You know when you're friends with other people that have kids, you open your home to more children running in and out of the patio screen door with sandy bare feet, and dragging Capri-sun pouches and drippy ice cream cones across your carpet, and digging through the entire box of toys to find one matchbox car. When you have autism mom friends, you get so much more. I know when my friend Kate's daughter Emily comes over she is going to dump the stuffed animal net all over Elliott's bed, and try to climb in my fish tank. Because I am used to it, I am not phased. I will always have a can of Pillsbury frosting for her to eat in my fridge. I will be right next to her mom to help lure her outside with a teletubby when its time to leave and she sinks to the ground in a meltdown. When you have certain things in common with these moms, their children become like your own. You see past all the autism.
Today was a family fun event at a gymnastics place in town. Chandler's dad was bringing him, and I was just there to hang out and watch him play. Last time we were here Emily had no intention of leaving without a fight. And fight she did, she bit her mom, and kicked her strong little legs until she was buckled into the car, struggling to escape. I rode home in the backseat with her. Today as the clock hands ticked toward five-thirty, and I was giving Chandler some extra hugs until I see him when dad brings him home Sunday night, I watched Emily jumping. I didn't have to wonder if mom was anxious. I was anxious. I got caught up in a conversation about Chandler with Anna, the music therapist, and when I looked around everyone had coats and shoes on, and I ran to catch up. There was Emily. Sunny stamp on her hand from Nate the gymnastics director, and holding mom's hand while she beamed, and walked perfectly out the door, stopping for a kiss and a high five from another mom. I could tell mom was about to cry, and I could hear the many comments as Emily strolled past the families grinning. Great job! Way to go! Awesome! My help was not needed. Emily's success, is her mom's success, is my success, and Chandlers, and all of these kids and their families. We feel the emotions together, we celebrate the magic of these moments. Autism is often a lonely road, but together we travel with much more joy and pride. I'm so proud of you Emily!