Being a little out of step with the world, Brendan has always been subject to teasing and ridicule. Having both been through elementary school teasing ourselves, Matt and I understand that this is a part of life and that he should be able to make it through this with no long lasting scars. But it kills us.
When he was younger, we worried about his ability to make friends. Especially when the family that lives a few doors away from us stopped letting their daughter play with Brendan. They said it was because she was getting older and they wanted her to play with girls instead of boys, but we’re pretty sure its because they thought Brendan was “odd”. We were so relieved when Brendan made a couple of “best friends” in first grade. And those friendships have endured through the past couple of school years, though sadly one of the boys seems to be growing apart from him this year.
All of this leads up to one of the proudest moments I’ve ever had as a mom. Last night was “Sonic Night” for the school. Brendan really wanted to go because all of his friends were going. So we took the kids over to Sonic for dinner. Sure enough, we’d no more than pulled into the parking lot when from about three different directions we heard kids calling hello to Brendan. Already the trip was worth it. Then, just as we were ordering another little voice shouted out to Brendan. This one belonged to a little boy who was dragging his entire family over toward us. He proudly says to them all, “This is the Brendan I was telling you about” It was so cute to see him introducing our son to his family as if he were a celebrity.
We ended up sitting next to this boy and his family as we ate. Partway through dinner I overheard him ask Brendan if they could have a play date some Sunday. Brendan seemed very excited at the prospect, so I wrote down our phone number and email and told Brendan to give them to the boy so we could make arrangements. The boy’s mom was so happy to get the information. The boys had been in the after school program together. His mom told us that since Brendan stopped coming after school her son has been very sad and that he misses his friend very much. My heart just swelled with pride. I was so proud of Brendan for being such a good friend to this boy.
Then I was a little sad too. By staying home with the kids I’d taken away the opportunity for these two to develop their friendship further. That’s when the little boy’s mom told us that they live around the corner from us. Easy for Brendan to see any time.