Let’s Talk About The Hard Stuff

I’m on Sammiches & Psych Meds today talking about something hard. ADHD.

Choosing to treat my son’s attention issues with medication is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but as with most parenting challenges, it made me a better mom and it strengthened my relationship with my child.

I wish things were different, but I also wouldn’t change a thing.

Click HERE to read the essay.

As always, thanks for your support.

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Filed under ADHD, medication, parenthood

A Special Education

Dr. V. wore a pinstripe collar shirt and a light gray tie with small brown dogs printed all over it. It matched his personality. During my son’s assessment, he laughed at his jokes and answered every one of his questions, even the silly ones.

Dr. V. spent the last 45 minutes explaining to me in depth the results of my son’s vision evaluation. Not be confused with his eyesight examination. His eyesight was fine. He didn’t need glasses. If only.

The vision evaluation unearthed some concerns. While Dr. V. described oculomotor dysfunction, loss of fixation, accommodative level and facility, exophoria, convergence insufficiency, and visual perception, my mind raced into the future.

I knew where we were headed, because we’d been there before. Vision therapy. We would spend the next six months (or more) – including the summer vacation – doing twice weekly vision therapy, and it would break my son’s heart.

“Do you have any questions?” Dr. V. asked.

How is it fair that one kid has to deal with all this crap? Do you know how many doctors, therapists, and tutors he has? He’s 10! There aren’t enough hours in the day! Will it even help? Should I just let him be? Am I ruining his childhood? Will he like reading when it’s all done? Will his handwriting be neater and his homework be less unbearable? How do I know when I’m pushing him too hard or not hard enough? Does he know how smart, kind, intuitive, brave, and imaginative he is? Will he live a happy life? Does he resent me for insisting on these interventions? Does he begrudge me for not doing more? Will it get worse or better as he ages? Is it affecting his self-esteem? Is it my fault? Why do I have to be an OT, ST, VP, SPD, ADD, IEP expert? Why can’t I just be his mom?

“Why is this so hard?” I blurted out.

Dr. V. chuckled. “No one teaches us about this stuff before we have kids,” he said. “Being a parent is a special education, isn’t it?”

Indeed.

Dr. V. looked about my dad’s age. His kids must’ve been grown. He’d been through the hard bits. He was incredibly patient and had a comforting vibe that gave me hope that, in the long run, everything would be okay.

Still, I wanted to climb across his desk and inhabit his body like a ghost. I was desperate to see my journey from his vantage point. I ached for my future self to tell my present self  that everything would be okay.

But, just as I knew I had to persevere and do the hard work to get to the other side of vision therapy, I also understood I had to persist and do the heart-filling (and heartbreaking) work of raising my boy.

Someday, I would be on the other side. Someday, I would understand the meaning of everything’s going to be okay, but it wasn’t my turn yet. I thanked Dr. V. for his time, put my son’s name on the vision therapy waiting list, and headed home.

 

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!

CLICK ON THIS ADORABLE LITTLE FROG TO READ MORE AMAZING STORIES IN THE MARCH 2017 SPECIAL NEEDS BLOG HOP…

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Filed under education, therapy

Lucky Seven

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I cleaned out the basement because we’re getting ready to remodel the space and finally put all of the kids’ endless piles of crappity-crap underground. I’m really excited about the renovation, and it’s not just because of the below-sea level relocation of said crappity-crap. It’s also because in addition to the extra family room and home office, I’m going to get a proper laundry room and storage area out of the makeover, which, let’s face it, is exactly the kind of improvement project a mom of ten plus years needs and wants.

While sorting through plastic bins filled with Christmas decorations, Halloween costumes, and birthday supplies, I stumbled upon a candle in the shape of the number seven. I bought it for Riley’s birthday party last year, but I ended up using classic, vertical candles instead. Riley’s going to be eight in a few months, which means I missed the chance to use the seven.

It gave me pause. I felt something.

It wasn’t that the seven was a big investment or that I forgot Riley’s 7th birthday (or Dylan’s a few years earlier). Hardly. Despite my pre-parenthood beliefs in small birthday celebrations (and limited screen time among other things), we’d done birthdays (and screen time among other things) big – huge! – year after year. Maybe it was that my kids’ seventh birthdays had come and gone.

I’m not nostalgic by nature. I tend to look ahead instead of back. Of course, I missed my squishy boys when they were little, but I didn’t yearn to go back in time to sleep deprivation, poop explosions, and mommy & me classes. Still, with the kids on the edge of adolescence and me on the brink of middle age, I wasn’t exactly pining for the future either.

I could’ve saved the candle for the kids’ 17th (gulp) birthdays or Gertie’s 7th birthday, Mike’s 47th birthday, my 47th birthday, our 17th wedding anniversary, or my parents’ 70th birthdays, which were mere days and weeks away, but I put it in the donation pile instead.

I didn’t want to accept the future any more than I wanted to acknowledge the past. I didn’t want to dream too big or too small. I wanted to have gratitude when the future brought me the things I hoped for and grace when it didn’t, but I wasn’t ready.

I didn’t want to plan anything beyond the snowy morning I spent in my suburban New Jersey basement in pajamas sorting through holiday paraphernalia, listening to my kids play with (and fight about) Legos, daydreaming about the domestic satisfaction of a front loading washing machine, and reflecting on a candle in the shape of the number seven.

What I felt was…lucky.

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