It's Not Always Easy to be my Friend
Sometimes I don't call back or respond to texts. Be patient with me.
I get asked a lot how to be a good friend to a person who has a child with special needs.
Here are my 10 suggestions.
10. Let me be.
In the beginning, I needed someone to let me be sad. Or worried. Or angry. Whatever emotion I was at the time. Just let me be for a while as I step into our new world. So often people try to rush us through or gloss over our hard times. Just sit with me and don’t try and fix it. Just be there with me.
9. Never stop inviting me.
Even if you know me or my family can’t attend. Maybe you know it would be too loud or too chaotic and I will say no. Invite me please. Give me a chance to decline. Because seeing or hearing that you went without me knowing is heartbreaking.
8. Let me host.
Maybe it’s a holiday or girls’ night. Let me host. My child is so much more comfortable at home, and we can be part of the event if you just come here. Now I know that Aunt Jan ALWAYS hosts thanksgiving but if we continue to do it that way…our family won’t be there. And I get that sometimes it has to be that way. Just bend a little. It goes a long way for family’s like mine.
7. Text me and call me.
Don’t stop. Even if I don’t write or call back right away. So often I am in the thick of it and can’t answer the phone. And at the end of the day I am too exhausted to text back. Your ‘just checking in’ messages mean everything. Please don’t stop.
6. Educate yourself.
I don’t need you to be an expert in autism, but it sure means a lot when you read a blog post or my book. Because it shows me that he matters to you. That we matter.
And please don’t stop asking. I’ve had people in my life who have stopped, saying autism is too hard to hear about. That broke my heart. Because he matters. His story matters and he is my son. There is no me without him.
4. Celebrate my child’s success.
My kid is not on the typical path or reaching milestones when his peers are. But he’s doing some really amazing things. So, when I share that he put his shoes on independently for the first time at age 8, help me celebrate! I’m not sad it took so long. I’m thrilled!
3. Believe me.
When I tell you that I’m struggling, or that I need help, believe me. Maybe I can’t go somewhere because my son can’t do car rides. Please believe me.
2. Never downplay your child’s or family’s success for me.
I love you and your kids, and I am a cheerleader for your family. I always will be! But please know there are sometimes I may have to step back for a bit. Driver’s license, college, grandbabies, to name a few. I am here. Know that. But I will need some time.
1. Come sit with me.
Come be with me. Stop over. Leave a coffee on the porch. Convince me to go for a walk. There is an isolation that can happen with not being able to leave your house. And I need you to help pull me out of it.
Thank you to all the friends who I have in my life. Old. New. Thank you for loving my kids and me too.
Thank you for being here and for reading! I appreciate it so much. My dream is that no other parent ever feels as alone as I did in the beginning of my child’s diagnosis. If you feel alone, remember, you don’t have too. Find a friend. Join my supporter group. Share you story.
For more posts like this one, visit my website, www.findingcoopersvoice.com.
3 Things You Need to Know
I’m going to Charlotte, North Carolina next week for a keynote presentation and there are still FREE tickets available. It’s going to be so much fun! Plus, you can get a copy of my book, or bring your own, and have me sign it. Come say hi!
If you can’t make it to Charlotte, I have a virtual presentation coming up on Monday, April 3rd at 10 am central. I call it Finding Joy in the Secret World of Autism. It will touch on our journey from the beginning, through diagnosis, to today. Siblings, marriage, transformation, feelings, and more. I promise you will laugh and maybe cry a bit. Definitely worth it!
3. Did you know that if you switch to a paid version of this newsletter, you can get more cool stuff! Like…..the opportunity to zoom with me a bunch of times! More content too plus videos. And an autographed copy of my book!
Let’s take this to the next level! I’d love to get to know you.
Hey! Watch this!
Forever Boy is almost 1 year old. How is that even possible?! If you haven’t grabbed your copy yet, NOW is the time. It’s cheapest on amazon, or borrow it from the library, or listen to it on audible. Either way. Thank you!
This post is for everyone so if you think it will help someone out…share it!
what a great list. not that I have the nerve to share it with people (my close friends know a lot of these things anyway) and my family has shrunk
.... but so true. everything on it. the "oh? you can't get a babysitter?" (for a 22 year old male it must be another male and that is hard to find) so then I feel like a failure that my "village" has become so small.
Wish people understood all of that 😔