Tuesday, September 5, 2017

You're never too old to....

"It's for kids," Dave said. That was his response when I asked whether he'd bought a bird-feeding stick for Max. We were inside the aviary of our local zoo, along with 500 parakeets. Visitors can buy feed sticks; Dave had only gotten one for Ben. 

"But Max will want to do this too!" I told Dave. "Right, Max?" Max nodded eagerly. Dave went back to the entrance and got him the feed stick, and we proceeded to walk around and give the birds some lunch. Sabrina was at a party, missing out on all the feathered fun. 

Sometimes, Dave and I are both guilty of thinking of Max is "too old" for certain things—going on kid rides, pushing around his old stroller, wearing his firefighter hat, sitting in the driver's seat and pretending to steer our minivan as it's parked in the driveway. I wish we didn't feel these twinges, but we do. They're irrelevant to Max's well-being.

As Max has taught us from early on in his life, he is on nobody's timeline but his own. That includes his development, along with the things that make him happy. Perhaps he will always find joy in them. Shouldn't that be all that matters? Well, yes...but then there's the part of us concerned about Max's progress and place in this world. And Max's contentment and our anxieties about his future don't always peacefully coexist. 

I have juvenile pleasures, to be sure. A big bowl of Froot Loops with ice-cold whole milk? Yes, please. Popping bubble wrap: bring it! Riding on a ferris wheel, swinging on a swing, drawing my name on a steam-heated mirror, peeling Elmer's Glue off my fingers, hiding under the covers, eating p.b. from the jar: good times. Arron Crascall, not exactly the epitome of sophisticated humor, makes me laugh-cry. What right do I have to question whether Max is too old to enjoy anything?

"OK, I take it back," Dave said as he watched how excited Max was to feed the birds. I loved seeing Max hold his hand up, not a simple move for him. 

Ben was having a blast, too. He and Max had a little competition going about who could attract more birds. Then I caught Ben about to nibble on the bird stick. Time to go see the bears!

I mean, really, who's the one stuck developmentally—Max or me and Dave?! One of these days, we'll stop questioning and accept the truth: what makes you happy makes you happy, period. 


  1. And a powerful truth that truth is.

    "If it makes you happy"...

    1. Thank you Carol.

      I've been soaking in and swotting up on happiness; wellbeing; authenticity; integrity...

  2. Ellen….
    I recently purchased myself a pretty, red, sparkly Fidget Spinner {at age thirty-three} because I could not stop playing with my teenage cousin’s when he brought his over!! I decided that because I have busy {often destructive} hands and Attention Deficit Disorder, I ‘qualify’ for owning a Fidget Spinner!! Best. Five. Bucks. Spent. Ever. My Fidget Spinner also symbolizes something profound and meaningful for me…. This has been a hard year where I have grown up…. A lot. So purchasing something that was designed for kids—not adults—means that I haven’t grown up completely!! I can still be like Peter Pan….
    --Mary Lou {Formerly known as ‘Raelyn’}

    1. Fidget spinners were designed for adults.

      I consider them as part of the office and worthy of tax deductions, Mary Lou.

      [And we self-employed authors can claim a lot of those].

      My own fidget spinner lives in the car and it is red too.

      Yeah - destructive hands.

      And what a hard and growing year it has been and will continue to be.

      A lot of fidget spinners are sold to or by organisations who are in pay.

    2. Adelaide....
      'Fidget spinners were designed for adults.' Really?! I did not know that!! Huh.... ;-}
      You are officially the very first person to call me by my new alias, 'Mary Lou'!! Well.... Except for Bob Dylan!! Ha!! {Read 'Blue Eyes'!!} ;-D
      ‘My own fidget spinner lives in the car and it is red too.’ Really?! My Fidget Spinner lives in whatever jeans pocket that I am wearing at the moment!! Although.... I play with it when I'm hip swaying/dancing/cutting loose to Bruce Springsteen!! I have dropped my Fidget Spinner because of sweaty hands probably ten thousand times in one week…. ;)
      ‘Yeah - destructive hands.’ I always have had them…. Busy, destructive hands…. I inherited that ‘tick’ from my Mom!! ;-D
      'What a hard and growing year it has been and will continue to be.' Thanks, dear Friend!! I love you!! But.... You have absolutely no idea how 'hard and growing' 2017 has been for me!! I am, after all, entitled to a little privacy!! ;)
      --Mary Lou

    3. We are all entitled to privacy and security. It is a human right.

      I don't wear jeans a lot at the moment though I have seen some good ones.

      Sweaty hands! Ten thousand times!

      And, yes, did your Mum help you understand your destructive hands? Some mums don't. That is when we need help from outside the family.

      I was thinking along the lines of similar office equipment.

    4. Adelaide….
      ‘We are all entitled to privacy and security. It is a human right.’ Agreed!! I hope I was not too harsh with that comment on my privacy!! ;)
      ‘And, yes, did your Mum help you understand your destructive hands? Some mums don't. That is when we need help from outside the family.’ My busy hands are only mildly destructive…. Here is an example…. Yesterday, I held twain napkins in my hands. First…. I twisted them into an uneven ‘bow tie’. Next…. I poked an enormous hole into them. Then…. I finally ripped them apart…. Therefore I have ‘destructive’ hands!! Yes…. Mom did help me understand my destructive hands!! She trained me…. In such matters as how to NOT deliberately break my siblings’ toy when I was a child, for example…. Which, I would never do now!! ;-D
      Well, I need to go…. I am trying—in vain—to write a new fictional story!! Wish me luck, dear Friend!! ;)
      --Mary Lou

  3. The look of joy on Max's face is priceless!!! I can tell he had the best time!! Maybe he's got the right attitude - do what makes you happy and that's all that matters!! I also used to love to peel dried glue off my fingers!! I guess we really are sisters!!!

  4. I would want a stick for the birdies too. I'm 34. And I still like pushing strollers and checking out the cockpits of new to me vehicles. I find joy where I can, as should we all.

  5. Love Max's face in the last photo! Pure joy!


  6. I just took my 11 year old to the Mystic Aquarium where they have the same bird-feeding activity. We both got sticks and LOVED it. We came back the next day and bought sticks again. It never even occurred to me that either of us might be too old. life is too short to outgrow the fun stuff. Glad you guys had fun!! Btw, if you go back to the birds, wear black clothes. For some reason, it really attracts them and they are much more likely to land on you.


Thanks for sharing!

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