Life is blessed and brighter if we have a Dorothy, Rose, Blanche or Sophia in our lives.
During pandemic lockdown, I watched a lot of Golden Girls reruns.
It was a show I watched after school in grade school and nicely complemented the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!
Revisiting the show as an adult, the story of four older women living together and finding a new lease on life felt comforting.
Parenting changes one’s social life, because you have less time and energy to hang out with friends. Layer on a child with special needs, time and energy are even rarer.
I often read with empathy about parents of children with FASD who’ve lost friendships, because of misunderstandings over their children’s challenges, often perceived as bad behaviour.
I can relate as I sense the judgment from other parents at the park when T – who plays nicely most of the time – has one of his moments.
“Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down a road and back again
Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant
And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
Well, you would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say
Thank you for being a friend.”
Friendships evolve. Some strengthen, some drift or fall apart. The ones that endure are based on mutual care, respect, empathy and effort.
I am blessed to have amazing friends; some of whom were only 5 years older than T is now when we first became friends.
The hubby and I have been open with our close friends about T’s FASD since the beginning.
We make them aware of the highs and lows and how FASD may manifest in a social situation. Some friends have also witnessed his moments.
We balance between educating and not making our conversations all about T’s diagnosis. It’s one part of our and T’s larger life.
We try to be strategic about activities we do with friends.
We include time for T to run around. We avoid situations that may disregulate T, because that’s no fun for anyone.
The reality, however, is as a parent of a child with FASD, especially during the pandemic, my time with friends is limited.
So I’m thankful for the ways we make time for each other – Zoom chats, lunch get togethers, sending a “How are you” text, and even a roadtrip to the 1,000 Islands.
I’m thankful for the ways my friends support T – from giving him books for birthdays to gifts that support his sensory needs.
During the recent May long weekend, a group of our close friends got together for lunch at Congee Queen – home to T’s favourite Fish Maw Soup.
I had seen some of them during the pandemic but this was the first time all of us were together as a group since the pandemic started. The last time I had seen one of them was in February 2020!
It was soul soothing to catch up. It felt like no time had passed, except one of them has a three-year-old daughter we haven’t met yet!
Afterwards, we went to get bubble tea with T’s “Auntie E.” We were supposed to get takeout but ended up sitting and chatting for an hour.
T got bored of the adult conversation and started drawing on his hands. My friend reached her hand out and offered it for T to draw on.