Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The unique joy some people bring to our world

"THE TRAIN IS HERE!" Max announced. We were standing on a crowded platform last Thursday morning. Most people were fixated on their phones, but there was Max, ecstatic at the sight of the 7:27 a.m. People around us smiled.

Max has been a cheerful, happy camper since he was a tot. It's part of his personality. 

This was the first time I'd taken Max to work at the office. When he was little, I wasn't able to juggle his care and my work. I couldn't park him somewhere and have him color or snack because he couldn't do those things on his own. Then I ended up freelancing for nine years. Last year, I started a new job and the other week, Max announced that he wanted to come in with me to work. He is now able to occupy himself (iPad for the win!) and mature enough to understand that I would be working, and I said yes. We were both really excited. I like showing off my children to colleagues.  

When we got to New York, we navigated our way through Penn Station, just a little less hustling and bustling than usual because of the upcoming holiday weekend. On the subway, Max excitedly asked about each stop and struck up a conversation with a guy standing near us who said he had the day off work. "Awww," said Max, sympathetically. "I'm going to work!" At my office building, he enthusiastically greeted the security guard and coworkers. He giggled when he saw pictures of himself on my desk. He admired the view out the windows and (bonus!) the two guys washing windows. I posted a paper "Fireman Max" name plate in a quiet spot and he sat with headphones on and watched YouTube videos of fire trucks, his favorite online pastime.

Mid-morning, the most amazing thing happened: our office had a fire drill. Max listened raptly to the warden's instructions. When he asked for a few volunteers to do searches in case of emergency, I worried that Max was going to raise his hand. I doubt the guy had ever seen anyone in an office so out-of-their-head excited about a fire drill.  

Max had requested lunch at a steakhouse (he is in a major steak phase) but settled for sushi. He ate his avocado-eel rolls with relish. "It's very good!" he informed the waitress with a big grin, and she flashed him one. "Eighteen pieces!" he told me several times, impressed by how much he'd packed away. Back at work, he said hello to more people and settled in with his iPad. As we left for the day, he told someone "See you Tuesday!"  

When I returned to the office yesterday after the long weekend, people mentioned how happy, friendly and funny Max is. Yes, Max is all that. Exposing him to new experiences and people that day reminded me of one of the many things Max brings to this world: pure, unadulterated joy, the kind that's catchy. He is living proof for living uninhibitedly. 

Make no mistake: I am not saying that Max is some poster child for being a happy camper "despite" his disabilities, because that demeans disabilities. And I'm sure not claiming he is always happy, because then he wouldn't be human. He has a 3D personality, same as any of us do, and his grumpy, testy, defiant, meltdown moments. Yet Max is also a person who savors life, and doesn't hesitate to show it.

We should all be more like Max.

1 comment:

  1. How much did you have to pay someone for that fire drill??? Lol! Max must have been THRILLED! Sounds like you both had a great day! It’s great that he gets to see you in a professional environment and sees that side of you. I still have a lot of happy memories of going to work with my dad.


Thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...