Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Max plays alone (and that's an amazing thing)
A lot of people would have no clue why this video is a big deal. It's just a cute little boy playing with a car and a ramp. But to me, it's miraculous.
When Max was younger, he couldn't play by himself. He was incapable of picking up toys because his hands were tight, he didn't have the attention span, and he usually wasn't interested. So I played with him—and for him—as much as I could, never feeling it was completely enjoyable because, damn, I wanted him to DO things. I wanted him to LEARN. I wanted him to PROGRESS. I wanted him to OVERCOME his delays. I wanted, I wanted, I wanted.
When I'd go to friends' homes for playdates, I'd get distracted from our conversation by the sight of their kids grasping toys, pressing buttons, picking up things big and small. How miraculous their little hands seemed to me. Sometimes, during quiet moments, I'd sit at the dining room table and stare at my own hands. I'd wiggle my fingers, point them up and down, marvel at their intricate movements and the fact that I had two hands that worked fine and I'd never once thought to appreciate them.
I hadn't realized, until I watched Max at play today, just how anxiety-ridden playtime was for me back then. Yet as I stood in the doorway, another layer of grief peeled away and I felt only relief.
The progress has come slowly over the years, but at moments like this it all adds up to something tremendous. There it is, right in front of my eyes, in a little red car swooshing down a purple plastic ramp.