I suppose that one of my greatest fears is that Maeve won’t have a friend. It is truly what I want more than anything. I am not nearly as worried about my older daughter, Ofeibea. She is so loveable and genuinely kind. I really love that about her. I listen to her conversations during her online schooling, or playing online games with her friends, and I am so happy that even during these crazy times she is able to socialize with other kids her age.
Maeve is a really happy little girl. She is definitely not lacking social skills, she thrives on being around other children. She is constantly making us laugh with her cheeky personality that we are fortunate enough to understand. After 6.5 years of studying her, we have the ability to read her mind through facial expressions and body language. Others just don’t ‘get’ her. I am noticing more and more that the things our family gets a kick out of, may come across as annoying, bratty and often gross when it comes to Maeve. I see it in the way that she annoys her cousins or our friends’ children. They have been raised well and understand that Maeve is different, and they know to accept others for who they are, but they don’t understand her. All of her little quirks that we find so endearing, are not easy to accept if you don’t love her.
Whenever I finally feel comfortable enough to let my guard down in someone else’s home (very rare) and allow Maeve to run free and play with the other kids, all I can focus on are the shouts and protests I can hear coming from the other room: “MAEVE DON’T PLAY WITH THAT!” “MAEVE LEAVE THAT ALONE, YOU’RE WRECKING IT!” “EW MAEVE, DON’T PUT MY TOYS IN YOUR MOUTH!!”. Or much worse, I can hear them laughing at her. Without fail, this always happens. I can see their parents reprimanding them while shooting looks that say “We talked about this before they came over, be nice to Maeve”. As always, good intentions, but I just hate how misunderstood my little girl is. I understand that not everyone is as fortunate as we are to be around her all the time, witnessing everything she has to offer. I don’t want anyone to befriend her because of their obligation to be good people, but because they learn to love her like we do. I think the message we are teaching kids shouldn’t just be about inclusion because it is the right thing to do, but really take the time to get to know someone like Maeve. She can’t speak, but she is an amazing listener! Once you get past the loud screams, teeth grinding and multiple funny sounds, you will see that she just loves to be around people that take the time to get to know her.
I am guilty of trying to push friendships on Maeve with other children that have disabilities simply because I just assumed it would be a good match. Clearly I recognize my ignorance now, but I just wanted so desperately to make something work. She had developed friendships in Nursery School, and it made my heart melt. Usually this occurred with little boys who shared her interest in Hot Wheels and her adventurous (fearless) spirit. However the time always came when they would move on while maturing and growing up. Maeve is always a little behind on this. She and her sister have such a cute relationship, but I don’t want Ofeibea to be her only friend. My heart breaks when I watch Maeve wave goodbye to her sister as she leaves on playdates. She must wonder why she isn’t being included when she knows and loves these people too. Don’t get me wrong, I would never expect them to bring Maeve along, I am not even sure if I would be comfortable with it. I just can’t help but wonder what is going through her mind, and I hate to think that her heart is hurting.
Maeve is so content, is a friend something that she actually desires? I am an extremely sensitive person, my feelings are easily hurt, so am I seeking something for her based on my own insecurities? I just feel like everyone needs at least one good friend in their life.
I am not going to be here forever, and I know that I am her best friend. The thought of her feeling lonely is just one more thing keeping me up at night. Maybe I’m crazy, it could also be that Maeve is being the picky one and she just hasn’t met her equal yet. Regardless, I am going to keep trying. I hope that this is all a whole lot of worrying for nothing. I can’t imagine meeting Maeve and not loving her immediately.
I am a stay-at-home mom in my 40s, still finding it hard to believe that this is my title in life. Mom of two young girls and married to a pilot (in other words… part time single parent). I am ‘Auntie Boom’ to Willowjak, and have the tattoo to prove it! My youngest was diagnosed with autism at 2, and finally a rare genetic disorder called DDX3X at 5. I’m almost always tired, and I feel as though my goal in life is to survive. I’m sure that I am not alone on this quest.