The Kindest Thing A Friend Ever Said To Me

The time she baked me a cake.
My best friend is a great listener. To be friends with me this past thirty-seven years, she’d have to be. I can be a bit of a windbag. I’m owning it.
Unlike me who sometimes spits out words without tasting them first, she chooses her words carefully.
She gets why I worry about my special girl. And she knows I’ve struggled to come to terms with the realities of having a child with special needs. She understands how the life I imagined for myself is both exactly and not at all what I had expected.
As we sat in her garden, sipping wine, I told her about a family I met several years ago whose daughter then, reminds me so much of my daughter now.
My Avery was just a toddler when I met this family at an activity group for kids with a variety of special needs. The girl was about nine—the age Avery is now.


She, like Avery, didn’t have any dysmorphic features. At first glance, she appeared pretty typical. It was when she spoke that the disparity between her chronological and developmental age was apparent. She was extremely affectionate. “Ooooooh, she’s soooooo cute.” she repeated over and over every time she met Avery. She was gentle and sweet and very friendly.

I was curious about her diagnosis, but I never asked. I watched her carefully and hopefully. “She was such a happy kid,” I told my friend.

But more significantly, I observed her parents. “Every week I watched how they interacted with their daughter and their older child. They were always so genuinely happy and relaxed, having fun, and full of love.”

She listened as I told her about this family who unknowingly blazed a trail for me. And then she said, “But that’s EXACTLY what I see when I look at you and your family.”

She could see how much those words meant to me in that moment, but I wonder if she knows that on bad days—the days when I worry too much or look too far ahead—that I replay those words in my head and they make me feel more sure of myself as Avery’s mom.


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  • It’s weird – for the longest time, I didn’t want to let go of the infant phase and really yearned to do it all over again. And then suddenly it was the exact opposite – I *d1&#dn82i7;t* want to do it all over again, even though I still miss it. So, basically? Motherhood really screws with your mind sometimes.

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