Yesterday we had another play date. This play date was with Tate’s friend Geo. I’ve written about Geo before. Here, here and here. They love each other’s company. When they get together they can get squirrely, and they truly enjoy each other’s company. And isn’t that the point of being a kid? Being squirrely and goofy with your friends?? I had much less anxiety about this pairing than I have had with others. Selfishly, I know that for me it’s due to the fact that Geo’s mom gets the whole autism thing. The whole SPD thing. The whole ADHD thing. She lives this every day, as well. I don’t have to explain anything..and it saves so much energy! For Tate, he knows Geo is one of his peeps..and he loves Geo.
Tate’s therapist said that yesterday was the most engaged she’s ever seen Tate with another child. They played, reciprocated, and conversed. They each chose activities, and the other would join in the fun. She was able to get Tate to explain directions to a game to Geo, too. He rarely does that with his own brothers!! Even though I spent most of the play date out of the way, from the tone of their voices, I could tell that they were happy. Happy. And my heart sang. (Take THAT, ABA director who said that she’d prefer play dates with only typical peers.)
Tate knows that when he’s with Geo that he can be himself. He doesn’t feel the same pressure or anxiety that he tends to feel when he’s with typically developing peers. He knows that Geo “gets” him..and he gets Geo. They know what can set the other off, and they have a respectful way of interacting. Silly, yes, but ever so respectful. I feel privileged when I get to listen in on their fun.
It is said that when we find “our” people, we just know. We can let our guard down. We can laugh fully, smile brightly. We can relax and enjoy the moment. For Tate, yesterday’s play date was just that. Geo is one of Tate’s people. Tate knows it. Watching Tate with Geo is exciting. He smiles a lot. He giggles. He rarely needs to stim. He asks Geo questions and answers Geo’s, too. He may not use full sentences, but Geo and Tate have a connection…and sometimes only words or phrases need to be used.
What makes this even more amazing is that Geo and Tate haven’t been in class together (aside from the past couple of weeks of ESY) since early 2012. And yet, they fell into the same wonderful rhythm and routine together. I can’t stress enough how wonderful that was for both boys.
The best part of yesterday?? Once Geo had gone home, and after the therapist had left for the day, I asked Tate what his favorite part of the day was. And you know what he said?? “When I got to play with my friend, Geo.”
My friend Geo. Cue the happy tears. My son has a friend. He is experiencing true friendship. And I couldn’t be happier for him. That one statement created hope anew. He is experiencing a friendship. It’s organic and beautiful…and true.