How do you say goodbye?
Most of us had to deal with this in childhood: You find an amazing friend, a best friend. One you played with all the time. Someone who understood you, who liked you, who always wanted to hang out with you. Nothing could ever come between you...
At least, until one of you moved away.
I still remember how upset I got when a girl who lived on my street moved to Ohio when I was six-years-old. I cried for days. It was awful!
Now I have to figure out how to help my child with Asperger's say goodbye.
The first little friend he made at church was a huge milestone for us. Sean is usually not a fan of church because of the flashing lights, singing, loud noises, etc in the services they have for children. He doesn't like kids he doesn't know touching him or his dog. He still has a lot of trouble communicating with other kids, answering their questions about Sohphia, or why he has her. For the past year we at least had our favorite teacher, Miss Jodi, in there to protect him. Miss Jodi had two boys on the spectrum herself, and connected immediately with Sean. She even ended up getting service dogs for her boys from the same place we got Sophia! But then over the summer, Miss Jodi moved to Texas, and Sean didn't want to go to church anymore.
We had recently convinced Sean to give church another try, and he met R. They were amazing together from the beginning. It was a real friend to hang out with! Sean and R. played together and went through the services together. When Sean didn't know how to answer another child's question about Sophia or anything else, R. helped him out. We got to know his parents and started playdates. It was just too good to be true. And really, it was.
R. and his family are moving in less than three weeks.And not just to the next town. More like Pennsylvania to South Carolina. Not exactly within driving distance to visit a lot.
We have talked to Sean about the move and he understands everything that's going to happen. He knows R. won't be around to play with anymore. He is already sad, and it will likely get worse the closer we come to the time R. goes for good. He already feels lke he'll never find another friend as good as R. Most of us feel that way when we lose someone we care about. However, I think part of Sean really believes that.
I worry that he won't want to go to church anymore. That he won't try to make friends anymore. I pray that doesn't happen, but I really wonder how he's going to react when it seems like every time he gets comfortable in a certain place, they leave. Heck I'm not on the spectrum and I'd be gun-shy too!
So my goal over the reamining weeks is to let Sean see R. as much as possible, and to figure out a way how to use this friendship as a foundation to make more friendships.
That, and making sure R.'s family has a Skype account so if it gets really bad, they can still see each other!