As I thought about friendship, I had wondered what my sons experience with his friendships would be. I remembered while I was pregnant I had already planned on who his friends would be and the amount of playdates that we will have with his friends. I had been completely blessed with the birth of my son and had already set up playdates with other mothers who I knew. I wanted him to have the same lifelong friendships that I had acquired even if it meant bringing him together with other children at just one month old. I know that as a mother, we consider friendships being such an important part of growing up for our children. I was so happy to begin this journey of a mother and bringing other children in our lives.
We had lived about 2 hours away from family and some of our friends, that we made the decision to move back closer to home. This way our son would be able to be around our HUGE family so he can begin to build the relationships at a young age. I loved the fact that we have such a big family unit with many children. I already had it pictured that he would be best friends with his boy cousins and would run around playing cops and robbers. I knew in my heart of hearts that he was going to immediately click with others as I did growing up. I figured that this was going to be one of the easiest parts of my job as a parent, since I knew how easy it was for everyone to make friends, including my son.
However, things had been just a little different. As he got a little older I began to notice that he really did not like the loud voices and cheering of his little cousins, or of anyone. He wasn't a fan of being held and cuddled by anyone but mom and dad. That of course seemed to make sense for me since he was so young. When he finally had the freedom to walk after his first birthday, he would use those legs of his to find a spot to have his own space. He would watch his cousins play, and every once in a while would try to join. We had eventually received a diagnosis of SPD (sensory processing disorder, formally known as sensory integration disorder). At this point, the little things that he would do around others began to slowly start making sense.
It has been an adventure as we have began to learn about the world of SPD, GDD, ASD, and so many other diagnosis. We never once thought that we would be thrown into this world. Ultimately, we have been beyond blessed with many of our friendships, and family. We are all being taught by this little hero of ours how to grow as a person. He has been able to teach us that our own friendships that we have cultivated were truly important as our friends have ad children of their own, and they have been able to see a way that a friendship can be cultivated with a twist. By learning what his limits are and what he is looking for in a friend, he, in his own terms creating a friendship on his own. He has a best friend who on his terms as well have built this adorable friendship. He has his little cousin who he completely adores beyond anything, and other older cousins that he is getting to know much better.
By building the bridges of friendship for our son, we realized that it was he himself that needed to find the values of what he wanted in his life. As a three year old, we never assumed that he would be able to learn this lesson on his own. We just gave him the tools that he needed, and the understanding of everyone around him, to let him be the one to approach. We were able to realize that at three, a friendship to him is someone that he can just be able to be around, to play with, and to play parroting games with.
Thankfully, with the help of my best friend, I was able to be a part of Pilot Parents. This program has brought many new friends into my life, and brought our amazing group together. With Friendship Flowers, we wanted to be able to be that starting point for ALL children to not only have a start point in building a friendship, but to see what qualities they are looking for in one. I strongly believe that friendships is what makes a child happy, and builds a better experience in school. If we can just find a way to bring these like minded individuals together in an environment that they will always be in, I think that we will be able to create a lasting experience that they will be able to say that they had/have a great group of friends who have impacted their lives.
Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!-- Dr Seuss