I am very fortunate to have had five best friends in my life, one for each different stage of my life : primary school, high school, university, Joshua’s pre-school age and Joshua’s teenaged years and I am still in touch with all of them. I am not expecting to make any more best friends now that I am in my 50s, but I am still delighted when I make a new friend or acquaintance. This year I have made two new friends and already I am baking for both of them. I do not go out, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, trying to recruit and bribe potential new friends with baking, rather I make a contact, form a connection and then show them that I care by supplying baked goods.
Joshua does not really form friendships with his peers: He is so sociable, that he is friendly to almost everyone that he meets. In his almost 21 years, he has only really had one friendship with a peer. He had a close friendship when he was 3 years old, with a young girl who we used to meet at Mothers & Toddlers. They were so sweet together : he would light up when he saw her and he said his first spontaneous sentence to her, when we arrived at the village hall late and I had not wiped his lunch off from around his mouth. He sought her out, ran over to her and said ‘Look at my face!’. I wept for joy at such a simple gesture. The friendship was reciprocated, she used to adore him, look out for him and stroke his chubby cheeks. It was magical to watch them together and they both joined infant school together. Sadly, her family moved away from this area and although we used to visit them in their new home, it could never be the same as when he saw her everyday. Of course she is 21 now and we have not seen her since they both turned 18 and we went out for afternoon tea.
Joshua did not really make any more friends at any of his school. He was friendly to everyone and he had his favourites, who he would gravitate towards, but there was no best friend as such. As Joshua starts daycare later today, I wonder if he will form any friendships there? He tends to form attachments with staff, rather than his peers, but who knows in this new adult environment. I have some shortbread seahorses and dolphins baking in the oven now for him to take with him today. It is designed to celebrate his first day but also , at some level, I suspect I am sending him with a bribe to try to help him to make friends. He always took baking with him to respite and it always went down well. I have used it with professionals too, to thank them for their input into Joshua’s lives, so it is a useful and it tends to make people happy, if they have a sweet tooth.