During what would be my grandfather's last trip to visit us in Virginia, we had some Big News to celebrate. We had just had our 20-week prenatal ultrasound and found out that our baby was healthy and growing steadily. We also found out that our baby was a boy.
"That's wonderful news," beamed my grandfather, himself the father of five boys. "But tell me, what's his name?"
"Maxwell," I said, decidedly. We knew for sure. We had always known. "But we'll probably call him Max."
"Max Harris," my grandfather said, tracing the name across an imaginary billboard in front of him, "I see that name in lights! Destined for greatness, that Max!"
My grandfather didn't get a chance to get to know Max. They met on the several occasions that we went to visit family in New Jersey after Max was born, but Grandpop passed away just after Max turned three. Even we didn't know Max then. Not really.
But somehow, Grandpop knew Max even before he was born: That Max? Destined for greatness, indeed. He's changing the world, you know. Maybe just his own little corner of it, maybe the whole damn thing, but he's changing this world for the better.
And, in case you're wondering, he's not changing the world with his wardrobe. He's doing with his heart. His heart is so, so big. It is wide open, full of light, laughter, and love. And he's not shy about sharing it with everyone he meets. "He's like sunshine," his preschool teacher's aide once said about him. "He comes in and lights up the room!"
He's all heart, that Max. He's smart, too. I know, I know, I'm his mom...but anyone would agree. He's super wicked book smart, which is great, but his emotional intelligence is off the charts. This kid experiences and can express All The Feels. All of them. Every single one. All the live long day. Don't ask him how he's doing or how his day was unless you have an hour or five to sit and chat.
His self-awareness of intricately nuanced shades of emotions astounds me. He's Inside Out, in Real Life. And he can read other people like he's hanging out with the Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger in their minds. As an introvert who mostly keeps the Outside, In, I'm a bit envious of his ability to self-express. You can't teach that kind of awareness and I'm so thankful that he possesses it.
But it's not all Deep Thoughts with Max. He can be an easy, breezy, breath of fresh air. He is creative and playful...
and always, always, dancing to the beat of the song in his head.
You might not know this about Max, but he's a bit of a risk-taker.
|Seriously. This dog was enormous. An enormous baby, but still. Huge.|
He rides down the hill in front of our house at full speed. He's our resident Taste Tester...he'll try anything and loves just about everything. He likes fast roller coasters and high heights and riding in the car with the windows down. [What? That's not a big deal in your house?]
So, yeah: He can be brave when he needs to be...
...but mostly, he's a lover.
He's a snuggler, a hand-holder...
But that's just our Max and we love him for it.
When they get to know him beyond his sparkly, bright exterior, they get to know the sparkly, bright warmth of his heart. They get to know the funny, whip-smart, imaginative kid I know...and then they look me in the eye: "You're such a lucky mom." And I know that I am.
Close your eyes and make a wish. Make it big. Make it grand.
Make it come true, my Love. May all of your dreams always come true. And that name? I wouldn't be surprised if we do, someday, see it in lights. That Max. I just love that kid.