Thursday, July 22, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Consider this a dispatch from the mother of your sparkling childhood self to the solid man I'm certain you'll become.
You came to me on a wave of bright blue winter afternoon, your right hand tucked beside your head. Your gray-blue eyes were the eyes of ancient knowing.
I felt nearer to God when you lived inside me than almost any other time and my many conversations with Him helped me understand that you were something special.
His promise that you would need a strong body to fulfill your mission here on earth has seen me faithfully through the physical challenges I've helped you face.
His assurance of the strength of your spirit is what sees me through right now.
Thirty years from now we will both heave a sigh of relief. I know that thirty years from now, I will marvel and be amazed by you.
In March your father and I walked with you into Dr. Mumford's office, yellow evaluation papers jittering in my hands. I knew the diagnosis. I'd been reading about it for months.
Google probably logged my IP address, ready to present a thousand pages about ADHD the moment I opened a browser. I gutted the library's shelves, devouring any information that could help me with you. I read the typical how-to-manage-and-medicate books. I read the medication-is-evil books. I read the diet-is-the-answer books.
I read The Edison Gene and The Indigo Children.
It was healing to know that others could see a child like you and value your (HUGE) existence in this world.
I joked that probably every member of our family could be diagnosed with some level or form of ADHD. In ways it was a badge of pride.
I didn't notice the slow creeping, the way the joking and the singing and the pride no longer made up for the tears and the yelling and the sideways glances. It took me far too long to realize how your heart was hurting, how my heart was hurting.
I love you fiercely my darling boy, but there were days I had to dig into the dark of my body to find the place where I liked you.
So we walked back out of Dr. Mumford's office with a prescription for Adderall XR, a business card for a behavioral therapist and (ick) a label.
The label gave me fuel for negotiations with your teacher.
The label gave me instant inner vindication.
Good heavens, I love you child. I offer that up as the excuse for my paralysis. I have been so afraid to do the wrong thing for you that I've kept us both hanging tight to the end of this tug-of-war rope and done nothing else.
The crying has reached a crescendo. Within seconds of any injury -- physical or emotional, real or imagined -- you cry like someone has amputated your arm with no anesthesia.
The stubborn refusal to listen or obey haunts our days. I can't say I blame you. I can see that it is a survival mechanism to protect you from the exasperation and sour words hurled at you far too often. You want so badly to be good. You are genuinely surprised when you get in trouble. You probably get tired of trying.
Your impulsiveness is at heart-racing, police-calling fever pitch. You slipped off to a neighbor's house yesterday without asking first. You don't usually play inside his house, so we didn't even think to knock on their door. For two hours we searched all of your usual play places, scoured our house, fretted and called for you.
Finally, I put in a call to 911. A very kind officer came to our house and commenced a thorough search of our house. (Typical practice before proceeding further. I know. This is not the first time we've had to call police to help us find you.) Five minutes after he arrived, you came skipping up the stairs, a carefree whistle of happiness on your lips, completely clueless as to why your mother was haggard, police were at our home and half the neighborhood was out searching for you.
I'd like to change your diet to help you manage this ADHD superpower of yours. I'd like to be a brilliant mother and structure our days and your life to bring out everything that's best in you, to compel you toward success and joy.
Sadly, though, I just can't keep it together enough to do all of those things.
For right now, I'm going to take a deep breath and do the next best thing.
For your safety and self-esteem, for my sanity, it's time to have a go at the medication, I think.
Then I'm calling the therapist your doctor recommended, because it's obvious that I can't do this on my own.
You may not understand that now, but maybe when you read this decades from now you will.
And maybe, when you stare into the endless eyes of your own newborn son, you'll have some idea of how I love you.
Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for being patient while we figure this out.