Tricia Rhynold shared this touching invitation her son Timothy received from a total stranger.
Tricia Rhynold and Timothy (via Facebook)
Being a parent to an autistic child is difficult and frustrating, but not always for the reasons you'd think. Often, dealing with other children and their parents can be just as much of a struggle as managing their own kids' needs. Most people don't understand autism very well, and you can hardly blame them. It was only recently that scientists even began to understand it. It's actually really hard to understand.
That's why, until recently, Tricia Rhynold had to turn down every birthday party invitation her seven-year-old son Timothy received. It broke her heart, but Tricia knew it was for the best. Timothy is severly autistic and nonverbal, subject to frequent outbursts. She knew that the risk of taking him to a party was too great. She wrote on her blog, The Book of Timothy:
I wonder if the parents know what would happen if I brought Timothy? The interruptions....the meltdowns.....how I would hate to take the spotlight from the birthday child.
Although she was grateful for the invitations, she always politely declined. That is, until the day this one came in the mail:
Now that's a great mom. (via The Book of Timothy)
Here's the full text:
"Carter sat beside Timothy at school and he always talks about him. I really hope he can come. We are renting a bounce castle that we can attach a small bounce slide at the bottom. We will also have water balloons and water guns. Maybe Timothy can come earlier in the day if it would be too much with the whole class. Let me know how we can make it work."
Tricia didn't know this mom, but she was deeply moved by the letter. This stranger didn't presume to know how to deal with Timothy – she just wanted to learn. She was willing to put in the effort to "make it work." As Tricia said on her blog:
I don't know this Mom or even this child personally. I want to. Desperately.
This Mom wrote exactly what I needed to see that day and didn't even know it.
This Mom gives me hope for Timothy's future when sometimes I get stuck in the darkness of his diagnosis.
This Mom is everything I strive to be.
This Mom rocks.
This ------>(ME) Mom will be RSVPing a HELL YES for the first time ever. And I can't wait.
This is really nice to see. Too often, families with autism are forced to pay the price of everyone else's ignorance. Nobody is pretending that severely autistic people, particularly children, are easy to handle in public, but considering the prevalence of the disorder, it's something everyone will have to get used to. But when they do, it means that kids like Timothy will get to have something that wouldn't have been possible in the past: friends.