An Adultitis Fighter is someone who rallies against rules that don’t exist and engages in ruthless, senseless acts of silliness that undermine Adultitis and its unadventurous version of adulthood. Once a month, we shine a light upon the most remarkable among us, holding them up as a dazzling example of what we should strive for in this epic battle against a formidable enemy.
Mike Schroeder would have been your favorite cast member from Sesame Street, had they cast him. However, he was too busy to take their call, as he has been focused on living life to the fullest, enjoying the little wonders in the everyday through the eyes of his precious daughters, along with his amazing wife, Amy. Mike is one of our beloved members of the Wonder & Whimsy Society. His playful energy, passion for good living and desire to remain childlike is contagious. He can’t help but spread this enthusiasm for life with those around him. Although his journey into fatherhood has not been an easy one, his experiences have gifted him with perspective that we can all learn from. He is generous with sharing these lessons learned and we are grateful for his giving (and whimsical) heart.
In recognition of their efforts, Adultitis Fighters of the Month receive a special mini-canvas hand-painted by Jason, along with a certificate of honor, a sweet patch, and other Adultitis-Fighting tools. We asked Mike some questions about how he fights the Big A and what advice he has for others…
What are some of your favorite ways to fight Adultitis?
Getting down on the floor and playing games… you know, down at face-to-face level with the kiddos. I’m getting really good at “Break the Ice” and am considering turning Pro this winter. One thing I learned from my father is that the “real magic” happens at an altitude of about 30 inches. And playing keeps me healthy too… my daughter has a Doc McStuffins medical kit and has given me 4,716 flu shots this month. It’s only the 8th of October.
Another thing I do to slow myself down is to read and re-read the “All Creatures Great and Small” books. They were my mom’s favorites, so they are a comfort, and they still make me laugh.
Oh, and there is this Wonder & Whimsy “thingy” I do that’s kinda fun, too 😊
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your own fight against Adultitis?
That’s an easy one :)… our girls Kiana and Amaya are my greatest influencers. They are the bravest, strongest and brightest little ladies, and we adore them. Did I mention how great they are? To be honest though, I did NOT want to try being a Papa again after losing our first foster children. You don’t raise kids for that long (it was almost five years) without thinking of yourselves as a family, and I was devastated when they left. I didn’t think I had it in me to go through it again, or to love like that again. But I was wrong, and thank God for that! My daughters shine their light on everything we do, and they have been my fireflies since the moment we met.
What is something you loved doing as a child that you still do in some form today?
I can remember watching Sesame Street when I was a kid, and I am still emersed in Sesame Street as an adult. “The Street” is in our bedtime story books, music, pjs & clothes, games and on our TV. It is not unusual for me to catch myself singing “Ladybug Picnic” without even realizing I am doing it. We even sang “Rubber Ducky” during bath time tonight. My favorite character is Grover. Who is yours?
What is your strategy for dealing with people who are obviously infected with Adultitis?
My strategy includes Love, Listening, and Prayer… I figure that’s a good place to start. I’m going to quote Dr. Red Shoe (Margarita Gurri) because she expresses her ideas so magnificently, where I might just bugger it up. She said, “If we know someone in our lives life who is sad, depressed, anxious…what they really need is love. They need connection.” Well, the pandemic took away hugs, which would normally be my go-to remedy for folks who are having a hard time. Hugs are essentially expressions of love, so now I try other ways to love them. A call, a card, a text, just to kinda “stick around” and be present. And while I do that, I listen… and try to make that connection. And then I pray for them.
What advice do you have for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by Adultitis?
Hmmm… I guess I would start by showing them Jason’s “Hope in the Darkness” and “Proof of Life” paintings and ask them what they see, and see where that discussion leads us. A second voice, or a new perspective, just might offer hope. Or maybe it can help by silencing the negative narrative for a little bit… and maybe at that point they might willing to escape adulthood… for a little while.
A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Not too long after I shared my story about adopting during the pandemic, one kind soul in our Escape Adulthood League reached out to me and asked if I would mind if they shared a poem they still had memorized from when they were a kid. I accepted the offer and this is what they sent.
Not flesh of my flesh,
nor bone of my bone,
yet still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute,
you didn’t grow under my heart—but in it.
So naturally, I cried.
There are angels among us. The folks in this League continue to amaze and inspire me. THANK YOU!
Congrats to Mike Schroeder, October 2020 Adultitis Fighter of the Month. Thank you for making the world more awesome!