Max is one month old. I cry a lot—in the shower, in the car, in bed in the middle of the night as Max sleeps beside me. I am surprised I still have any tears left. One night, Dave makes up a song: "Max makes big doooodies!" It is a ridiculous song, completely tuneless, with just that one refrain. But Dave tapes himself singing it and every time he plays it for me, I crack up. It is the first I have laughed in a long time.
Max is three months old. I have just blown a raspberry at him. "Heh, heh, heh," he says. He isn't smiling, so I'm not sure what is going on. I do it again. "Heh, heh, heh," says Max, and this time I see a little smile. My baby has just chortled. He may be showing signs of delays, and the spasticity in his limbs is undeniable, but he has hit the laughter milestone. And to me, that is major.
Max is in his car seat, perched on a table in a restaurant. He is a year old and Dave and I have just taken him to a physical therapist. We spend most of our spare time shuttling Max to therapists and doctor appointments. We are frantic about his future. There is a ceiling fan above the table; it catches Max's eye. He giggles...and giggles and giggles and giggles as he stares at the whirling fan. Dave and I start laughing, too, as do people at nearby tables. Just any couple with any cute, happy baby.
Max is cruising on our street in his new Pony walker. He's got wheels, man, and he is fast. He zooms up and down the road, enjoying the freedom of movement and being outdoors. He is laughing, and I am laughing, too, blissful to see my two-year-old using his legs like that. The therapists say he will be walking within the year. I can't imagine the day will come. But it will.
Max, Sabrina and I are playing hide-and-go-seek. I walk into living room. Max is sitting smack in the middle of the couch, with a blanket over his head. I say, "Hmmm, where is Max?" He giggles. "Is Max under the couch? Nooooo!" Giggle. "Is Max inside the TV? Nooooo!" Giggle. "Is Max on the ceiling?" SQUEAL! I run over and pull off the blanket, and we are both laughing hard, and I hug him tight.
Max and I are in a race car at Disney World, in Tomorrowland. We are flying around the track; I am pressing the gas pedal for him and helping him steer. In typical New York driver style, I slam on the brakes for no good reason at all. Max bursts out laughing. I stop and go and stop and go, and he thinks that is a laugh riot. Cars pass us by—but we are having all the fun.
Max's bus is pulling up to our house. Usually I am not around when he arrives home from school but I am in between work projects. I walk out to the street as the driver throws open the door. Max is standing there, laughing and stomping his legs from happiness. "AHMMY! "AHMMY!" he says, gleefully, pointing at me and looking at the bus driver. I run over, step into the bus and scoop him into my arms. And we are laughing. Just any cute, happy boy and his ahmmy.