Joe Worgan column: Birthday sweets on the bus to school are a rare treat for Tom

Guardian columnist Jo Worgan
Guardian columnist Jo Worgan
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This week I thought I would share with you a blog I posted last week. It is about Tom and how celebrating birthdays is a different experience for him.

This morning when Tom got into the minibus I was handed a paper packet of ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ sweets by his lovely escort Mandy.

I was told that another boy on the bus was celebrating his birthday today and that his mum had bought all the boys on the bus sweets to celebrate.

This really touched meand I got a lump in my throat by this very kind gesture.

You see, Tom does not receive party invites or talk about friends at school, although he has been naming the boys in his class and namely that they drink each other’s juice and are told to ‘get down’.

I would so love to be a fly on the wall in the classroom.

Seriously though although I pretend that this does not bother me, it does; I am human after all.

I understand that friendship for Tom and forming friendships has a totally different meaning and aspect to that of day Stephen, and I also know that he is happy, it is I who gets upset, not him, but this does still bother me.

Stephen gets numerous party invites all year round; he has received two this week and we organised a party at a local soft play centre for him to celebrate his birthday. We cannot do this for Tom. His last birthday was spent at the farm, and although we did have a fantastically happy day, still at the back of my mind was, I so wish we could have had a birthday party for him.

But then again, who would we have invited? He was just so happy at the farm with his brother.

Maybe as he gets older things will change but I have a nagging feeling that they will not. All of these feelings were sparked by the simple and kind act of giving sweets. Many people would say that this is no big deal, but for me and Tom it is huge.

He has been included in this little boy’s life and has been allowed to celebrate his birthday; it was a very kind gesture by one mother of an autistic child to another, simply put, thank you.