Ace and Jay have never gone to the same school. Mostly because they had different needs and the same school was never able to provide each kid what he needed.
In our area, there are 20 elementary schools that feed into 10 middle schools. At the elementary school that Ace attended, the kids split fairly evenly between 2 of the middle schools based on where the kid lives. At Jays elementary school though, the kids pretty much all end up at 1 middle school. Jay will not go to that middle school. He will instead take the bus with Ace and for the first time ever, next year, they will walk the same hallways and eat at the same cafeteria.
I say all that to say, when Ace began middle school last year, he knew a bunch of the other students already, but the one boy that he became the best friends with had come from the school that Jay currently goes to, so he hadn’t known anyone there prior to last September.
A couple of weeks ago Ace came home telling me that he and Nick wanted to hang out on the weekend so could I please speak with Nicks parents and arrange it. Sure, no problem.
As the plans were coming together, Jay asked if he could hang out with them also. He too knew Nick even though Nick was 2 grades ahead of him. When Nick was at Jays elementary school they had both been in the same before and after care group. They were friends of sorts. Ace said he was ok with it. Since the hang out was happening at Nicks house I made sure to clear the extra guest with Nicks parents. We were a go.
At 11 am, we pulled up to Nicks driveway, made sure everyone was good, agreed on a 6pm return drop off and left.
All afternoon my phone was quiet. That meant things were going well. Right?
Just after 6, our doorbell rang and 2 happy boys waved their goodbyes to Nick and his parents and came bounding inside.
Later, I texted a thank you to the parents for having my 2 over and the reply said, “No problem! They are wonderfully well-mannered boys and they are welcome at our house any time!”
The !’s and the “welcome any time” means the parents weren’t just being nice. It means the boys really had all had a great time and my 2 really had been well behaved. If the parents were just being polite the response would have said something like “You’re welcome … glad they had a good time.” Right? I think so.
I am so pleased that Ace has a good friend who seems to be a good kid from a delightful family. I am so pleased that Jay had a good time with them and there were no attitude problems or meltdowns (I hadn’t told the parents about Jays autism). I am so pleased that next year, Jay will know at least two students at his school – even though he will probably only see them in the hallways or the cafeteria. Hopefully he will find his own Ace, just as Nick had.