The other night there was the usual tuck in routine. The reminders and partial hugs. There were lucky kisses from Johnna and caressing Sammy’s nose. But as I walked away f3om the rooms Sammy called out to me. I went back and she says “people notice me this year.” Her eyes were excited and asked what ahe meant. This 10 year old girl having such huge desire to have friends and fit in looked at me with such joy and pride to tell me…
“People I don’t know their names say hi Sammy. They know my name even if I don’t know them. People notice me now!”
It was amazing. I have not seen her so excited with exception of recognizing she has been friends with her bestie for 2 years and her friend that moved to New York came back to AZ. Those 2 wonderful friends are great but go to different schools. This joy now was in her every day routine. When I asked her why people might be noticing her this year she told me…
“I have more friends this year. I have 2 friends! And they help me and talk to me and I’m not alone at lunch with tag t recess. I have 2 very good school friends”
She typically will attach to someone who is nice to her and then in 2 weeks that person stops spending time with her or interest. They might say hi but then ignore her. Each one would be a new best friend and each one would be a heartbreak. Year after year with only one exception that we actually met outside of school. And with each time she’s come home and finally remember the name the next week would be sadness and fear.
As you can imagine the first time she talked about the one friend over 3 weeks ago I was mentally preparing for the separation. And 2 weeks into it Sammy’s drawing recess buddy was replaced by tag. But the new friend still sat with her at lunch and talked about roblox. At week 3 tag was the new obsession and it was always with another friend. Some times her drawing buddy joined them too. Now at week 4 my Sammy has made a huge leap.
Sammy feels noticed! She feels recognized for being herself. She feels confident at school and on the bus and on the playground. For the first time I am hearing stories of her conversations at school and the fun they have all 3 together. She even recognized that they will all go to the same middle school. She was able to tell me some background to her drawing buddy too and she wants to give them our phone numbers to play outside of the school setting.
Today my Sammy seems like a tween and I couldn’t be happier. With the moodiness and meltdowns and other challenges she may face day to day this big emotion and change shows that peers make a difference and social needs are a necessity. She knows we love and care For her with all our hearts but that connection she has made is bigger than anything else right now.
May it continue and fluctuate this year and the future to show growth and maturity that we some times wonder if she can reach. And as she feels new emotions, makes more friends and meets struggles perhaps she will have more confidence to recognize that she is still noticed and loved! Of the joy of such passion for friendships!