Saturday, March 29, 2014

The value of a true friend; how friendship helps handle social anxiety and why it is so important

Little Miss M has some serious social anxiety. She's been known to curl up in a ball and cry if presented with too many unfamiliar people and situations. We had a large event this past weekend and I was nervous about how Little Miss M would do. A big, loud room with stimuli coming from every direction - Yikes! Add in 200 or more people she doesn't know and it was a recipe for disaster. Little Miss M talked through every facet of the event with me and I could see the tension building in her little body. What would happen?

Truly, something amazing happened. Lady C, a beautiful little girl with Dravet syndrome and Little Miss M's friend of nearly eight years, took her under her wing. Little Miss M was so distracted and enthralled with what Lady C was doing and where Lady C was, that she pretty much forgot she was in a new setting. The bond between the two was evident throughout the weekend.

Both have many medical issues. Both have developmental delays. They are eight and nine and their favorite show is "Bubble Guppies" and they worship Disney Princesses. Both struggle throughout their daily life and work so hard just to get out of bed in the morning. To see the two of them with big smiles on their faces, talking to each other, holding hands, working together - it warmed my heart. They went in the photo booth more then five times together, they played a game, they even snuggled for their supervised sleepover with Lady C's nurse.

Watching the two of them left me smiling and thinking about the true meaning of friendship. I've had many people walk in and out of my life. People I truly cared about who let me down or who turned out not to be the friend I thought. A true friend is there for you no matter what. They expect nothing in return except love and reciprocal friendship. A true friend loves you for who you are. They make you a better person just by being your friend. A true friend is your compliment in every way.

My little girl was diagnosed on the autism spectrum with the specific issue of social communication. Many people love Little Miss M, many people care about her - but it wasn't until I saw the reciprocal relationship she and Lady C shared that my heart filled with hope. Here was a relationship that went above expectations. A relationship that required give and take, that meant caring as much for someone else as you do for yourself and it was really happening.

I'm so thrilled for Little Miss M that she has Lady C and that C's mom and I are really close too. Friends make the days worth enjoying. I hope that each and every person has at least one Lady C in their life. The two girls are already planning their next play time.

What have we learned? Keep it small - just the two of them. Give them activities they can do alone, but require both of them to work together. Make sure to give them space and tasks and just watch them smile and laugh!

Amanda values her close friends and truly hopes her girls find the same types of friendships in their lives.

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