I have been posting stories of abuse and literal torture on my other blog here and here. While this post goes along with the idea of protecting children and adults from that kind of abuse I decided to put it on this blog where more parents of young children would see it.
I believe the best protection for children and adults from abuse is to have relationships with people who will stay involved and aware of what is going on in the life of your adult child. As stated in those posts some have said they do not have time to establish those relationships. It does take time but adds immeasurable value.
Billy Ray’s best friends, Donna and Max, are an important part of his life. I know that if something happened to me they would be calling him, visiting him, and checking on him just as they do now. The relationship he has with them is not just for his benefit. I know that he touches their lives too. In fact, while they are on vacations, etc. they send him cards that say how much better their lives are because he is in it and gifts that have so much thought of them that I know he is always on their minds.
Donna makes the high fiber cookies that Billy Ray needs for regularity. They are the same recipe that I make (off the oatmeal box) but he will eat them better if Donna makes them.
These pictures of Billy Ray blowing out the candles on their birthday cakes show the affection they have for him.
They are always on his mind too. He has a picture of Donna and himself on the refrigerator. He looks at it several times a day and talks about her each time (see picture below).
Recently I was having a conversation with another friend about Billy Ray’s relationship with Donna and Max. She commented that Donna and Max see Billy Ray as a person not just a “special kid” as others might. This is the kind of relationship you want for your child.
Thinking back over the developing friendship there seem to be some key aspects that have made it work:
Donna and Max do care about Billy Ray. They are also willing to deal with a bit of discomfort at times. (For example, when they were here for dinner once and I started his bath before they left. He started removing his shower wrap in front of Donna which was something she wasn’t prepared for.)
It seemed important for Billy Ray to be understood for who he is so as I do things with him and for him, in their presence, I would explain why he needs things a certain way.
As they began to know him better, Donna felt comfortable asking questions that helped her to understand him even better.
This relationship impacts Billy Ray and provides a sort of protection; however, it also contributes a lot to community acceptance. People are always telling me that Donna talks about Billy Ray constantly. Billy Ray, as seen through his friend’s eyes, is even more accepted as a person. Others are willing to take the time to get to know him because of the stories she tells of fun things he has said or done.
While there is no time to form a lot of relationships for your child is good to have more than one. Donna and Max are closer to my age than to Billy Ray’s age. I know that they will always be there for him if they can but someone closer to his age would be a great back up.
Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan