While I’ve got a quick five minutes I couldn’t go any further without mentioning my wonderful band of friends, the HAGS girls. We all went out for dinner last night and it was such a good night, full of good belly laughs.
HAGS stands for Happy Autism Group Support. It started with just 4 of us and has grown to about 12 or 13 regulars plus about 30 on our mailing list. Jen and I met at Irabina in early intervention days and met Clare once at a function there. I ran into Clare again at Weight Watchers of all places and did the whole “I know your face from somewhere”. We decided to have dinner with Jen and have a catch up, then Clare asked if she could bring her friend Amanda from school who also had an autistic son. Of course, the more the merrier was the consensus. I have to add that Amanda had a back up plan, she was to signal her husband Geoff somehow to get him to call with an emergency if it was too stressful! I guess it was like a blind date of sorts.
We had such a great night and we jokingly said that we should start a support group. We had all been to depressing ones where people just sat around and bitched (mind you, we do our fair share of that!) and that’s not what we wanted for our group so we wanted the emphasis to be on the word happy. We juggled the letters around and had a laugh when we realised that they could spell HAGS. (We could have been SHAGS if we had added another letter but we’ve left that title to our partners!) We said “why not!” It’s a catchy name and it shows that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Thus, HAGS was born.
At the time I was doing Pilates at Selby Community House on Mondays and they have a lovely room there, along with child care, so I said I’d talk to them there about hiring a room once a month and we’d take it from there. We put flyers out at Irabina as well as to all the schools in the district and it’s grown from there. We usually meet every 3 weeks in the school term and go out for dinner about once a month. We’ve had the HAGS and SHAGS dinner (due for another soon I think) and a night away in a city hotel with dinner at Nobu no less. We have a Christmas party and school holiday activities for the whole family. We’ve all bonded really quickly bound by the common denominator that we all have a child on the spectrum, we all get each other. And it’s got to the stage that if we go out for dinner, sometimes we don’t even talk about the fact that we’ve got autistic kids, we just love each other’s company.Â
And most importantly we always have a good laugh, what’s better than that. Once we were out for dinner and all the receptionists from our local doctors were there, I’m sure they thought we were all pissed as farts cos we just couldn’t stop laughing! And it was like that last night too, there was Amanda, Clare, Libby, Linda, Nicky, Margaret and myself .(done in alphabetical order so not to favour!) The food was lovely, the company sensational. All along with a few good fart stories to get us cackling!
So thanks girls for just being you, I love our group, it’s inspired me to do this blog and inspired me on to do better for myself and my gorgeous girl.