I feel it right now.
My Mama's Boy, at just age 10, has been diagnosed with ADHD.
There has always been something different about him. A lot of it is super good.
- He would give his brothers (especially his older brother The Cool One) the shirt off of his back. This often means that if someone is hungry and all of the food is gone and Mama's Boy has food left, he will give the food off of his plate. Even if HE is hungry also.
- He feels others pains and misery very personally. I listened to Mama's Boy tell the story of his teacher's apartment flooding from the ceiling in her closet because her neighbor flooded his bathroom and how said flood destroyed her favorite Ugg boots. We bought her Ugg boots that year for Christmas as a Random Act of Kindness (also, I was a teacher and remember my paychecks).
- Despite a speech impediment that would crush many a soul, he cares very little about how he pronounces over "ovah" and for many years (but no longer) rabbit "wabitt."
- He is a very, very, extremely happy kid.
- He needs to hear instructions five, six, seven times.
- He takes very little seriously.
- He is distracted by ALL. OF. THE. THINGS.
- He forgets everything. His books at school. His completed homework at home. What instructions he was just given by anyone.
- He cannot sit still.
- He has a hard time concentrating on a single task.
- He is the king of blurting things out. And then you ask him not to blurt. And he does again. Because of the hearing things five, six or seven times.
A couple of years ago, people (agin with the THEY) said, "He is just maturing slowly for his age. He will outgrow it. As school gets more difficult and he gets older, you'll forget all about this phase." Doubtful, I thought. This felt so excessive.
And this past year. The hardest year yet, as I struggle to be the best working single mom I can be to four children-- all of them in school. Getting FOUR children ready for school. Getting FOUR mouths fed in the morning. Getting FOUR book bags together, socks and shoes on, sets of teeth brushed. I depend on my older boys to take care of themselves and where possible, assist with The Littles.
But everyday it felt like ONE older boy and THREE of The Littles.
I didn't have triplets. And a ten year old sized body acting like a five year old is stressful and overwhelming and just a darn lot to handle.
I went to the school the day I got the diagnosis. That is how desperate I am for help. For direction, for more assistance in some of the things I have experienced and deal with in his struggles to make good choices. And I don't mean he does bad things. But he struggles to know what focus and productivity and quality decision making looks and feels like. And the school expects me to solve this but I don't see him in almost 50% of the experiences (those at school).
The school told me oh yes, this is so helpful. We will start to see if there is anything we need to do differently. That was before Christmas. But nothing has changed. And in the last months I've gotten a minimum of three emails about missing homework, misplaced homework, and speeding through a test just to be able to be done with it because he was distracted.
I lost it. I cried in bed. I couldn't get up and out of it. What am I doing wrong? What have I done wrong?
When I got up, I confronted him. Asked him what was wrong with him? How many times would I need to ask him to do his homework? Why does he lie to me about finishing homework?
I just asked question after question after question that made no sense to ask. He is just a child. This is a struggle he endures worse than me, as it is his struggle.
I was a horrible mother in that moment. He was off to school and then I got back in bed and cried longer because I felt I was failing him. Had failed him. Failed. I cried because his lack of being better felt like my inability to be better and his struggle was a huge sign of my weakness.
I spoke with a friend and he insisted that I loved him. That I was a mama bear and I would get up and fight yet again for him as I had in the past for The Cool One. That I wasn't one to give up ever before and I wouldn't do it now. And this past weekend, I've spent time briefly tearing up with a bestie at a huge birthday party for the Mac and she hugged me so hard that I remembered I am lovable. And I spoke with a colleague who has asked for my mentoring and listened so eagerly that I remember that I am talented. And I spoke with a friend about my Paleo lifestyle and what it does for inflammation in the body and depression and I remembered I am knowledgeable. I worked on a friend's technology problem after they were given some somewhat wrong information and I resolved said problem and I remembered I am determined. Today, I took off in my car to Trader Joe's and filled up my car with gas and I realized it was too beautiful outside to continue with errands and chores, so I took my children to the park- actually, three of us rollerbladed and one rode his bike and we just played at the park and I remembered I am fun.
Sometimes, we need to connect to those who will help us remember. Yes, sometimes I am brought to my knees by the events of my life. At the end of the day I am still a superhero, and like many superheroes, I can't help but be human.