I took this photo the other day as Amelia and her younger companion ‘E’ left another session of their social skills group for kids with ASD. They skipped ahead and gripped hands as we made our way to our cars and the remains of the day.
Behind them, E’s Mum and I wrenched our phones hastily from respective pockets to try and capture the moment in time, freeze it in space and hold it fast in our memories.
‘Did you get it? I think I did, I think I got a good one’. You bet I did.
I hadn’t realised that our little ones might think of each other as ‘friends’; it seems like such a foreign concept to apply to children who often find the ins and outs of socialising as remote and mysterious as the moon.
But there are lovely hints of attachment occurring between them; small seedlings of care and thought peeping up from below ground, searching for light and air.
Like when we arrived at the session, I saw E’s Mum holding a Peppa Pig toy in her hand and I said, ‘Oh, is that E’s toy? How cute’.
‘Yes’, she replied, ‘He brought especially it to show Amelia’. Her words and his sweet gesture made me smile, inside and out.
And though Amelia did not pay due homage to Peppa, chosen with only her in mind, she was genuinely excited to see E and content to linger over the fading moments of the afternoon carefully holding his hand.
Walking behind them in happy silence, I laced my own fingers inside my husband’s, our connection an echo of the intertwined children up ahead.
As usual my mind wandered to the movies, the scene reminiscent of Rick and Louis at the end of Casablanca. I found myself thinking, ‘If those two can begin a beautiful friendship, then why not Amelia and E?’
Why ever not?