That’s my friend Carrie‘s acronym, NEHBM. It stands for not enough has been made, usually in reference to some little or not-so-little thing that a person in our life says or does that is worthy of appreciation, such as a teacher or aide who shares in our children’s small developmental coups, something that other people might not notice. Such as a friend’s relative who doesn’t mind when our children take off their clothes at a family barbeque. Such as the woman in the public restroom who says “I understand” when our children start screaming because someone flushed a toilet or started the air hand dryer. These are the compassionate people who get it, and NEHBM of the fact that they do.

Our family has been blessed with many people like that over the years (including all three of the ones mentioned above). We’ve also been blessed with some truly wonderful friends. Several years ago, in his quest for friendship, Nigel discovered The Goonies and picked a few boys from his Scout troop to be his group of friends, like he saw in the movie. A few times a year, they would come over to our house to hang out, and Nigel would have them sit on the couch and watch The Goonies while he recited the lines and assigned them roles to play. And they would be compassionate good sports and watch the movie with him, attempting to act out the parts as he directed. But, of course, things change. In recent years, one of the three boys opted not to come around anymore, and another one moved out of state, leaving only one to be Nigel’s remaining “Goonie” friend.

NEHBM of that one friend. A couple of weekends ago, Nigel decided that he wanted to ride his bike over to N‘s house (about a mile and a half away) to see if he wanted to hang out. I suggested that he call N first to make sure he was home before he rode all the way over there, so he did. N wasn’t home and Nigel left a message on their answering machine. He had done this before with the other two friends and not heard back either for several days or not at all. Nigel’s disappointment was always palpable. But that night, N called Nigel back. Not only did he say he was sorry he wasn’t home earlier, he invited Nigel to come over after school one day the following week. Wait – did you catch that italicized part? That sort of thing just doesn’t happen for Nigel, and he was elated. So was I. A few days later, Nigel went over to N‘s house, had a fun visit, and rode his bike home at the agreed-upon time. Like any regular teenager might do. Like autism didn’t matter that day. After a lifetime of always being different, that afternoon was such a gift – both for Nigel and for me.

N‘s mom and I have also become friends over the years, and I can’t thank her enough for being the kind of parent we all wish there were more of, and for raising the kids that we all wish there were more of. Cheryl, my friend, thank you so much for all that you are and all that you do. NEHBM.

25 thoughts on “NEHBM

  1. Kim

    NEHBM indeed. Got a little teary over here. Yay for Nigel and yay for you, to have made a friend like that. The Cheryl’s and N’s of Nigel’s world give me hope.

  2. Cheryl

    Thank you, Tanya for not only your friendship, but for your kind words as well. I feel the same way about you and your sweet family, and you continue to inspire and encourage me as a mom. I’m so glad that Nigel and N are friends, and I know it will mean a lot to N to know that Nigel hads fun hanging out with him too. Major tears over this post…

  3. Lex Savko

    That story really put a smile on my face. It’s rare to find a true-blue friend. I’m so glad Nigel has found one!

  4. Chris Hale

    This beautifully wriiten account of such warm and center felt circumstances about these boy’s friendship not only makes both boys very special, and their moms very special, this story is pure inspiration in the name of hope, compassion, and being occasionally blessed by those who “get it”.

  5. Carrie

    NEHBM of everything about this post and all the love. contained within it. There are good people in this world, one might go so far as to say jam packed, and that would not be making too much out of it!

  6. DeeAnn Lancaster

    That is wonderful! There are good kids out there happy and willing to be friends with our “special” children. (I like to think that their spirits knew each other in another life.) My son had a few of these friends in high school. The sad thing is they have grown up, married and moved on and like everyone else, too busy to keep in contact.

  7. Paulene

    I’m just catching up with your posts.
    The previous post “the movie” was amazing, and now Nigel cycling over to a friends home after school. So happy for both of you, just magical moments to share with such special friends.

  8. Johanna

    This is just what I crave: “normality”. It is amazing what a kick I can get from things being “normal”, even though I would not exchange my son and his ways for anything. I know, it is not logical and I totally welled up for all involved.

  9. Pie Maker

    Indeed NEHBM. I have begun using that phrase (borrowed from Carrie too) simply because it’s perfect. Thanks for this tale, it gave me just the uplift I need.

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  11. Brian

    Just found your blog and wanted to thank you for being so open about your family experiences. I have never really had any firsthand experience with autism and your writing has shed a lot of light on how it affects a family. You have helped me gain a much greater understanding and I just wanted to express my gratitude.

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