When no one knocks on the door.
"Can Aaron come out and play?"
Often, and with joy!
But the knocks rarely come for David. I take that back, occasionally they do come. Usually preceded first by seeing if Aaron can play. If he can't, or he's busy, they sometimes ask for David. Sometimes. But he's rarely a first thought.
And this shatters my heart in a million pieces.
I want to say I get it. I want to say I somewhat understand. But another part of me wants to say it shouldn't be that way. He's just a child, and he wants to play and be included as well.
That can be the heartbreaking part of children with special needs.
David is quarky, he's loud, he doesn't understand personal space, he has a hearty laugh, he may laugh at inappropriate times, he may add to the conversation, but not in the way one would expect.
He'll believe you if you joke with him and say you're taking over the world. He's deathly afraid of bugs so he'll get scared if you tease him about one being on him. And he'll take whatever you say to heart, either good or bad.
That can be a lot to deal with, as a child. So in that sense, I see why many children just shy away. I try to help out when I can, to ease everyone into a playing situation, but I can't always be around, and honestly, I know I can't always step in and "rescue" him or the situation. It's not real life sadly. It's not the way the world will work when he gets out in it.
But it can and does still break me. It moves me to tears many times. I think that sometimes David doesn't really notice. He just busies himself playing inside with his medical books and items. Reading about science, looking at maps. Usually if he does wander outside to find his brother, he'll end up playing but usually it is short lived and he comes back in tears, not realizing some of those qualities that can be endearing to a mother's heart can be annoying or frustrating to the average person.
More often than not, he'll venture outside, generally after everyone else goes inside. That way he can play and ride his bike alone.
Now, granted he does prefer to play alone mostly. He always has. I just wish on those occasions he did play with others, it could be a more positive experience all around. And I know as he grows and learns more coping skills he will be able to face that social awkwardness that often accompanies those on the spectrum.
But in the meantime, it can be tough.
I've even quit having "all out birthday parties" because the turn out for him is not always good. I remember one year, sending out tons of invites, like 30+. I think I had 2 people show up. Now I understand people have plans, and birthday parties can be frankly, boring. But year after year it can sad. Watching people come to his brother's parties, but not his.
So we've opted for fun family things. The good news is, he is fine with that too! And we end up having a great time.
What I do love as a parent is that I HAVE connected with some other wonderful parents who have special needs children as well. Those are the people I can really bond with. The people who "get" it. And that has helped tremendously, because they truly understand.
So while other children may not knock on the door, David still has a wonderful support system from his family and from those who are walking very similar journeys. And for that, I am truly thankful!