Saturday, August 1, 2009

Lost Friends and New Friends

I lost my first friend when I was 9. She and her family moved to Montreal. I went to a very small school; there were 10 of us in my grade. 4 girls and 6 boys that all started together in kindergarten and pretty much stayed together until grade 8. There were a few changes over the years: Sonia moved away, Anne skipped a grade, a few new faces would join for a year or two. But for the most part we had a lot of stability in our group of friends. Outside of school I didn't have any friends unless they were the children of my parents friends. We lived in the country and there were no other children to be seen. So it was not surprising that I found it difficult to make new friends since the opportunities were few and far between.

Liam however has already "lost" 2 friends and is about to lose a 3rd. Life is much more nomadic and international today then it was when I was a kid. Liam's friend Aiden and his family are moving to Australia next month; his friend Timothy and family moved to Saskatchewan when the boys were 3 and Madison is now living in Cape Breton.

Up until about 6 months ago Liam was very shy around new kids. He would make me go up to them at the park to ask them to play with him. Last year summer camp was mostly an awful experience for him as he went to different places each week and the age ranges of the kids was HUGE (6-12 years old, way too big of a range, especially if you are the 6 year old).

This year we tried to cut down on the number of different camps he went to and found ones with better age ranges (7-9). He even did one week of camp at his school where he got to spend the week with buddies from his class. At the other camps he was coming home and telling us that he had made friends, but could never remember their names and didn't really seem all that keen on them. Until this week.

Monday he came home from his first day at "Super Spy Camp" and declared he had a new best friend named "C" and that "C" liked Mario and had a DS and loves Transformers and on and on and on. "C" sounded perfect! Then Tuesday we heard more about "C". Hilary and I were both intrigued as this was the first time that Liam seemed to be cultivating a friendship all on his own. But alas "Super Spy Camp" is only 4 days long so we were preparing for the disappointment of another lost friend.

Turns out that "C" had a lot more in common with Liam then just toys and games. He too has a lot of trouble making friends and had gone home each night nattering on about this boy named Liam who was his new best friend. So on the last day of camp the boys exchanged phone numbers and made sure that their mums met at the end of the day.

"C"'s mom was beyond ecstatic that he had made a friend. "C" has autism, on the high functioning end of the spectrum, but has never made or had a friend before. We don't know what clicked with Liam but they are 2 peas in a pod. They called us up last night and asked us to go to a movie with them. Liam bounced for a full hour before their arrival "Are they here yet? When will they be here?" Once we got to the theater "C" and Liam held hands to walk through the lot and were inseparable for the rest of the night. We all came back to our house after the movie and they boys just kept playing. I don't think I've ever seen Liam spend so much one on one time with another kid without there being at least one minor disagreement or rough spot.

Plans have been made for the next play date and thus a new friendship was born!

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