I have this friend. She has autism. So do I. Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for a lot of social mishaps? Let me shatter that stereotype for you.
This girl made me a Christmas card… pictures and all… she is Jewish. But she knows Christmas is important to me. That… is called empathy.
She is always considerate… she’s careful not to talk in great detail about things that are hard for me. If she does, she apologizes. I can count on one hand the number of people that get that.
We don’t always understand every little thing about each other, obviously, but you know what? She never judges me. She never even hints that I’m being a baby or making a big deal out of nothing or that my feelings are unjustified. She accepts me. We just give each other boat loads of grace for our quirks.
We talk about pretty much everything… maybe not things that typical 20-somethings talk about, but who really cares about that? We talk a lot about people’s worth and gifts and importance in this world, regardless of their appearance or their obvious disability. About how differences are a beautiful thing, something to celebrate.
We celebrate when one of us gets a good opportunity, and when the other doesn’t, we remind each other of all the awesome things in us. We help each other find opportunities, too. It is never a competition, and I love that. She is my cheerleader, and I try to be hers.
They say “we” are emotionally distant. Last night, in the midst of talking about her upcoming surgery and then my possibility of a pancreas transplant (which is looking like a very real possibility), I mentioned that I was pretty scared. This is what followed– one of the sweetest moments I’ve had with a friend:
Her: I will console you. Or try to!
Me: I know you will!
Her: The best I can.
Me: You do a good job.
Her: Thanks, so do you!
She often ends our conversations by telling me what a good friend I am and how much she appreciates me. That reminds me to tell others how much I appreciate them. Kindness is cool like that; it’s easy to pay it forward. Chloe is the source of a lot of kindness.
I can’t wait until next month when I’m planning to take the bus out to see her for her birthday… 5 hours away. Because she’ll be 21 and I don’t want to miss her beautiful excitement about her day. I want to witness it and share in it.
Because isn’t that what friends do?