Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Everyone has their own kind of fun, and it took me years to accept that

Friday afternoon, we went apple picking. I'd called ahead to find out what time the fields would be the least populated and booked a time slot. The other thing I did to prepare: I accepted that Max wasn't going to do it.

Family outings have always been somewhat of a challenge, both when it was just Max and Sabrina and even more so with Ben. It's not easy finding one thing that everyone will enjoy; on weekends, Dave and I often go our separate ways with the kids. Max has never loved apple picking, but I thought it would be good for him to get some fresh air and a change of setting, too.

I just wasn't sure how it will all work out, but when we got there and a staffer showed us a map of where there were still a good amount of apples to picked I noticed a gazebo. Boom! Max could chill there with me or Dave, and then the rest of us would go pick apples.

When Max was a little guy, I struggled with activities and outings. I desperately wanted him to be part of the fun. I wanted us all to do typical family outings because nothing felt typical and why couldn't Max get into apple picking or going to the children's museum or whatever? Hadn't the neurologist told us to expose him to as much as possible to open up his mind? 

We tried and tried and tried. Over the years, Max didn't just grow into some things, he grew to love them, like going to the movies and sometimes the theater. Some museums, too, especially if there were fire engines involved. But apple picking: not so much. "It's borin!" Max said when I asked him if he'd want to come. It's very possible that it's also not fun because it involves reaching up and grasping, two movements that don't come so easily to him. 

As a parent whose development has come a long way, I now know that it is absolutely no reflection on Max or on our family to be a family that conquers and divides when it comes to activities. Things are no less fun for anyone—in fact, they're more so when everyone is doing just what they want even if it's a different sort of fun than many other families have. 

And so it went. We all walked down the dirt path to the mostly empty fields and Max and Dave (also not the biggest fan of apple picking) headed toward the gazebo, where they hung out to review Max's fantasy plans for moving to L.A. Sabrina, Ben and I cruised up and down the rows of apples, and as it turned out we had to walk pretty far to find trees that still had some. We also stopped for a bazillion photo opps, which Max would not have much appreciated, either. 

Ben was giddy about picking actual apples of actual trees, and fascinated by the mushy ones on the ground. Sabrina was excited to be somewhere that wasn't her room. I enjoyed a rare few minutes of peace and calm and no worries about germs.

A half hour later, we returned to the gazebo to show off our bounty. Dave and Max headed back to the car, and Sabrina and Ben played hide-and-go-seek in another patch of apple trees. 

We met up in the parking lot. Max has a thing for apple cider, and he and Dave picked up a gallon of it. "It's very so good!" said Max, one of his favorite phrases. 

And our day was very so good, for each one of us.


  1. It’s great that you are able to find activities for the entire family to enjoy - even if it’s to varying degrees by each individual. Time out together, especially during these times, are so precious and valuable. Take good care and stay well!

  2. You know, I think with the age of your kids you are probably more typical at this point than you think. Obviously Max's cerebral palsy is a factor on the physical side and to some extent his interests, but how common is the ideal anyway? I wonder. In a given family you would get the one kid that just doesn't like being outdoors, and will complain the whole time about the bugs or the walking or whatever. Or you have one teen that really likes the theatre, and another that would find it to be torture, but would love to go to a ball game... Or they'll have plans with a friend, or be working at the time you want to go... I think there is wisdom in what you are saying for families in general! There are the things you do together, but it's also good to recognize people are different and enjoy what they like! "Raise the kids you have, not the ones you wanted."


Thanks for sharing!

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