The last two Sundays in a row I’ve been a birthday parties. There has been water and cake and lots of little boys.
Last Sunday we attended the birthday party of our neighbor’s twin sons. It was at a community pool in a nearby neighborhood (we don’t have a pool in our neighborhood). The kids played in the pool, ate hot dogs and sang happy birthday and opened presents and had cake and played some more. We went, all five of us, as a family. I had no issues or worries there, everything went great. I credit that to three things 1) I knew almost everyone there from our neighborhood 2) there were two other autism families there and 3) Jeff was there.
This Sunday was another birthday party. I was taking just the boys to one of my best friend’s homes for her son’s party. She is also Joey’s Godmother. She had rented a bounce-house/waterslide combo. I was a wreck. Even though both my kids got hurt (not badly) it wasn’t over their safety. It was me. Over my own social insecurities. I could barely string words together in a conversation, even with a couple of people I knew. Most people I didn’t. And then there were some I used to work with most of whom did NOT remember me and the few that did mostly could not remember my name. That was only awkward for me. One of my former co-workers who DID remember me and my name took pity on me as I stood next to the slide watching my kids by calling me over and telling me to come grab a chair and socialize. And she kinda, sorta forced me to. I was grateful. As the crowds began to decrease and it was mostly people I knew, things definitely improved. I was embarrassed that I had been such a worthless addition to the party for most of it, but I did have some happy moments, including a friend’s son who has never met me before coming over and preferring to snuggle with ME over every other person (including his mom, my friend) at the party. And when one of my kids got hurt (that’s not the happy part) a former co-worker I really didn’t know well scooped him up and comforted him and well, he totally had my kid handled by the time I got over there. I love people who are natural parents and love kids!
I was exhausted at the end of the party, not from the awful, oppressive heat with no breeze or the fact we stayed four hours but from interacting. And it’s pathetic because I really didn’t do much.
I did it today for my friend, her son and my boys. And I don’t regret it although it was agony for me the whole time we were there. I still need to work on my social skills, obviously. I need to stop relying on Jeff as my crutch, obviously. I need to make myself feel uncomfortable and awkward, obviously.
I’m trying to find something to redeem this post. But I can’t. So, I’m going to curl up, alone, on my couch, and watch the Giants/Cowgirls game. Alone. Ah….