Following, is a post I made to the “Happy Birthday Colin” Facebook page that was set up by a mother in Michigan after her son said he didn’t want a birthday party this year, because he has no friends. I think you’ll find, he has more friends than he ever expected.
If you are sitting near your mom when you read this, please take a moment and go over and give her a hug from me for being pretty much the most awesome mom on the planet. This is going to be one of the best birthdays you are ever going to have, and I am sure it will be one of the most memorable days of your life.
You are going to be able to come back to this page every day for years and read all the amazing messages from people around the world and see them being the best versions of themselves just to make sure they can bring a smile to your face.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s pretty awesome that there are so many caring people in the world, because we can all use a smile when we’re feeling down or lonely, and I’ll let you in a little secret Colin, I know what it’s like to need a smile sometimes.
When I was growing up, I didn’t have very many friends because everyone said that I was different, that I didn’t fit in and that I didn’t belong. I tried as hard as I could to be normal and just like the rest of the kids in my class, but no matter how I tried I couldn’t stop being me.
I know what it’s like to be teased, to have parents say you can’t come over and play, to not be invited to birthday parties, and I especially know what it’s like to have a party where no one shows up. Yup, that’s right Colin, when I was 11 I had a party and invited everyone I could think of and no one showed up … just because I was a bit different.
I didn’t try to have another birthday party until I was 16, because by then some pretty great things had happened to me as I started to realize that being “different” isn’t a bad thing, it just makes you that much more special to the people who love you, and the people who will become your friends.
And trust me Colin, you are going to have some pretty great friends.
It may be hard to understand right now why it’s taking so long for those friends to show up, but if you promise not to tell anyone I’ll let you in on a secret that only us special people know. Ready?
You already have more friends than you know. They may not be calling your house and asking you to come hang out yet, or walking to school with you in the morning just now, but they’re out there Colin, and they are on their way. You just have to give them a little more time to get ready, because being friends with someone who is special is a really big deal.
Being friends with someone who is special means having to grow a big heart that has all the room inside of it to let you in. It means having to learn how to use their voice to ask for kindness and understanding in the world. It means having to practice keeping their promises and standing by their word when they give it. But most of all it means taking the time for them to understand that everybody is different, and everybody is special.
Right now, the friends you are going to have are out there learning what they need to know, and practicing everything they need to be ready to be your friend. They know you’re a strong person, and they know you can wait just a little bit longer until they get there, because when they do, you are going to be able to have the kind of birthday party you’ve always dreamed of.
The only thing you need to do until then, is to just keep being yourself, to hug your mom every day for being the great mom that she is, and to keep an eye out for those friends who are coming, because they’re just as excited about meeting you, as you are about meeting them.
Happy Birthday Colin.