I could not wait for last night’s episode of Parenthood. From the previews, I knew there would be a lot of focus on Max.
And I was on the edge of my seat.
Max had planned a trip to the museum to see a dinosaur exhibit with his parents on a Saturday. The plans quickly fell apart when his mom, Kristina, and dad, Adam, chose to work instead of going to the museum. At this point, the tears began to well up in my eyes. The sudden change of plans threw Max into a tailspin. I immediately thought of how Kaitlyn reacts to sudden changes, and it is quite similar to how Max reacted.
Set in his way, Max decides to go to the museum on his own. He figures out the bus schedule and transfer spots, and heads out. His sister, who was supposed to have been watching him, finds out he is missing and calls the police. And her dad. The search is frantic, as expected, and, Max is nowhere to be found. He had gotten lost downtown, and sensory overload kicked in, and he panicked. At the same time, the police had instructed his dad to call his friends, but true to Asperger’s, Max had no friends. Heartbreaking. All this time, his mom is ignoring calls from the dad because of another issue.
When Max is finally brought home by the police, there is a sense of relief from everyone…except the sister. She proceeds to yell at him and tell him that he cares “about nobody besides himself,” forgetting for a minute that Max did not comprehend the severity of what he did. His parents are blaming themselves.
At the end of the episode, the entire family takes the trip to the museum.
The whole situation struck a nerve with me on a lot of levels. There was the change of plans and Max’s reaction, him going out on his own, the sister’s reaction, and the parent’s choice to work.
So often anymore, families have their values misaligned. Parents too often choose work over a trip to the museum, or take frustration with each other out on children. Max should not have been punished because of the selfishness of his parents. They put career over family.
I wish I could say Amber and I are always on the other end of the spectrum than Max’s parents. But we aren’t. I know there are times I choose to work extra instead of going home early; times when I choose to do my own thing instead of taking time to hang out with Kaitlyn. Proudly, however, I can say that Amber and I do make each other and Kaitlyn our #1 priority more than anything else. We spend most of our free time together and enjoy doing things as a family. Neither of us jump at the first chance to get some alone time, and often times we have to prod each other to do something “selfish.” I am proud of our family values, and know we have things to work on.