Joey has himself two girlfriends. Who happen to be best friends. And both know Joey is sweet on both of them, and think it's fine. Ah, puppy love.
I got to see both young ladies this morning, as I took Joey's komodo dragon model in for him to paint at school. I knew the one young lady from last year, the other young lady is new. I was a little surprised to find I had permission to know our new friend's backstory. Then I heard it. I am not at liberty to share it, but let's just say my heart broke a little, watching that lovely young lady and understanding what challenges she faces. Joey adores her, and she is very serious about being "Joey's Buddy" and helping him with certain aspects of his day.
It was a reminder to us that there are going to be other challenges when you are in the world special education and special needs. So many of the kids in, say, Andy's class, may go through their entire school careers without having to discuss the needs of their friends, or that a friend is sick, or that a friend may go away. These events are rare outside the special needs community- so rare that children are often shocked and unprepared when their friends have needs, or get sick, or something happens to them. I am going to be working on strategies to help my guys deal with these things, because for us, it is a fact of life. Our friends have special needs, they need special kinds of attention and extra work to be able to play with them, our friends are often sick or get sick more easily and more intensely, and sometimes, things happen. We have not just one rare friend who hits the brick wall. Most of our friends face that wall every day of their lives. We have friends for whom every day they live is beating impossible odds. Every breath they take is a victory. Every moment with them is that much more precious. It isn't rare around here.
It was also a wonderful reminder of how far we've come. Joey is picking up on the rewards of being social, the skills needed to be social, and the joys of interaction with peers. He expresses his like for his two girlfriends- and I think we can call them both this, as in "sweethearts"- in a manner that is appropriate for his age. Other than being fascinated by their hair, he is completely appropriate. Holding hands now and then, spending time together, being buddies- all fine. And normal. And social.
You go, Joey!