As Long as He’s Happy


“As long as he’s happy, that’s all that matters,” people like to tell me about Max. A man said it to me at the fair we were at yesterday.

And Max was happy, as he often is. There were fire trucks there and a chance to use an actual fire hose.


There were train rides and car rides, a mini roller coaster he liked to just watch.


There was a talking robot named Max who said, “Hi, Fireman Max” in his robo-voice, and I think Max may have accidentally touched his robo-privates, but I’m not sure.


There were animals to feed. (Hot tip: Donkeys vastly prefer the grass you can rip up outside the tent, free, over the cup o’ feed you pay for.)


There were games to play and yellow, pink and blue (blue!) lemonade and ice-cream. Heck, most kids at the fair seemed happy. Max was no different.

People only mean well when they say all that matters is that Max is happy. I know that. And yet, it gives me pause and a twinge of sadness. Because it implies that Max may not be capable of much of anything beyond bliss. Oh, but he is, and those who are close to him know it. And I hope the future holds a lot more than happiness for Max, as I’ve said here before: a relationship, a job he loves, experiencing all that life has to offer.

Yesterday, after the guy manning the ride said, “As long as he’s happy, that’s all that matters!” I nodded, as I usually do. I kept thinking about what he’d said as I watched Max stand in front of a band that was playing on a stage, grinning. A few minutes later, he said he was thirsty, and I helped him drink blue lemonade and he said, “Ahhh.”

And I thought, standing there in the heat as the boppy music played and kids danced: Max is happy. And while it’s not all that matters to me, it’s what’s important for him.

I often do that, as his mom — I project my wishes and dreams onto him. And probably that will never stop, but it would do my heart good to be glad for his happiness alone and not consider it something that needs to be topped. Max will be so, so lucky if he always has that happiness, whatever else the future holds for him.

Just another step forward in my development as a parent.

This post originally appeared on Love That Max.
Read more from Ellen Seidman:

• Let It Go, Like You’ve Never Heard It Sung
• A Bill of Rights for Parents of Kids With Special Needs 

Celebrate happiness. Like us on Facebook.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Epilepsy, You Picked the Wrong Dad

A long time ago, I made a promise to Livy that I would always be there for her. I have kept that promise. Now it is time to take it one step further. It is not enough to just be there for her, something must be done. Lemonade for Livy was inspired by Livy and [...]

Captivating Photo Series Shows What Autism Looks Like Around the World

In the last two years, Debbie Rasiel has traveled through six countries to photograph families affected by autism. She’s met children across the spectrum — some don’t talk; some have physical, maybe even violent, outbursts. She’s met their parents and siblings, too — with a translator, she’s spoken to many of them. She’s watched and [...]

Woman Sheds Her Clothes and Insecurities to Show What’s Truly Underneath

Jillian Mercado doesn’t mind when she gets attention. Especially when it’s for her style. “I’m here, I’m present,” the model and editor says in the video below. “This is me, deal with it.” Mercado, who was born with muscular dystrophy, shakes her head at the notion that someone with a disability cannot be fashionable. She [...]

I’m Just an Ordinary Mom in Extraordinary Circumstances

There has been a few videos in the past few months about my daughter, Pip, Happy Soul Project and my little family that I honestly can’t watch without shedding a few. Awhile back this tear-jerker from Station 14 Kingston came out, and then, well, there possibly will never be anything in my life again like the Indie88 Billboard reveal video: I adore [...]