The Joy of Friendship
Friends are those who accept you for who you are and not what you are. I am privileged to have some great friends who don’t seem to notice or care that I’m autistic and do odd things. They treat me like I am just a normal kid. I would like to tell you about them, and just how important they each are to me. Natalie, Michael, Briana, Chelsea, and Bethany are very special to me.
I met Michael at Carmel High School through the “Best Buddy” program. He is the neatest, biggest hearted, most patient teenager I’v ever met. He has been much more than just a buddy, he’s been a committed best friend. He sticks beside me even when I act difficult. I can be quite obsessive at times, but he just accepts that, and tries to move me on in a nice way. I will not get to see him next year at school, and that makes me extremely sad. I am planning to get together on the weekends and at Poormans. I know I am cool to Michael, as he is to me. He’s the head warrior, and leads me through the battles of life as a teenager. He shows me good things. I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart for his commitment to me.
I met Natalie, Poorman’s daughter, and her friend Briana at Poorman’s house. When I told them someday I wanted to talk like them, they cried. I knew then just how much they cared about me. I asked them to sign my yearbook, and they not only signed it but came to my classroom and hung out with me so I didnt have to be alone my last day there. Natalie tried so hard to get my essays in the yearbook, but at the last minute some adult stopped it. Isn’t the yearbook for kids, by kids? I guess ‘no’ in that school, because Natalie was hurt that it didnt go in, and so was I. Natalie and Briana would always stop and say ‘hi’ to me no matter who they were with. Often their other friends said ‘hi’ too. It was so cool. I will miss not seeing them at school, and being greeted by random girls I didn’t even know. I look forward to seeing them at Poorman’s and having “hang out” nights.
Bethany and Chelsea are two of the sweetest friends. Bethany wants to teach, and did a paper for her special education class about treating all kids with respect and dignity because you never know what lies ahead. Chelsea always greets me with a smile that lets me know she is happy to see me. Chelsea is a cheerleader, and always cheers me on when it comes to using my voice. All of Poorman’s girls are great and never mind sharing their mom with me. I thank them so much for that. They make me feel so welcome and almost like a part of their family.
Its their unconditional love that has given me hope of breaking out. I never really knew what having friends was all about, but when I see one of them, my heart is filled with such joy and a smile comes to my face. Sometimes I just think about them and laugh out loud. I also get very upset when I think about having to move and not getting to see them at school. Everyone says it will be ok, and I will meet new friends, but they are very special to me, and it doesn’t really feel ok.
I’m very mad at the people who refused to hear my voice at Carmel. Someday they will be sorry for the choices they made. Its too bad a young person has to suffer because of their ignorance. I will remain friends with Michael, Natalie, Briana, Chelsea and Bethany, and will be forever grateful for their unconditional love. I look forward to many more outings and spending endless hours enjoying and learning all I can about Good Friends!
Copyright John Smyth 2011