When I opened Bud's backpack after school today I pulled out an envelope addressed to him. It was an invitation to Carla's birthday party.
This is Bud's first invitation since he went to Clay's birthday party more than a year ago. Despite the fact that Clay's birthday was a smashing success, I've got some anxiety about Carla's party. I don't know Carla's parents. I don't know if they know who Bud is. They may have invited everyone in the class. They may not know about Bud's autism.
The invitation doesn't say specifically, but I imagine that this is a drop-off-your-child party. Bud is not a drop-off kind of child.
All of this ran through my head as I read the invitation and my brain jumped to the easy out: Maybe Bud won't want to go.
I broached the subject with him.
"Bud, Carla invited you to her birthday party. Do you want to go?"
"The party will be at Carla's house, with all the kids from school."
"You want to go to Carla's birthday party at Carla's house?"
Unequivocal. He's going.
I'm rehearsing the telephone conversation I need to have with Carla's mom: about Bud - that I'll need to stay with him - that I'd be happy to lend a hand with serving cake or doing crafts or whatever, and is there anything I can bring, and oh-my-goodness is he looking forward to the party.
And then we need to go shopping for a present, even though I have no idea what one buys for a neurotypical seven-year-old girl whose favorite word is underwear.
My stomach is in knots just thinking about it. But I'll make the phone call and I'll do the shopping, because Bud's going to the party.
Bud's going to the party with his friends.