Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's Been One Week Since You Looked at Me...

Happy Valentine's Day!

I've been very lucky to experience a lot of love over the past seven days.

It's been one week since we first heard those little letters that have thrown our world into upheaval.


The past week, I've been scouring the Internet, reading books, trying to absorb every little piece of information I can get my hands on. Some has been helpful, some has not. Some has been scary, some comforting. But the most helpful thing I've found is putting aside the experts' words, and finally opening up to my friends. I should have known this from the beginning; my most valuable resource, for information and support, are the people around me (after all, they're in my life for a reason!). Just talking about what is going on has been amazing - hearing related experiences from friends, empathy from other parents, reassurances from our doctor and our teachers. My  "Never Say Die!" perspective on life is firmly back in place.

But one thing that was temporarily lost in my week-long whirlwind of information-absorption (and I can't stand myself for this) has been my little angel.

Little Guy has no clue whats going on. He doesn't know what 'ADHD' is. His world hasn't changed a bit...but, I'm so afraid he can feel me looking at him differently. And (I can't stand myself for this -- even more) I think I have been. But, today, he was in a great mood. He flashed a lot of typical LG smiles.  He asked me to be his Valentine. We played Snoopy for a while. Then we played Cup of Doom (something his fantastic imagination created). All of which was quintessential HIM. And it it was like a lightening flash in my brain.  Yes, I'd been (albeit subconsciously) looking at him differently. HOW STUPID. This is MY BABY. No matter what he 'has,' no matter what he needs, no matter what changes are ahead in our adventure -- we'll always face them together.  And he will always be able to rely on his mommy, no matter what. He's always going to be the little tow-headed angel  who completed our family. I feel like the worst mother in world for losing sight of this for even for one second. But I'll do my best not to forget again.

So, happy Valentines has been an emotional rollercoaster of a week. But I think the love has pushed the fear to the backburner (for now) where it belongs. Here's wishing you the kind of love that sees you through when you need help, and fills your heart with the deepest comfort and fiercest happiness!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

But...I Don't Do Fear!

 "If there is one thing which I would banish from the earth, it is fear." 
-- Henry Ford

Yesterday, I read a blog post entitled, '10 Facts on Motherhood.' It struck me, (and other readers, judging by the comments), that while the truths she listed were entirely accurate, they also seemed counter-intuitive. Not that they didn't all apply (they absolutely do), but as an inclusive list, they seem to preclude one another. But as much as the list was accurate, the seeming contradiction is accurate, too. Wisdom and incompetence, resentfulness and joy, anger and appreciation -- yes, they are all felt deeply and simultaneously by mommies. Sometimes, all of them make an appearance in the space of only an hour.

My latest 'strengthener' (some may call them obstacles, but I've had so many of them that I refuse to characterize them that way) is a glaring example of this kind conflict in my own personality. On Thursday, my husband and I met with a team of educators from the elementary school my boys attend. We had this meeting scheduled for a while, and knew it was regarding our Little Guy's focus issues and his seeming inability to pay attention in school. I honestly wasn't that concerned about it. We had had the same meeting two years earlier for our older son. It was literally the exact same meeting -- the exact same team of our principal, the occupational therapist, the guidance counselor, the IST teacher and our first grade teacher and the exact same problems. Or so we thought.

Our previous meeting went a lot differently.

Big Guy got a sticker chart, with rewards for focusing in class each day. And the principal even said, 'Hes a first grade boy. If we're having this meeting in 5th grade, then there's a problem.' That was that, and by the next year it was fine. But, this time, the women's faces were much more serious. There was no 'he's just a little boy' dismissal. They had a different opinion. They felt we should have our Little Guy evaluated by our pediatrician for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

If you've read this blog before, you know I pride myself on my tenacity.  I live by the words perseverance, positivity and purpose. Not to toot my own horn, but I've been through a lot, health-wise. And I've come out the other side stronger, better, clearer. The arthritis, my stroke, all of it -- I've faced it as bravely as I could.  But here's where my conflict is. Now? I am scared.

Oh, how easy I find it to tell my arthritis brethren, "Just do it! Be brave! No excuses!" And here I am, shrinking and humbled by the possibility of ADHD for my boy. There are so many questions and so much information out there. How will this effect his education? Making friends? What are our treatment options? What are we going to do??  I am overwhelmed and frightened. I just want to grab my son, hide under the bed and squeeze him and not let go.

I am shaken and afraid, and we don't even have a diagnosis yet.

I have spent the last few days alternating between my stalwart self, and saying, "Bring. It. On. You don't know who you're messing with!" But in the next minute, I'm terrified for him. Am I going to choose the right path for him to succeed? Is he going to struggle throughout his life?  I don't know how I feel, but I do know I HATE being afraid. It's just not who I am.

Logically, I know two things. 1.) We don't have an official label of 'ADHD' yet, so I am definitely getting ahead of myself. And 2.) ADHD is NOT the worst thing a parent could have to deal with, and I'm learning there are positives that come from a brain that is wired a bit differently.

So for now, I'm holding tight to my logic, and trying to keep the resolute part of me at the forefront. I know that's what I need to do, and what my sweet son needs most from his mama right now.  As I look at his beautiful face and infectious smile, it's a little easier to believe that everything is going to be okay.