Magic Friendships (hashtag)
You might wonder where some of our “crazy-cool-fun” ideas come from… I can’t speak for Janie, Sue, or the rest of our Circle of Good, but I can say that I, Max’s Mom, was born with some quirky-artsy DNA and a strong desire to change the world to make it more fun and colorful. So it’s not too difficult for me to help come up with fun ideas – especially when they’re going to help grow my son Max into the man he deserves to be.
Max LOVES to travel and would spend 100% of his time going from place to place, if that was possible. I keep telling him that if Anthony Bourdain can do it – he can do it, but he might want to get over his aversion to what he would consider “weird food” or it might not be so enjoyable!
We’ve taken some stand-up wooden book characters to events with us and put them in the window at Wind-up Here Toys in Olympia. Everywhere we go, people like them and want them… Even Dr. Wendy Stone, head of the UW Autism Centers, told us she wants one at her house!
So… we had an executive board meeting and decided to release our characters into the world to see what fun they can have without us! On May 5, 2013, we took “Little Max” on a ferry ride to Vashon Island for the day. The weather was BEAUTIFUL, we visited a lighthouse, ate lunch at a local pub called the Red Bicycle, and took photos along the way. Mt. Rainier was especially amazing and spring in the Pacific Northwest is a wonderful thing!
Max took him around our yard and took photos of him in various places, the “Little Shadow Max” photo on Instagram #magicfriendships is one Max took.
Taking “Little Max” around with us was FUN. Max enjoyed it… Heck – I ENJOYED IT!!!
The progression of my son, Max, through this book project is stunning. Here’s my once very self-serving child who cared nothing about anyone else or their feelings and now suddenly there is this shift:
As we’re standing at the ferry terminal taking pictures of “Little Max,” Real Max asks, “What if someone who finds him accidentally drops him off a ledge and breaks him? Or what if they hurt him?” So, we talked about it. We talked about how that’s part of life and that things like that can happen, but that hopefully we’ll see pictures of Little Max along his journeys where people are kind to him, have fun with him, help him see the world, and fix him if he gets hurt…a lot like real life. We talked about how it’s possible that someday Little Max will get too broken or lost and people will stop submitting photos of him and that’s OK too because ultimately so much of life is random and out of our control. However, by carefully selecting the next person who has him (Janie) we’ve done our best job at ensuring his safety as best as we can.
From that conversation we slide right into how all that is also true for him, Real Max. We are teaching him how to care for himself, to be independent, to know how to get along and play by societal rules, and how to keep himself safe by learning who to trust. That’s why we are careful about the people in who’s care we leave him.
Little by little, all of these things sink in with Max and he can now understand why we’re “mean enough to MAKE him drink water and eat veggies,” why we’re “mean enough to give him a regular bedtime,” why we care about who he spends his time with, where and how he spends that time, and all of the other things we do as parents. A lot of what we parents do is more easily understood by neural-typical kids, I think it’s in our DNA to trust our parents. I don’t think it’s in Max’s DNA to trust anyone or anything, but he is learning and growing and I am feeling so much more confident that when it comes time to release the Real Max into the world, he will be safe to move about the planet. For me, that is a miracle of hard work.
In the meantime… we’re gonna kick back and see who Little Max meets, what fun things they find to do together, and how his little life unfolds!! Be on the lookout for Little Max and other Littles who will be making their way into the world….near you!!
view the album at our FaceBook or search #magicfriendships on Instagram