Max, by nature, enjoys pointing out the negative in things. This used to bother me terribly, and I used to give him such a hard time about it. And then one day, I decided to stop nagging him. Mostly because it felt like the majority of our interactions were negative, and that is not how it's supposed to be. And, because each time he made a comment, I made a big deal about it, I think he just started saying things out of habit. Breaking that cycle, has changed the general tenor in our family. I think we all get along better and laugh more easily. Now, his negativity, or realism, (depending on one's point of view) is something that we joke about all the time, and most importantly he can laugh at himself about it. It's who he is. Sure, sometimes it gets in his way, but we all have personality traits that do that. He's smart. He's funny. And he is kind when it counts.
On our Mother's Day excursion to Central Park, I snapped this photo on my phone. Sam was excitedly watching a leech squirm around on a rock, and Max stood over him telling him all the reasons it was probably not a leech. I love the way his body language captures his attitude, and Sam's captures his as well. Namely, that he liked this little creature anyway, whatever it may be.
I asked Max if it bothered him if I scrapped this photo, and we talked about why I thought it is a significant snapshot. He was not bothered in the least. After all, he was simply being realistic. Who ever heard of leeches in New York City?
Fast forward to Memorial Day, when Max was away for part of the weekend. However, my nephew, who is Max's age was with us, and we spent some time outside walking around. Different teenager, same attitude. It was quite funny, really. So, maybe it's not all personality. Perhaps it's the age, or perhaps it's the role of being a big brother. (My nephew is also the oldest in his family.)
I have had this blog post sitting here for a while, but I worried that it was a bit negative. In reading it over, it doesn't feel that way to me. And since starting this post, I also made this layout, also about Memorial Day Weekend, and it leaves things on an even more positive note.