At the beginning of the summer, I kept beating myself up inside thinking about how hard it would be for Max to get a summer job. He’s only 13 this summer, so it wouldn’t have been until next summer that we’d really have to worry about it. I was already thinking that those jobs that teens usually get in the food service industry are out the door, because of the drool and his communication limitations. At such a young age there really aren’t that many options for him already, but to add in his disability, well, the options are even smaller. I would stay up at night crying over this, hurting for him, and wanting for him to have every possibility he ever wanted, but knowing that his life would be different… he would have limitations that would hold him back.
But then I stopped crying. I realized how selfish I was being.
As his mom it’s my job to teach him about the things he can do, not the things he can’t do. Max isn’t worried about the summer jobs he can’t have; in fact, he’s not worried about summer jobs at all. He’s thinking about fishing, kayaking, camping, and all of the other summer things he gets to do. A full year in advance here I am worried… and I shouldn’t be.
I don’t need to worry next summer either.
Because the truth is, you can’t dwell on the things you can’t do. You have to look at what you can do, and Max has already figured that part out. Maybe it was something he learned from his dad and me or maybe it was instinct, but he has more self-preservation than I’ve ever seen in a person. He is tenacious, loving, and simple. He doesn’t worry about what he can’t do. He simply lives life knowing that he can do it if he really wants to.