Monday, August 29, 2016

One sunset I'll never forget

As we drove home Saturday evening from a day out, I caught up on email. Finally, I looked up and saw the sun was setting. It's amazing what you notice when you tear your eyes away from your iPhone. I turned around to see what Max was up to. 

He pointed at the windshield.  

"The sunset?" I asked. 

He nodded.

My heart. It was the first time Max had ever taken an interest in a sunset.

It's not that I'm so grateful that Max is appreciating nature. Sabrina thinks hikes are torture. To each their own. This is about me being grateful that Max's awareness is expanding. 

I've always noticed what Max does and doesn't pay attention to, in an ongoing effort to better understand his cognition. He never got attached to any toys as a tot, perhaps because they were generally hard for him to play with. He has never voiced preferences for what is or isn't in his room, other than paraphernalia related to his interests (fire trucks, firefighter gear and one glorious firefighter bedspread). Max could care less about the brands of food he eats or clothing labels. This, I realize, is a good thing. He is not aware when adults or kids stare at him. This, I think, is also a good thing—and should the day comes when he does notice the stares, I hope he will have the wherewithal to stand up for himself. 

Max does, however, notice when I move something around in the house, and he'll ask me about it. He observes when new buildings go up in our area and when stores close. He is very attuned to Ben's babbling, and laughs delightedly when a new string of sounds comes out of his mouth. If we're at the supermarket, he is all over what I'm buying and will readily point out if I grab the frozen food box labeled "vegetable lasagna" (horrors—veggies!) instead of "meat lasagna." 

Max notices when I'm wearing a new outfit or shoes, or when Dave gets a haircut. "Nice dress!" he told me when I recently wore one for an event. This is pretty much the opposite of what I get from Sabrina, who has been known to say "You wore that today?" when I've walked in the door from work.

The other day, I was tidying up Max's room and I tossed a name tag from a camp program he'd been in. It said "Fireman Max" and, excitingly, he'd been in the red group. 

"Hey! Not nice!" he announced, and retrieved it from the trash can.

And I was heartened that he cared. And he was right, I shouldn't have thrown it out without asking him. Because as Max keeps showing me again and again, there's no telling how he'll change and I shouldn't assume he doesn't care because he never has before. 

Watching Max become increasingly aware of his surroundings is like watching the never-ending bloom of a flower. It is wondrous to see. It thrills me; I never know what each unfolding petal will reveal. 

Back to that sunset. 

"You like it?" I asked.

"Nice," he said.

And it so was. I've witnessed a whole lot of glorious sunsets in my life, but this one—seen through the windshield of our minivan on that urban oasis known as a highway—is one I won't soon forget. 


  1. Love Max's growing awareness of the world around him! I start college classes today!

    1. Kathryn, I hope you are having a wonderful first day. College can be overwhelming first but within a few weeks, you'll be in a groove.

    2. Thank you! It went well! And my FM system for my hearing loss got figured out. First the company(Phonak) said the receiver the college had would work with my boot but it didn't and when they called, Phonak said oh its incompatible even though earlier in the summer they said it would work. So they overnighted the right reiciver. But I couldn't get it to connect to my hearing aid according to the direction booklet.6 emails, 2 trips to the Disablity Services office, and 3 phone calls to Phonak later, we discovered the directions in the manual are wrong! But I got it to work

    3. Good luck Kathryn!!!!!!!! That's good you got it to work!

  2. Awareness is as much a blessing as it is a curse.

    1. Ender-Chan....
      "Awareness is as much a blessing as it is a curse." To quote Peter Parker/Spiderman when he was talking about being a superhero.... This is my gift, my curse. You know what? I have premature short-term memory loss. This is a blessing and an incredible curse. Why? Because I can easily befriend, relate to, and "get" older, wiser-than-me people!! For we kind of share embarrassing "brain farts" in common!! That is the blessing part!! But it's also a curse. Why? Because I feel stupid, I feel frustrated, I feel "old". I would rub on a genie's shiny, golden lamp three times to wish away my premature short-term memory loss. That is the curse part!! But still.... Me and Dory the Blue Tang fish are the same, we are Kindred Spirits!! I am gradually learning to deal with both the blessings and the curses of having premature short-term memory loss.... It is not easy, though!! ;)
      "Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive", Raelyn


    2. PS. I do not--in any way, shape or form--mean to offend older people who read this Blog!! Because, seriously?! Older people are awesome and have been the dearest, best, closest friends that I have ever known personally in my entire Life!! ;-D


Thanks for sharing!

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