I have a child with ADHD. I am not throwing this term around lightly. While we try to keep it in perspective, it is not always cute, funny or charming. ADHD is an incredibly frustrating disorder that impacts my child, his teacher, his classmates and his family.
I wish I could list all I didn't understand until I was in this position, but like so much of life it takes walking a mile (or a homework session) in someone else's shoes to get it. ADHD is not an excuse any more than asthma, diabetes or vision impairment. The condition is real and in the last twelve hours has caused many tears in my home.
My very bright son child spent two hours last night attempting to complete homework his siblings finished in thirty minutes. He went to bed in frustrated tears, after setting his alarm clock for 6am with promises that he could do it after a good night's rest. I woke up to the sound of him crying at midnight. He was so anxious that he wouldn't hear the alarm and wake up that he couldn't sleep. I laid in his bed with him until he fell asleep after 1am. This morning he spent another hour struggling to finish his work...not because of difficult content but because he couldn't focus...in a silent, barren room.
During the course of our three year journey with this disorder, we have seen four doctors. He has been on and off medication. We have modified his diet. We have encouraged exercise. We have added fish oil. We have limited screen time. We have timers and written schedules. We have tried neurofeedback. We have researched, talked, prayed and cried.
In many ways, this journey is a picture of parenthood. At each step I have felt conflicted, judged, bewildered and/or overwhelmed. Despite this or that convincing article or story you hear, treatment is not cut and dry. There is a lot of trying, evaluating, modifying and changing directions. It can be exhausting.
I adore this child. I hate this disorder. I don't expect the world to be modified for him--I want to equip him for the world he lives in. We have never demanded special treatment. I want desperately to protect his heart, yet, I want him to have the confidence that comes from facing challenges, working hard and overcoming them.
And sometimes, like this morning, I feel very alone in all of this.
Frustrated, tired and sad, I was not at my best this morning. Each time I had to redirect him I heard my tone grow a little sharper. When he couldn't find something AGAIN I blew it. Even as I apologized and reminded him his Daddy & I are on his team, I couldn't help but feel like I was dropping a wounded bird at school this morning instead of a loved up, confident young man.
I called a friend, then I went to the gym and got on the treadmill for some therapeutic, head clearing cardio. I prayed for patience, clarity and endurance. I wrestled with whether or not to e-mail his teacher. It's the second week of school. I vomited all these thoughts up to the Lord.
When I got off the machine and headed for my car I checked e-mail on my phone. I couldn't believe it when there was an email from the woman who runs our school's learning center. She was reviewing files and working on plans for the new school year and just wanted to have a conversation about my boy. She had not been contacted by the teacher. She did not know what had transpired with our homework debacle. God used her simple email to remind I was not alone. He was on other people's radar.
I called her and wept as I recounted the God timing of her email and the tremendous blessing of her outreach. I was reminded that, undeniably, THIS IS GOD'S BOY. I am NOT alone in this or any issue I am facing with my other children. They are HIS. He loves them and has a plan for them.
After I rejoiced in the tenderness of God to send this comforting reminder so quickly, I winced at an additional conviction: My motherly worries feel like love, but they are really a reflection of fear and a lack of trust in our Father.
My son is only nine years old. This is not the first or last time I will be tested.
I have recorded this story because I know I am not the only Mama that gets worked up. I am also not the only Mama that has a tendency to forget the tender mercies of our God.
I write this a reminder to anyone who feels alone in their worry--and to myself.
Our children are His, graciously entrusted to us.
God knows we won't be perfect.
He is writing a story in and on their hearts with us and in spite of us.
It is essential that we remain in close communication with the Lord on His next steps.
When we lean into the Lord in faith, He will show up.
Susie Davis wrote a beautiful post that spoke to my anxious, try-hard Mama heart with encouraging Scripture: Back to School Promises for Parents.