Monday, March 4, 2019

When your child has the glee gene

Max and I have just pulled into a parking spot when he starts squealing happily and pointing to something out the window. I'm not sure what he's seeing. We've arrived at a local high school to see a production of Annie and he's already in a pretty good mood, but something is bringing out the bliss.

He says something, a word I don't understand. He keeps pointing. And then, I realize. The word is "California" and what he's pointing to is this:

Max has spotted a license plate from the state where he'd like to move. He sits in the car giggling and I start laughing, too. We had a similar moment the other day when we were driving and the song It Never Rains in California came on the radio. Again, he was ecstatic.  

Max just doesn't like stuff. He loooooooves stuff. His passions run deep—for firefighters, fire trucks, the number 31 (his favorite fire truck number), the color red, mac 'n cheese, his favorite local restaurant, school (yep, he loooves school), camp, convertibles, Home Depot and, yes, California. On the downside, he can talk about the stuff he adores nonstop, so much so that he tends to remind us every 15 minutes that he is going to be moving to California. But on the literal upside, his ebullience is contagious.

All my children are happy. They bring me unique joy, same as any parent. Last night, I watched Sabrina and Ben do a dance and my heart got an infusion of happiness. Max just happens to have the gift of extra-expressive joy. Everyone around him knows when he is excited about something, because he does not hold back. 

Some might consider such unfettered exuberance in a teen child-like. But how much happier would we all be if we could regularly appreciate the small things? Max is lucky to have the glee gene.

On occasion, people buy into the cliché. "Is he happy all the time?" they'll ask. Well, no. Max is human. He has the full gamut of emotions, including teen 'tude. Sometimes, his bursts of happiness help break the ice when people feel uncomfortable about his disabilities. The extreme joy will continue serve him well. Max lives in a world which still hasn't caught on that children and teens with disabilities are people first. He needs every edge he can get. 

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Thanks for sharing!

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