The good news is Jeremy’s at a friend’s house. He went directly there from school and won’t be home until bedtime. Sadly that’s the end of the good news.
The reason Jeremy’s there is because his friend P is moving eight hours away this month; Jeremy’s hoping to get him set up on Skype so they can keep in contact. So it’s great for today but will stink in two more weeks. Jeremy doesn’t have any other friends.
Then there’s Jeremy’s birthday party, which was supposed to happen this Saturday. He’s been planning it since shortly after Christmas. They were going go-karting then coming back here to swim and have pizza and cake. The operative word there is ‘were’. Jeremy initially planned on only having P here then decided that one kid wasn’t enough for a party. This brought M, a casual friend from class, onto the list. I suggested inviting one of the kids from his youth group, the one he sometimes meets on the bus, but he refused. He felt two kids were enough.
This would be fine except P’s brother is having his birthday party on the same day so P can’t go. Jeremy says there’s no point in having a birthday party without P and I can’t exactly force him to have a party. I did try, once again, to have him invite the kid from youth group but he refused and is refusing to go to youth group entirely.
Two weeks ago he headed off to the group. He barely talked to me on the phone en-route because he’d met up with the kid on the bus and was busy chatting. I was thrilled. Then he got home, soggy with pool water and scowling. They’d gone for a swim with another group, one ironically enough from the complex we used to live. There he’d run into his old best friend, a kid he’d hung out with since Junior Kindergarten, who’s been camping with us a couple of times. He did his best to ignore Jeremy entirely, which is something that didn’t surprise me because he’s been trying to ignore Jeremy for several years now. Then Jeremy told me all the kids in his group (other than the kid from the bus) are ignoring him as well. I don’t go there so have no idea what’s going on.
Jeremy assured me he’d be fine socially without this group; he’ll just find an online group with a forum and make friends there. There are so many ways this is not an answer. He needs real friends.
As I’ve mentioned before, Jeremy’s autistic. his social skills are not the best and he tends to drive a conversation right into the ground, refusing to leave it. But he does try. Shortly before the last group, he took apart a broken TV he found out back and retrieved the speakers from it. Somehow he managed to connect the speakers to a volume dial, a battery pack, and a USB connection, then he plugged his MP3 player into it. The thing is a tangled mess of wires but it works. Apparently the kids declared it to be smelly and gross then refused to go near it, which was a huge disappointment to him.
I sent a letter to the youth group leader to see if anything can be salvaged there. Otherwise I’m at a loss. We’re looking at the third summer in a row where Jeremy’s done nothing but sit at home the whole time I’m at work, refusing even to go downstairs to the supervised outdoor swimming pool. Another whole summer where I’m his only friend.