His Interests Stay the Same


As we age, our interests change.

They evolve. They grow with us.
But what if they don’t? What if they stay the same year after year?
In the real world, they call it age appropriate. It means teenagers shouldn’t be watching Barney or adults shouldn’t be believing in Santa.
Someone once told me to turn off the cartoons and put on the National Geographic channel. I still laugh about that. They thought parents like me should be forcing interests.
My son is 12. He’s amazing. And he loves Peppa, Barney, Thomas and Dora. They are his friends. In my mind I imagine he speaks with them. I imagine they keep him company in his magical world. Maybe even take away some of the loneliness that comes with being misunderstood.
He loves the alphabet, silly songs, funny sounds, shapes and really bright colors. And rectangles. And lights.
He loves them so much that sometimes I imagine they fill him up. That if you looked inside of him, pure joy would come pouring out masked as bright colored letters and sounds.
You try and not smile when he dances like Barney or slides like a penguin. It’s impossible.

It’s joy.

These are not age appropriate things. Not by the world’s standards. It should be Legos and BeyBlades by now with a little Minecraft mixed in. Like his younger brother loves.
Only it’s not.

But matters really? I think about that especially around Christmas. Family asks for his list. They want to know his favorites. What he would love to open.

Well, it’s the same every year. Trains. DVDs. Paper. Photos of our family. Peppa and Dora.
It’s shopping in the toddler aisle. It’s ignoring those age appropriate suggestions. It’s the same gifts year after year. Repeats added to his pile. It’s that familiar sting knowing that parts of your little boy aren’t growing up.
But it’s also pure, unfiltered joy. Happiness. Smiles. Giggles. Gasps. Twirls. It’s knowing he is filled with joy.
A 12 year old boy running around the house to show his presents off to his favorite people. And squealing. And so much clapping.
In our world, age is just a number. A suggestion. The number of candles on a birthday cake. We don’t take it to seriously. Not anymore.
All that matters is the joy of a little boy with his treasures.
Try and remember that moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas.

Happiness is all that matters.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook.

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Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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