I constantly find myself wanting to write about the concept of friendship. Maybe it’s because I am the most social loner I know, and that the true meaning of friendship has never ceased to intrigue me. Maybe it’s because I marvel that I have any friends at all. I mean, with all of the responsibilities attached to being an “awe”tism mom (my newly adopted term, mostly because I am in awe of the fact that I am still alive), what could I possibly have left to offer?
The Huffington Post recently reported that friends can keep you calm, increase your sense of belonging, and improve your mood. I can’t disagree, especially when the abovementioned individuals show up with cupcakes. Preferably prepared to babysit. I too recently reported on friendships, specifically the types that moms like me need in order to keep from jumping into a canal. I mentioned needing a friend who is in my same stilettos, just a different size. The absolute model for that category is my friend Brenda. Oh to spend just a day with her.
Yep, she’s as thrilled as I am to be living in autism paradise (insert sarcasm here). And as you can imagine we’ve had a few thousand conversations on the topic, yet here’s a fun fact: thanks to her we’ve had tens of thousands of chats about, well, everything but autism. She’s so well rounded that the need to engage in any negative topics, pardon the pun, just rolls off.
Her wealth of interests makes my head spin. As a matter of fact, many have been an easy sell because her passion for all things is always described with such unabashed excitement. I am actually laughing while writing this, imagining her speech’s pace (and volume) gradually increase as she expresses her current, undying love for [fill in the blank]. Whether it be an exercise pose, perfume scent, hemline trend, or a restaurant’s potential, Brenda sees beauty in just about everything. And don’t even get me started on her attention to detail. She notices, then throws around the term chartreuse as if everyone shares the same, invisible color wheel spinning furiously in her head. No wonder she can’t focus on her life with autism for long, for she has so much else to take in. Even more amazing? She sees promise in everything and everyone. I know this because I have not only seen her alterations bills, but have witnessed the miracle of her silence.
Brenda does talk. Did I mention that Brenda talks? When we’re together, I cringe at the thought that we’ll be keeping the wait staff after-hours. On the other hand, it’s what she does not say that make her so worthy of admiration. She reserves judgment, is modest, and only offers her opinion if asked. There is an irresistible, quiet grace about my LOUD Brenda.
Don’t get me wrong, Brenda has her moments. Literally. When she is down, she’ll say so, and then quickly report (usually before the end of a sentence) that she’s recovered. Bliss is in her blood. And it’s the simplest things that elate her the most: a ripe dance floor, a Yelp perk, her sons’ tiniest accomplishments.
Brenda’s energy, resilience, and love for Ricky Martin are all equally contagious. Yes Brenda is a lot of things, yet not ONE thing defines her- certainly not autism. She is in constant forward motion, and I feel blessed to be invited on the ride. Hopefully, today, it’s towards a bar.