really hard to hang out with friends who have kids of greatly different ages- 5 years is a huge difference- my boys always loved going to your house cuz you have lots of toys-I wish we lived closer!

Jessica said...

Great post, don't you love when you find those people who don't think autism is contagious? Unfortunately they are rare, so glad you have found that kind of circle of friends.

Big Daddy Autism said...

Like Jessica said, it's almost as though they think it's contagious. My boy touches their precious princess and -Poof- she'll start stimming and melting down. Screw them.

On the brighter side, over time, some of those "fear of contagion" friends have come back into our lives. But it still seems as though it is the friends without kids who are the most accepting and open.

Jean said...

My friendships have changed hugely since my dude was diagnosed over 3 years ago. At times it was difficult, hurtful and lonely but I gotta say I now have more dear friends than ever...mostly autie parents, at that.
I honestly never considered the childless/parent friend issue before. It's something for me to think about.
XXX

@jencull (jen) said...

I have seen new friendships since HRH was diagnosed with autism and I have seen old friendships fade away too because they just don't get it, well, they don't WANT to get it. My son is part of the package and if they don't want to understand or have him around well then so be it. The good friends are just the best though:) Lovely post. Jen

JustMom420zaks said...

Aww.
We would totally be you guy's friends, even if Tyler turns out not to have autism.
We're going to the neurologist in a couple weeks and we'll find out then.
I've never really thought about it, the other friends with kids avoiding us if he happens to be on the spectrum... but thats just yet another thing to mull over in my mind.
Your Little Bird is beautiful.

Christine Harling said...

I'm weird because I really didn't have many friends to start with! (and the friends I did have had older kids.) My daughter's autism has actually brought more friends into my life...other moms with autistic kids. And that's what I feel comfortable with right now...other parents who get it. It's still kind of hard for me to be around NT kids my daughter's age. So in my case, I think I probably pull away from people with NT kids more than than they pull away from us. But my daughter is still very little...it's hard to say how people will react in the future.

Tammy P. said...

I have noticed the same thing!

Ashley said...

I've definitely noticed how a shift like this can do some pruning of your relationships. It really shows you which friendships are true. The ones you might have considered strong fade out completely and you realize they weren't such great friends after all. It's their loss. They're missing out on having some wonderful, brilliant, amazing, interesting kids in their lives.

Chris P-M said...

Definitely not a small thing...we even have FAMILY that don't get it yet.

Those kinds of friends are rare gems...too bad you guys don't live in our neighborhood!

Dani G said...

I've loved reading everyone's comments. I'm really surprised that other people have had this experience, too. Verrrrrry interesting! Sometimes I wonder if my friends felt guilty for having normie kids and that's what's kept them away. Who knows? I'll just keep finding younger and younger friends without kids!!

jillsmo said...

Yeah!! Here's to friends who get it!!

Lynn said...

I think that people with typical kids around our kids age do feel guilty....and uncomfortable having conversations that we can't partake in, etc. Which in turn makes me uncomfortable. So it's best for me to cool those friendships. I agree...single people are awesome in comparison.

Sofia's Ideas said...

I soooooo understand the sentiment here! It takes me back over 10 years, but the memories are still fresh. And recalling those memories always makes me think about "Holland"...

http://sofiasideas.com/2010/05/10/welcome-to-holland/

I am so grateful for the people I met in "Holland" too! :)

TheSublimeLife said...

I know what you mean! I have trouble meeting new friends with our recent move. the autism things freaks them out. The kids play fine while we chat and they say how much we should do this. I mention the autism, then boom! They have to get going foe some reason and we never hear from them again. I know we don't need those types in our life, but it still sucks. I am so glad I found my neighbor as a friend. Her son's old best friend had it and she is totally cool with it!

Sofia's Ideas said...

Thank you so much for hosting this! I'm already a GFC friend! :)

I hope you'll do the same! You can find me @ http://sofiasideas.com/

Sofia's Ideas

tulpen said...

I've always felt some measure of guilt from parents of normies. Maybe I'm projecting that, but it is what I tell myself is the reason they act all f***ed up around my kid.

Friends without kids don't have the guilt issue, so they seem more comfortable.

Anonymous said...

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