Saturday, March 19, 2011

We are never to old to learn... or at least to see the world through a different lens!

So it has finally happened.  Happy has a friend.  We will call him Jester.  There is a long sorted story behind how Jester and Happy got to this place.  It would stand to reason that birds of a feather flock together, and it would seem that these two have more in common than one would think. 

But let me start in the beginning: Happy has never really expressed an interest in having a friend, it would seem to me that surrounded by a pile of siblings, and a home that has a revolving door on the front and back for friends, family and neighbors to walk through has served him fine until this point. 

Out of the blue, Happy says that he has plans to go to a school function with Jester.  Well being that I am a mom that insists on planning and plotting every detail of the ten person family, I figured that I would ignore Happy's plea for this outing and eventually, he would forget about the event.  NOPE.  This was not to be the case, so when I got a phone message about the event, I again thought - I will let this ride, it will pass... NOPE.  And as a side note, Happy is very content and rarely asks to do this mildly compelled me to pick up the phone and call to investigate said friend and trip to the school  function. 

As it turns out my good buddy Happy had the facts wrong... shocked?  I am not.  But I do the good mom thing and offer to take Jester and Happy to the event.  I also offer to bring Jester home with us after school, and allow him to visit and have dinner with us prior to the event.

I am a bit puzzled about the whole situation as few things just did not add up... Jester's mom did not seem to be concerned about who I was, like am I an ax murderer,  nor did she introduce herself.  Now, I know that I am the atypical mom in some regards - I like to know all the details - the more details the better...she did not even give her name to me until the end of the conversation, when I asked her for it...

So now plans are set, and I am still scratching my head, puzzled over the fact that this child is in Happy's class, and Happy's class is filled with special needs kids, would you not think that she would even want to fill me in on Jester's needs, or if he had allergies... So I email Happy and Jester's teacher... ask some vague questions about their friendship, and if she can give me some information on what I can expect when I pick up the boys at school. 

Her email back to me simply says, " Oh boy.  I will call you if that is okay." 

Now in the meantime, my Prince says to me that this situation that I find myself in, really is my own fault.  I did not ask this woman for information about her son, so why am I upset that I don't have information about her son... well I guess that is a good point, but some parents are in denial about the special needs of their children, so I didn't ask because I didn't want to offend??? The conversation was already awkward enough, because all the conversation was one sided ( my side) and she gave one word responses... nothing additional... with many pregnant pauses...

 "Were you planning on taking Jester and Happy to the event?"  "No"  " Would you like Happy and I to meet you at the event?" "NO" "can someone come get Jester after the event? " "NO"  "Do you think Jester would like to come home after school with Happy and have dinner and then go to the show with us?" "Sure", "Can you send a note to school so I can pick up Jester?" "Yes" - I think you get the idea!

Well the appointed time rolls around on the clock and the teacher calls to give me the "skinny" on the situation.  It is a sad story of a boy who much like Happy, adopted, later in life, been through a lot with a host of special needs.  But as the story unfolds, I feel my heart being pricked towards ministering to this little boy. 

The Prince and I discuss this over lunch and the decision is made to keep the plans for the day the same and love Jester like he was one of our own....

Promptly at 2:35 Happy and Jester stroll out to the car.   Happy is extremely giddy, silly and sing songy as he calls me Mommy - O and rattles on about how I am the bestest mom in the whole world...
Now give me a minute to tell you what I was expecting to see when I picked up my lil' ol Happy and his little friend....this:  someone slight in size like Happy, big smile on his face, hard to remember upon glancing at him that he is almost 14.  (Happy could pass for your average 10 year old)

Here is what greets me... Happy, and a very tall, man-boy, with hair that he shaved himself , double the height and width of Happy. 

Jester is very sweet and friendly, he offers to sit in the back seat, and  I instruct Happy to sit with his friend... His reply  " Yes Mommy - O "

Jester is obviously very self conscious about his self induced haircut, and says : "I cut my own hair, because I wanted a military cut.  Do you think you could fix it for me ?  I reply - well you look like you got most of it, and because I don't know your family very well, it would probably not be a good idea for me to fix it for you. Well could you let me use your scissors Jester inquires?  Um no Jester, I don't think we will be using scissors today, but how about we go for some ice cream on this beautiful day?"    So in a fit of child like giggles, the boys decide that ice cream would be a great treat..."Mommy - O"

So I pull into the convenience store, and point the boys in the direction of the Good Humor case, and go to refill my own beverage cup.  Come back around see that the boys have decided that they are going to do everything the same, so they are both going to have drumsticks.  We go to the counter to pay, and I send Happy for napkins, we pile into the car, windows down, head home.  What transpired in the span of 2 miles and 6 minutes is still a mystery to me.  By the time we pulled into the drive way, Jester is asking if I can help him get a stain out of his pants.  But when he and Happy get out of the back of the car, they have ice cream on their faces, hands and all over their pants..not just one spot but smears every where...

In the house we go, all the while Jester being very concerned about not touching anything, because he doesn't want to get ice cream stains on it.... I have them wash their hands, they do but never touch their faces (why because I did not tell them too!) I give up on having Jester try to wipe off the chocolate on his tan pants and find an outfit for him to change into, and take his and Happy's clothing to the washer, 1/4 of a bottle of spray and wash later - and the washer is running!

 Note to self... next time a nice refreshing beverage might be best!

In the meantime, Happy has to do dish before going out to play with Jester.  Jester is cheerfully helping when I come down from the washing machine.  Talking up a storm about how he and Happy should do everything together and how he can make him a bracelet, about his dogs and about his hair cut.  Now it seems that one of the things that Jester is good at is telling the same story over and over again,  AND Happy is great at listening to the story and smiling and nodding.  Jester is the talker, Happy is the listener...   and I start to think aren't all great friendships like that?  One friend is always the talker and the other is always the listener!

Life lesson # 1 for the day - Ice cream is the glue that seals the friendship deal!
Life lesson #2 for the day - Good friends, balance each other out!

So the next activity they choose to do is go out and play... now Jester doesn't want to mess up his good shoes so he is trying to wear a pair of Happy's shoes... Remember the size difference... Happy is in a size 4 and Jester a 13 I note, when I glance inside his good shoes.  Fortunately for Jester, Happy has a big footed brother and we can hook him up with a pair of shoes to wear to play in!

Life lesson #3 - Friendship is blind to the obvious differences that we each have... they wanted to be so much the same that there was no way in Jester's mind that he couldn't fit Happy's shoes!

To the outdoors we go!  Now I will say at this point I am still unsure about what will happen if  I am not an ever present sight for them while they are playing (not dissimilar to those days of small children learning to play alone, I sat on the fringe and watched, encouraged and cheered for them.)

At one point Happy was running with his hands full and with an untied sneaker... I cautioned him, slow down and tie that shoe before you trip... Jester, says to him... "stop I will help you", I think he is going to take the toys out of Happy's hand, but instead he bends down and ties his shoe for him.

Life lesson #4 - A friend does things for you that are sometimes hard for you to do.

So we played basketball - one time I counted 22 shots, not one went in...

Life lesson #5 - A friend encourages you to keep trying.

We jumped on the trampoline.  We had to stop because there was a bee, but Jester swatted it away so that it would not sting Happy. And then they ran at top speed into safety.

Life lesson # 6 - Sometimes we do things for our friends that are scary.

We played more basketball, we had another snack and we played video games.
We had dinner, got dressed, we attended the event at the school, and we took Jester home. 

While it is now very clear to me that birds of a feather DO flock together...I have to say, I learned a lot from Happy and Jester regarding friendship today.  Sometimes, we just need to slow down, and look at things through a different lens... 

Really, you can't make this stuff up.  And today I am happy that I did not miss this time, or these life lessons taught to me by my special needs child and his first ever friend Jester.

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