Friday, September 09, 2005

A friend, indeed

Bud has a friend.

Clay is a boy in his Kindergarten class. We met Clay at the open house the day before school started, and since his was the name I remembered it was the one I used as we prepared for the first day of school. "And you'll play on the playground with your teacher and the other kids, like Clay..."

Every day after school we have walked from the classroom to the car at about the same time as Clay and his mom. And every day I have prompted Bud to say goodbye to Clay by name. We did this throughout Bud's two and a half years of preschool with a myriad of other children, so it never occurred to me that anything special was happening.

Bud did talk about Clay at home, though. When I asked who he liked at school he named his teacher, then his aide, then Clay. When I asked who he played with, he named his teacher, then his aide, then Clay. Last week he told me he wanted Clay to come and play at Bud's house. But I sort of thought Bud was just trying to give me the "right" answer when I asked a question.

Yesterday as we were leaving school, Bud - because he has the very sweet habit of ALWAYS telling on himself - announced "I can take it home with me!", which prompted me to frisk him and find each one of his pockets stuffed with toy fruit from the classroom. We headed back to the classroom to return the contraband, then I spent some time chatting with Bud's teacher. It was about 15 minutes later when we finally headed back to the parking lot.

As we approached I saw that Clay was sitting on the lawn by our car, and I heard him say "Mom! Here he comes!"

Clay's mom got out of the car and said to me, "Clay insisted that we couldn't leave until he said goodbye to Bud." They had waited 15 minutes, with Clay's mom wondering if we had walked to an appointment somewhere, and with Clay steadfast in his resolve to wait us out.

Bud gave Clay a high five, and they both said goodbye and climbed into their respective cars. It took every ounce of restraint I had to keep from scooping Clay up and smothering him with kisses.

Clay likes Bud. No one told him he had to. No one even suggested that he should. He just likes Bud. He likes Bud for Bud.

Bud has a friend.


Susan Senator said...

Oh, God, how wonderful! My son, PDA (Pretty Darned Autistic) did not have his first real playdate until he was fifteen. The other boy was PDA, too, but liked to hug, so that's what caught my son's attention -- the hugging! So, I brought him over to the boy's house and they hugged and watched Peter Pan.

Brett said...


Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Bud and to you! I am a special education teacher working with elementary school students on the autism spectrum. I have enjoyed reading your entries about life with Bud since June, and I really respect and appreciate your humor and honesty as you share your triumphs and trials. I am currently creating an informational packet about Autism Spectrum Disorders geared toward regular education teachers for a graduate course I am taking, and wanted to ask your permission to include a link to your site under the "Resources" section. I feel your journal would offer a crucial parent perspective to regular education teachers that I am unable to convey. I appreciate your openness, and I look forward to reading more about Bud's journey.

Amanda said...

how exciting!

i have really been praying that bud would find a special friend this year. :) i am thrilled to know that he has!

Anonymous said...

YEAH!!!!!! I can't even begin to tell u how THRILLED I am! I love it! Tons of hugs and kisses to Bud and Mom XOXOXOX

Anonymous said...

yippeeee!!! double yipeee!! i LOVE that story! i am sending out huge high fives to you both (and clay!!) from way over here. here's hoping i can post a similar story sometimes this year...

Susan said...

Congrats to y'all.

FYI, Tom Robinson is having the Macca on for what, I expect, will be a great interview. You can start tuning in after lunch (Central Time) to .

You can also listen to on-demand "reruns" over the next week at that same site.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I shed a tear on that one!

MOM-NOS said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and your support! Katie, please pass the link on to anyone who might find it helpful. And Susan, thanks for the link to the interview. I'll be posting about the new album soon!

mommyguilt said...

I am in tears. My SmallBoy is on the high end of the autistic spectrum with mild Asperger's. He just turned 9 this past weekend. Although I suspected Asperger's for a while, we finally had him dx in June and just began behavioral therapy this past Friday.

To hear your story about Bud & Clay made me think about SmallBoy and his two friends. For the longest time he seemed like a loner and wouldn't make friends, but always wanted to be involved. He never knew how to interact and, therefore, never developed any friendships.

Well, this year he is having his three BEST FRIENDS (granted, they are his only friends) over for his very first sleepover party.

I saw your link on DotMoms, and the -NOS caught my attention. I'm glad I clicked. Come on over and visit at my site too. I talk about life as a Mom and all of the things involved with being a working mom, but my main focus is on SmallBoy and Asperger's. Stop on by. I'd love to have your feedback on some of the articles.