Two weeks ago at one of Michael’s adapted extracurricular activities, Michael met another mentor. We have been blessed with many mentors in Michael’s life, who have in turn become mine and my husband’s mentors, supporting us as parents of an Exceptional Child. But this mentor had something extra special. He himself is on the autism spectrum. He knows exactly how it feels to live life in a body and brain that work differently from the neuro typical person’s. And he made quite the impression on Michael. As with anything new, Michael was nervous at this activity. But under this young man’s guidance, he played and interacted with him as if he had known him all his life. Michael was so excited as this young man loves to sing and played some interesting pretend play games with him. I heard from my husband who witnessed the bonding first hand how incredible this young man was with Michael.
I inquired about this young man’s contact information, and a short while later he sent me a long and detailed email about himself, what he does, and how he enjoyed playing with Michael. I was touched beyond words, as not many people take the time to do this nowadays. But a mentor will always make the time. I answered him back, and hope that this young man will be a big part of Michael’s life growing up. He has already made an impression, and I know as Michael starts to question why he is different and asks for an explanation about his autism, it will be great that he knows other adults on the spectrum who can guide and answer questions I may not be able to address.
We all need mentors to guide us down the rocky road of life. Those of us lucky to have them, usually can recognize it in the way we interact with them, share things with them, and turn to them for advice. I myself have several close female friends who are my mentors in and out of my Mom support group, and am lucky to have a mentor mother too. Who is your mentor? Who is your guide in the world when you have questions or issues that need solving? If you don’t have one, don’t despair. If you join organizations, hobby groups, or even at school or work you’re bound to meet someone if you open yourself up to the possibility. Mentors provide us with grounding, clear cut rules, and support when we need it most. I don’t underestimate them. And being Exceptional Moms means we really need to have our own mentors to sort out the issues weighing us down. Then we are better equipped to tackle life on all levels. Until next time.