As little boys my older two were so different. We lived in a neighborhood where there were a lot of little kids. This was awesome. They had playmates right within reach. I loved it.
My oldest boy was the calm, reasonable, compliant one and my second one was difficult. He was the one who argued. He was oppositional and sometimes not super fun to be around.
I knew when he was little something was different about him and by 3rd grade it was confirmed. He had ADHD.
Not a death sentence; a learning disability.
Like I said, we lived in this smallish neighborhood where our kids were all essentially the same age. At this point in my mothering career I began to recognize the nuances of insecurity in my fellow mommies. It’s no surprise that when so much of ourselves is invested into our parenting, our self worth gets shaky.
Of all of the women, I was the only one who worked outside the home. I had another focus besides my children. Something I truly enjoyed that filled another part of my tank and kept me whole.
And probably distracted.
If you’re familiar with ADHD you’ll know that sometimes the afflicted child can be a pain in the ass. This makes them, periodically, not a great playmate.
It was hard not to take it personally when all the other mothers would get together and go somewhere and we weren’t invited. But I also understood that if I found C hard to tolerate as my own child, I was sure that he was doubly hard for those who weren’t umbilically attached to him.
This is when I learned that just like your pets, no one loves your children as much as you do….
This was a tough time for me. Thank God, I had a job that kept me from pouring all of my marbles in one bucket, because that particular bucket had a hole in it.
What I saw in the other mothers was that, for a few, every single bit of their own identity was completely wrapped up in their children. This meant if little Johnny or Sally wasn’t showing signs of genius intelligence in preschool or a star athlete, they may as well just thrown themselves off a cliff.
Side note: I was told once by a therapist to put a red circular sticker on all the things I can’t control……. Human beings are a biggy.
Maybe it was out of default that I adopted this attitude……..I loved my boys with all my might because they were mine and for no other reason. No contingencies. If I hung my heart on hoping they’d make me look good by their accomplishments and not my own I was gonna be in big trouble.
If I let my self esteem be completely tethered to the fact that C had learning issues then I certainly wasn’t going to be much help to him. It wasn’t about me. It was about him and what he needed to be successful.
I can’t tell you how many people when posed with the possibility that their child might have a problem, turned a blind eye because they couldn’t admit Johnny/Sally wasn’t perfect.
Just like boob jobs I can spot a kid with ADHD a mile away. Yes it’s a talent.
I didn’t however, offer up that information. I was just never surprised when a fellow parent called to commiserate…
When C was diagnosed I could hear the whispers and it was hard. I had to rely on what I knew to be true. His life has a purpose all it’s own.
He’s very smart, funny, highly intuitive and those qualities will reveal themselves in due time.
Truth is truth.
He knows who he is better than anyone else and I thank God every day for giving me such a unique human being to love.
I pray for his success in life. I hope that he will be able to find the thing that floats his boat, thereby (I just said thereby, who am I?) creating his own happiness.
Side note: Just recently an aquaintance’s son was diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication. I was told by our mutual friend that said aquaintance didn’t want me to know.
Are we still playing this game?
Get a grip.
And some self esteem.
It’s not about you.