My daughter has a best friend! I know this may not be a particular celebration moment for most people with a seven year old, but it is for me.
My daughter has ADHD, GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and we are in the process of getting her evaluated for ASD (autism spectrum disorder). My daughter really struggles in social situations. She has issues reading facial and social cues. She often does not realize when she’s annoying people. While she will talk to anyone (and everyone), that doesn’t mean she has conversations with them. A lot of times her conversations lack real fluidity and are more about whatever she’s really interested in and wants to tell people, regardless of whether they’ve asked or are talking about something completely different. She may be academically advanced, but she is socially immature.
For the last few months, she’s been talking about her two best friends at school. Since we don’t live in district (my kids go to school in the district I teach in so we can all be on the same schedule), all of her classmates live 30-45 minutes away from us, so play dates are not easy. In fact, in the year and a half that she’s been at this school, she’s never had one. She’s also never been invited to a birthday party.
In all fairness, my son, who is very socially adapt and has a ton of friends, has only been invited to four birthday parties in that same time period and only one of his school friends showed up to his last birthday party. When I asked a coworker who does live in district and whose children go to the same school, she said it’s pretty typical because a lot of the families in our district don’t have friend parties and don’t travel outside the town much.
So, when my daughter started talking about her best friends, I was worried she was reading too much into the situations and that the while she really liked both of the girls, they may not have felt quite the same way about her. Her birthday is next month and she keeps talking about inviting the girls to a sleep over or to a movie or to play with her for her “party.” We aren’t doing a big party this year because we are going on a family trip instead. Every time she mentioned it, I got a huge knot in my stomach, wondering what to do if both girls said no.
But today, I got a text on my phone from a strange number asking if my daughter was home. I replied “yes she is, who is this?” The little girl replied with her name and said she was my daughter’s bff. My heart jumped.
I immediately handed my daughter my phone so she could text her friend back. Within minutes her bff asked if they could use Face Time each other. Even though my daughter is currently banned from using electronics because she snuck her school iPad into her room last night and played games past her bedtime, I grabbed my iPad and immediately dialed. My daughter not only has a best friend, but one who wants to see and talk to her. Hell yes I’ll break my own punishment for this moment!
Parents without children who struggle the way my daughter does may not understand the tears I shed as I listened to my daughter show her bff her room on the iPad, but I assure you, it was a magical moment for me. I wish my husband had been home to witness it too.
As I sit here typing this, I can hear their little voices taking turns reading each other pages from a Babymouse book. It is the most beautiful sound in the world to me.