No, It’s Not Always Easy
By McNall Mason, Max’s Mom
I often speak of how this project is transforming Max. That’s true. I rarely talk about how this project is transforming me… but let’s face it, how can I NOT be transformed in this process?!
If you’ve been watching this project unfold… You’ve seen the videos of Max and you might think he seems like a “regular kid” and you’ve undoubtedly noticed all the things we’re accomplishing, all the shops (big and small) that we’ve gotten books into and you may think this project is moving forward at lightning speed…
I hear from people that I inspire them and represent hope to them so I think it’s fair to let you all know that it’s not always easy.
Most days – I am happy to be a “beacon of whatever” for whoever needs me to be one… and then there are the small fraction of days… like today… where the gloomy, chilly, overcast sky matches perfectly with my mood. I suddenly turn all “doom and gloom” and want to crawl under a blanket and hide because it’s TOO HARD.
I didn’t set out on this project with Max intending to create a “brand” (as we say in marketing), I set out on this book project with Max to save him from his misery and anger over starting at a new school. The books are awesome, don’t get me wrong and obviously lots of people like them and they’re making great progress into the marketplace (as we say in marketing) BUT suddenly… EVEN though the books are available at Barnes and Noble and will soon be in Toys R Us and FAO Schwartz… and we’ve gotten them into other retailers and had a window display in Olympia, attended events, made donations to charities, and had a short documentary made about us… all in six months …today this all feels sooooo HARD and honestly – for all the Good things that have happened, there are just as many neutral or bummer things that happened that I just don’t talk about.
Ten years ago, I had Max. I’ve been a parent of an autistic kid for a decade. Trust me, I know what “hard” is. I lived it. Hard is 5 years of constant sleep deprivation while you still have to work and take care of a house and two other kids while your ex-husband rides his bike across the country for four months. Hard is learning that the quirky things your kid does and the tantrums and all that are caused by something you can not cure. Harder yet is wrapping your mind around what that means to your life… the REST OF YOUR LIFE and then having nobody to blame.
This is where I tap into the thing – the thing that helped me, help Max… it’s the grit at the bottom of my soul and when I get to the point where I think I can’t, I find that thing, that grit and it makes me do it anyway. If I spend too many hours in the downward spiral mode, I begin to get upset with myself and start telling myself to go find those bootstraps and start yanking… nobody else is going to do this for you girl… so get out there and go… you can do it.
I’m taking the rest of today off to find my bootstraps, to regroup, to align with my “inner purpose” to, as my smart friend, Janie says “be water”. I believe in these books, I have watched them transform people, not just Max. I believe in the philanthropy piece of this project, I believe in the village concept, I believe that people are good and good people want and need these books. I believe in myself, I believe in Max, I believe in the world as a loving, kind place and I am honored to walk the path I walk. Thank you for joining me!