I had a lovely day yesterday as I had invited three school-mums and their autistic sons round for lunch. The sun obliged by shining and so I cut the grass and we moved tables and chairs into the garden , so that we could eat outside.Four guests arrived early, which caught me out slightly but the boys went straight out into the garden and found the swing, so were happy enough. The third boy arrived but was reluctant to get out of his car, as this was a new environment for him. I tried leaving his mum to it and I tried tempting him with food, but in the end, after half an hour, she managed to coax him into the house, whereupon he immediately started jumping, as he was so relieved that it was fun and he seemed to adore the garden too. So all three guests were outside, but Joshua was firmly staying in his Den, he seemed rather overwhelmed by the surprise visitation!
We had quiche, pizza and salad outside and two of the three boys tucked in at the table, the third collected his gluten free version then continued running around with it, coming back for more when he was hungry. I bribed Joshua outside with the promise of food, he sat on the rug, waved at everyone, than ran back indoors so he had a plateful to snack on, in private. He was happy enough but not feeling particularly sociable, preferring the company of his Live8 show.
There was quite a lot of grabbing food off the table, for which the mums aoplogised, but I insisted that it really did not matter as it all needed to be eaten up and I love to see a healthy appetite. I enjoyed getting to know these boys better, as I know their mums through my school coffee-mornings, but I have had imited contact with their boys. The whole point of this gathering was that nobody needed to apologise, as we all understood, so it was not like a family party or going out with friends, where their sons might be the odd-one out. One mum put it well when she said ” Don’t worry, he is not going to do anything that will offend me at all!” There was no need to sit at the table – we had one runner and one recluse!! – so I hope that the mums were able to relax and enjoy the occasion, knowing that they were amongst friends. They have found the school holidays demanding at times, 6 weeks is a long time to entertain these hyper-active boys, but hopefully yesterday was a different kind of day when I tried to make them all, mothers and sons, feel welcome and at home in our home.