Jacob has a friend. Wait, let me say that again. JACOB HAS A FRIEND!!!
This is big. Kids that Jacob interacts with on a daily basis generally play side-by-side without much interaction. We have watched him play next to but completely ignore other kids for years. I have spent so much time protecting other children from him and making sure they have an acceptable distance between them, and that doesn't lead to much bonding with the children around him.
This week a new kid joined Jacob's class. His name is Ian, a darling, happy redhead with an enormous smile. Ian was already familiar to us because he has been in school with Jacob in the past. But after two years in different schools, it was a surprise to see him on the school bus again.
This kid is as happy and outgoing as Jacob is serious and self-centered. The two boys immediately recognized each other and Ian little voice was clearly excited as he greeted me and me son as we climbed the school bus steps.
"Jacob's mom! Its Jacob's mom! Hi Jacob! Hi!" Jacob went directly to the seat next to Ian and showed him the map he created and was carrying in his pocket to school. It was a quick, simple exchange but it meant a lot to a mom who has cried for her boy to have a friend of his own.
The next day was the same, with both boys anxious to sit together on the 20 minute bus ride. Ian doesn't seem to mind or even notice that Jacob isn't really talking back to him. They just have a natural chemistry.
I was talking to his teacher about this blooming friendship, and she let me know that the two boys also sit next to each other in their classroom, and tend to walk together in the hallway. Sounds pretty mild to those of us who are used to making friends and interacting with people, but for Jacob it is new and uncharted territory.
Never invited to a birthday party or even a playdate, Jacob has missed out on these typical rights of childhood. Now I'm imagining all sorts of outings to the park and actually inviting someone to play at our house. Awesome.
I really hope this sticks. My little boy deserves a buddy of his own, one that isn't hired or bribed to play with him. I could kiss this kid. And his mom. I wonder if she is as happy as I am about this new development?
Everybody pray that it lasts, and I'll keep you posted.