Tuesday, May 3, 2016
The day he donated 15 fire trucks and shared the love
One thing I've struggled with in my years of raising Max is not letting him think the world revolves around him—and understanding what it means to give back. This came up recently with the fire trucks that were the table centerpieces at his bar mitzvah, which were generiously given to us by Tonka.
Months ago, as Max gleefully checked out the boxes of trucks we'd received, I suggested that we donate them to Children's Specialized Hospital, where he's gone for therapies and orthopedist visits since he was a baby. I'd checked in with their donations department, and they were game to take the lot of them.
"No!" said Max. "Mine!"
My heart sank. Obviously, Max has a major attachment to all things fire truck, but he sure did not need 18 additional ones and more importantly, didn't he want to make kids happy?
"Max, you already have a lot of fire trucks," I pointed out. "There are children at the hospital who would love to play with the fire trucks. Let's give the trucks to them after your bar mitzvah!"
"No!" said Max.
Max is by nature a pretty caring and loving person, but as someone who is often the center of attention because of his needs, he's mostly been the "as you would have them do unto you" part of the "Do unto others" command. Now that Max has matured in so many ways, though, he needs to to focus more on helping others. Max's disabilities don't exempt him from the basic human requirement of being willing, ready and able to lend a hand. Even when it comes to toy fire trucks.
As the months passed, I kept talking with Max about giving the trucks to the children at the hospital. Finally, Max agreed. The day after his bar mitzvah, he wanted to know when we would be going to the hospital to deliver the giant box sitting by our back door filled with trucks and plastic firefighter hats.
We drove over one day during Max's spring break, and the donations coordinator met us at the entrance. Max introduced himself ("Hi, I'm Fireman Max!"). He opened the box to show her the wonders that lay inside. He peered curiously into the closet where donations are kept. I showed him the big therapy room where he used to get PT and OT when he was a tot, and he asked if the kids would be playing with the trucks in there. I said probably.
He left, seeming pretty content.
"Max, you should feel good because kids at the hospital are going to have so much fun playing with the trucks!" I told him.
He said "Yeah!" And then he wanted to know if he could visit the trucks, a reasonable enough request.
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:38 AM