I have, unfortunately, neglected WordPress for a very long while and I apologise. But I do have a story I wish to share with you…
My mom and I are sitting in the car on a sunny afternoon after she’s picked me up from school. After a few moments of silence, she turns and says with tears in her eyes, “Vicky, read this,” and hands me her phone opened to the messages between herself and my brother’s best friend’s mom. Said brother (Liam) and best friend (Belle) are in 3rd grade.
After scrolling through the texts and returning to phone to my mother, I am willing myself desperately not to cry. “Wow…” is all I can say. Basically, the situation was this:
Liam has aspergers, a rather mild form of autism which is still on the autism scale. He is normal for the most part, but his social skills aren’t developed as well as most kids’ and he gets very overwhelmed emotionally, not always able to deal with his feelings. He also sometimes says and does silly things. But finding Belle, a little girl his age who lives in our neighbourhood, has been the best thing that’s ever happened. They are both avid little readers and often do their homework together before they go play. They’re the best of friends.
One day at school, Belle approached a table with some girls in her grade sitting at. Not nice girls…the type you just know are going to end up as cheerleaders and gossiping, emotional, drama queens who have something to say about everyone. I think she’s already friends with these girls. But as she moves to set her stuff down, they tell her collectively that she can’t sit there – or, in fact, be friends with them anymore – unless she stops being friends with Liam. They tell Belle they’re worried about her, that my brother is “dangerous.” Actually, he’s the sweetest most intelligent little boy in their grade. I was furious now. When did 3rd graders become so cruel? And I’m sure that at that point, most little girls would have given in to the peer pressure…one friend for five others? Is that really worth it?
But Belle stood up, looked them in the eye, and told those girls that Liam was a really nice little boy if you just got to know him. And then she left. She didn’t care what they thought. She didn’t give a rat’s ass about those girls. He was her friend and that was all that mattered. My little brother cost this girl at least five friends, and she stood up for him. She did something for him only our family ever has. She gave him something very few can. True friendship, loyalty, love. It was more than I could take. As soon as we got home, I cried in my room. I had secretly worried about that little boy so much, prayed all the time that he wouldn’t get bullied, hoped against hope he would be alright … and here Belle had done this for him, for me. It was beautiful, and heartbreaking. Because I know he won’t always have her, or me, or someone there when something like that goes down. But for now he does. And that girl has no idea how grateful I am.