hiddenblessing

Finding one small blessing each day.

This Way to ADHD August 30, 2012

Filed under: Parenting — hiddenblessing @ 12:47 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Child Putting on Shoes“>

Photo credit to Poppy Thomas-Hill, http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinkpoppyimages/

I was at a party the other night, with a roomful of people I didn’t know. I was listening to a woman talk about her new husband’s children and somehow the topic of ADHD came up.  She immediately began to very loudly express her views on ADHD, which were something like this:

“There is no such thing as ADHD or ADD. There’s not! It’s totally made up. It’s a concept made up by teachers who just don’t want to deal with kids. It’s just an easy way out for parents and teachers who just don’t want to deal! What they really need to do is just DO THEIR JOB and parent their kids and DEAL with these kids’ behaviors.”

I nearly choked on my drink as I turned to her, just waiting to hear what more insight this woman had to share.  My best friend and I made eye contact over the people in our small circle, and I just sadly shook my head.

One of my children has ADHD.  It is not, and I repeat this in the biggest possible letters ever, NOT from a lack of parenting, discipline or teaching.  My husband and I have “parented” him relentlessly.  My boy has been in time-out so many times in his short life that I’m surprised the carpet isn’t worn out on the stairs where we send him to sit.  We have tried charts and redirection and rewards and, yes, turning the other cheek.  We’ve counseled, talked, taken things away, grounded him… you name it, we’ve tried it.

ADHD is an ugly, snarling beast.  I wish it was something made up, because if it were, I promise you I would have found a way around it.  What nerve this woman had, to tell a roomful of people she didn’t know (or not very well, obviously) about how it was due to a lack of parenting.  She has no idea.

I promise you, she has never wiped tears away from her child’s face as he cries to her that he “just must be bad.”  She has never sat in a roomful of people  and watched as a teacher shook her child’s homework at her and spat his name out with frustration and intolerance.  She has never tried to explain to her child why it is that he has to take pills every morning, when no one else has to. She has never sat up late at night, worried about how to help her child be successful when he struggles to get through five minutes of homework, let alone eight hours at school.  Or interrupted a birthday party sleepover to bring meds, because she is afraid he will never get invited back again if he wakes up and doesn’t have his pills right away.

Or the worst – which is, totally lost her cool and yelled at her child for his inability to brush his teeth, put on his shoes and get his backpack on in the last fifteen minutes before they walk out the door for the day.  This is the one that happens the most frequently… and the one we struggle the very most with.

Just put your shoes on. Please!  No – don’t look at the TV.  Why is the TV even on?  I turned it off twice already!  I don’t care if the Annoying Orange is almost over.  It’s time to go.  Shoes. SHOES! … What are you doing NOW?  Put down the cat.  SHOES.  Just shoes!

This is the one that haunts me through my whole day.  Because he’s at school and I can’t pull him into my arms and apologize for yelling at him.  I can’t try to explain how mama just needs him to please remember to get his shoes on and his teeth brushed because it would make our mornings so much easier.  I can’t be sure that he’s not hurting and sad, because the last thing he remembers of his mom that morning was how angry she was. Again.

But here is what I know to be true. This beautiful child, this marvelous boy… this is my son.  He was given to ME for a reason.  There is a life lesson, something he and I are supposed to learn together, and this is why he is mine.  ADHD is a monster, for sure.  I hate the fears, tears and pain it has brought into my sweet child’s life.  But it’s a monster that for whatever reason, God chose to place in our path.  And slay it, we will.  One way or another.

For his sake, if I could choose to make it go away, I would.  Of course.  What mother wouldn’t?  I want what all mothers want for their children – for them to be happy, to love and be loved, to choose paths that honor the bright light that is them, and nothing else.  ADHD doesn’t change any of that, it just makes the road a bit more thorny than others.  There are a few more dips in the road.  But dips in the road only make your legs stronger, in the end.

But for me – for me alone, I wouldn’t choose any differently. I have learned so much on this journey.  For starters, it put me in my place.  It slapped me across the face and showed me that I’m not half the mom I thought I was.  And then it yanked me back onto my feet and told me to get working.  In the end, who knows?  Perhaps I will actually be a better mom for having trudged through this particular forest.  It taught me patience, and how to pick my battles.  It brought me friends – other moms who have the same fears and frustrations and breaking points.

It also is my real-life story of not judging until you’ve walked a mile in her shoes.  Miss Lady At The Party, I really do wish that what you said was true.  I wish it were true for every child who truly struggles with ADHD and other learning disabilities, because it would make it so much easier to fix.  And you know what?  I don’t know what your story is, and maybe you have a personal experience with a teacher that led you to form the belief you did.  But for me, and the other mamas out there who fight this with their sons and daughters, please don’t tell us it’s because of a lack of parenting or a lack of discipline.

My sweet child and I are walking through this snarly, bramble-filled path together.  And it is exactly because of parenting, that we will be just fine in the end.

 

A letter to my middle schooler August 21, 2012

Filed under: Parenting,Teenager — hiddenblessing @ 9:53 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

My sweet boy,

This letter has been keeping me up at night, begging me to write to you.  I wake up in the dark of the night, and all I can think about are all of the things I want to say to you as I watch you grow into the wonderful, strong young man that you are.  I am so proud of you.  I have always been insanely proud of you – you are so good inside.  You are filled with so many wonderful traits that sometimes all I can do is fall to my knees and thank God for giving me such an exquisite gift as he did, the day he gave me you.

Middle school is a weird time for kids.  You want so much to be cool and accepted, and fit in with the right kids.  To look right, act right, and not do anything embarrassing.  But inside, all of these things are coming up; exciting, nerve-wracking, drama-filled things.  Stressful things.  It’s exciting and fun and scary and depressing and quite honestly, a giant muddle of mixed-up craziness.  You are half child and half adult, and sometimes that makes you feel one way and sometimes it makes you feel another.  Sometimes, it’s both.  That’s ok.  Pick what feels right for that situation.  Soon enough, it will become easier and you will leave the little stuff behind.  But don’t let worrying about it weigh you down.  Sometimes you won’t know what to do.  Sometimes, you’ll just feel silly.  Other times, sad.  Sometimes you will feel giddy and emotional and sometimes, you will just feel stressed.

I want you to know, that 100%, forever and ever and ever, my darling boy, your stress is my stress.  I have your back.  Always.  I might freak out and lecture you (I’m working on getting better at this) but at the end of the day, no matter what, I am on your team.  The things that hurt you, hurt me.  The things that worry you, worry me.  You can come to me, day or night, and know that I am always willing to listen.  Tell me that it’s important, and I will put down the computer, or send home my friends, or cancel my date night with dad, or whatever I need to do  and we will sort through it.  Your problems are my problems, and together, sweetheart, we will work out anything.

As a little boy, my darling, you were always the sweetest child.  I have never met a child who had so much compassion and understanding of other human beings as you did.  You were polite, you were kind, you were loving, you were gentle, and you always, always, put other people ahead of yourself.

That is a beautiful trait.  One you should be proud of.  But don’t let it allow people to walk all over you either.  Save the people that you choose to give that kindness to, to be ones who are worth it.  You are going to meet a lot of people on your journeys to manhood.  A lot of them will not be worth your energy.  So if someone hurts you or belittles you, or doesn’t want to hang out with you, that’s ok.  They aren’t for you. You will find friends and people that are worth your love and your energy.  Go ahead and enjoy those that are fun to be around, when you are around them, and let them go when they go.

There is a poem out there about friends being there for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  I don’t think there is necessarily a way to know exactly which way they are there for you, except to say that when you look back, it will be obvious.  I’ve had four friends, so far, that are there for a lifetime: your dad, Aunt W, Super Nikki, and my friend, L, who you haven’t met.  I have had a lot that were there for a season… I had a best friend in grades 4 and 5, another for grades 6-10 and one in between, in grades 7 and 8.  Those short friendships were my “seasons”.  My “lifetimes” are easy: L was there my whole life, Aunt W from senior year on, and Darling Nikki since we moved here.  I am blessed, sweet boy.  But think of the hundreds of people I have known, who have come and gone, in all of those years.  I’ve had a LOT of friends who just happened to be exactly what I needed at that time in my life, but when that situation was done, we all moved on.  These are the “reasons” friendships. You are going to find this to be true as well.  So if you find someone that you feel deep inside is worthy of your friendship, offer it to them wholeheartedly.  But if, for whatever reason, they don’t return that friendship in kind, don’t worry… just move on.  Remember, a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

Girls.  Oh, how I love and hate this topic.  As your mama, here’s what I want for you.  I want you to find a girl that thinks you are the handsomest, funniest, strongest, best guy that there ever was.  You will find her, someday.  But not in middle school.  And likely, not in high school.  Your dad and I were an extreme exception to the rule, believe me.  But until that day comes along, you are going to meet a ton of girls that you will fall for, and no matter how sweet, beautiful, kind, funny or loyal they are, will someday break your heart.  I am dreading that day, but it will happen.  You will break a few hearts, too.  You will leave some poor, sweet girl sobbing because she felt that she loved you, and knowing you like I do, sweetheart, this will be very hard on you.  But it’s just part of growing up.

Know this; these relationships are real.  That pounding in your heart, those sweaty hands and nervousness when you talk to her, that is all real.  And that crushing, blinding, heartbreak you will feel when those relationships end is real.  But as painful as it is, it will be over just as quickly and you will meet someone new.  You won’t believe me when you’re going through it, but it is true.  That will be true for the girls whose hearts you break too.  And even more importantly, all of those feelings you had for that girl who broke your heart will be nothing compared to when you grow up and find the one you are really meant to be with.  But… that is a topic for another letter when you are older.

My last topic that I really want to talk with you about… you are going to find yourself in situations where there are drugs and beer.  I am not even going to try to pretend that this isn’t true.  Please, please, please believe me when I say that you should not ever use drugs.  I can’t tell you how many people I have known – wonderful, kind, handsome, funny people who came from good families – who used drugs and completely destroyed their lives.  Drugs mess people up.  What starts as a fun party thing quickly turns into something that is out of their hands… the risks are just enormous, baby doll.  Young bodies, for starters, are not equipped to handle the poison that is going into their bodies.  I knew a kid who was huffing paint fumes, and died.  He was a nice kid.  His name was Adam.  I’ve known kids who smoked pot and drove, and killed a friend.  I’ve known countless kids who wound up in hospitals and I’ve known kids who’ve killed themselves because they got so depressed following drug use.  But mostly what I’ve seen, is people who just plain ruined their lives.  They never ended up going to college, they didn’t get good jobs, they had babies way too young that they couldn’t parent or afford, their skin and their teeth are ruined, and they feel hopeless… because they can’t get away from the drugs.  Think really, really hard about the choice you make if someone ever offers you drugs.  Even the “light” ones.  At the end of the day, you know what’s right and what’s wrong.

Alcohol… I know that there will be parties.  They had better be a damn long time from now!  But let’s get this out in the open now.  If you ever have a situation where you or a friend needs a ride because someone did have a beer, please call me.  We will come up with some sort of agreement, you and I, where if you trust me enough to call me and let me pick you guys up, you won’t be in trouble.  I would so much rather have you safe and have had a beer and me be a little disappointed in your choice to drink, than have you hurt or dead because you didn’t trust me.  But that’s all it would be – a little disappointed, because I was a teenager once, too, sweetheart.    

And here’s the biggest thing, my sweet baby boy, I trust you.  I trust that you have a good head on your shoulders, and at the end of the day that you will make the right decisions.  And if you don’t, if you mess up, that’s ok, too.  That’s how you learn.  And it’s my job to help you pick up those pieces that are the fallout of the wrong choice and maybe turn them another way to help you see how to fix it.  Mistakes are a part of life.  I still make mistakes, and I’m still trying to learn how to do it all right, the first time.

These years are going to be so much fun for you.  Live and love every single second of them.  Laugh when you want to, cry when things hurt but above all, enjoy RIGHT NOW.  Don’t worry about next year, or five years from now, or when you are an adult.  (Well, except for good grades.  Do that.  Swim hard.  Get a scholarship. 🙂 ) You will be grown up before you know it.  Before I know it!  And I want you to remember every single second of these years.  They are so much fun.

I love you, my boy.  There is nothing that you could ever, ever, ever do that would ever change that.  My love for you isn’t something that you will ever have to work for, earn, or deserve.   It just is.  Always has been.  And always, always will be.

 

The weather and my soul August 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 9:06 am

<a title="sunshine by TuguldurJ, on Flickr" href="sunshine

Photo by: Tuguldur J at http://www.flickr.com/photos/47890911@N04/”&gt;;

Today my blessing is the weather. I’d like to say it’s fall… but it’s only the middle of August and I know better. But it feels like fall, and it makes me feel joyous somewhere deep in my soul.

I swear the sunshine itself is different in the fall. It shines on the world around me like a filter in an Instagram photo. It transports me to somewhere peaceful and calm, and feels a little like childhood. I was sitting at taekwondo the other evening watching my boy and happened to glance through the large windows to the parking lot. Something about the early evening sunshine made me remember, in snatches of memory, thoughts that I had had as a child about what my life would be like as an adult. Those thoughts were nothing like the reality; I don’t even live in the same state that I expected I would; but I love that the very sunshine and cool weather could trigger those memories.

Fall makes me feel creative and inspired. I woke this morning, far too early, to sunshine pouring in my window. My husband pulled me close to him and asked if I saw the sunrise. He mumbled something about loving those windows and fell back to sleep. I, on the other hand, couldn’t. My brain started thinking about all of the things I could be doing, and after awhile, I gave up and came downstairs. I started the coffee, let the dog out and sat down to just enjoy the gorgeous quiet and sunshine in my dining room.

My thoughts kept wandering to all of the things I wanted to do in this gift of a day. I wanted to write to you, I wanted to paint, I wanted to bake pumpkin bars and create an elaborate dinner for tonight. I wanted to crochet and I wanted to clean… all of these things were inspired by the simple, wonderful quiet and coolness of the fall weather.

Enjoy your day, my friends. I think mine is going to be quite busy.

 

Dear Sugar August 16, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 12:31 pm
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Right now, whatever you are doing, stop.

Go find and read Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed.

I haven’t even made it through the sample of the book and I am already filled with emotion. I have tried not to cry, I have laughed, I have thought endlessly about a few phrases and I have thought YES YES YES! to a few statements.

Truly, this is my blessing that I found today.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon one too, but I didn’t have a chance to write. Baseball practice and back-to-school stuff took over my day. In fact, all of this stuff took over my week. I am so thankful it is Thursday, and I am almost to the weekend.

Yesterday morning, my dear hubby and I had a ferocious argument that stemmed entirely from exhaustion. That’s really what it comes down to. He was mad at me because the Meet-The-Teacher night ended before I could get home from work, and I didn’t have time to run to the sporting goods store for slider pants. I didn’t even know what slider pants are (I do now), let alone running out at night with three kids for them. But he was upset because he doesn’t have time to do these things, and it makes him upset that I needed him to do this. He also is stressed about when and where baseball practice is because, honestly friends, our lives are stupidly complicated and our schedules are impossible. And three nights a week of baseball practice on top of one game a week, plus two other kids and two other sports, means that we are doomed.

He was just exhausted.

And so was I. Because while it’s true that I didn’t get off work in time for Meet-The-Teacher night, I’ve been busy making sure that the clothes, supplies, forms, meds, lunch tickets, registration papers and immunizations are all ready. I’ve figured out when and where the practice is, and it’s me who sat in 95 degree heat with a two year old to watch the practice for an hour and a half. And I’m tired, too. Hearing all the ways that he is feeling I’m not holding up my end of the bargain doesn’t help this, at all.

We should never talk to each other when we are this tired. Or we should talk more, I’m not really sure. But I just know that when I feel like that, all I really want to do is have him hold me hold him and say, slow down. We’re alright. This is just today. Tomorrow will be better.

I walked into the office yesterday feeling worn out and sad. The admin smiled as she always does and I thought… I wish people understood how I’m feeling today. I need someone to be kind today.

And then, I stumbled upon this later in the day. Divine intervention. If you have a minute, check it out. It put my miniscule argument into perspective. And it also reached out a gentle, comforting hand to me – a hand that said “me, too.”

Which really, if you think about it, is all any of us truly want. Someone who says “me, too.”

http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/2151

Hugs to you today, my friend.

 

Music to my ears August 13, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 8:50 pm
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I’ve got tons of little blessings tonight.  Here is what I’m thankful for in my world today.

Music:  at this very moment, B is putting away the dinner dishes and singing at the top of his lungs some song comprised entirely of the imagination of a nine-year-old.  I have no idea what he’s saying.  I think he’s created his own language.  But it sure is a joyful, happy song to listen to.  Baby L did the same thing today, only he was singing about some of his favorite people in the world.  “Layla layla layla Layyyy LAAAA, jakob, leeleeleeleelee nikki, nikki, one two three!”  It made me laugh that he was rhyming.  What two year old rhymes?!

I also learned today that Baby L knows ‘how to dougie”.  Hahahahhah!  That, my friends, is some funny stuff.

But back to music…  at work today, I had a massive spreadsheet to decipher.  So today I logged into  Pandora and chose the Foo Fighters channel, and put in my headphones.  I’ve been listening to Pandora long enough to have clicked my fair share of likes and dislikes, so I’ve got it pretty well honed in on my music.  But today it was exceptionally good.  Music just does amazing things to me if I actually can relax enough to listen to some of the lyrics.  It can make me feel nostalgic, or young, or beautiful, or inspired… it all just depends on the song.   I came home completely in a different state of mind after listening to music all afternoon.

When I run, I LOVE putting on kick-a** music.  I mean that really.  Like P.O.D., Nickelback, Evanescence, AWOLNATION.  The music on my playlist makes me feel like I’m strong, healthy, young, and tough… and that hill up there?  No PROBLEM.  I got this.  My favorite playlist (ok, except for the awesome one E made me – see a prior post) is by far my running one.   Plus, I’m completely unaware of what a dork I probably look like running – I’m too busy singing in my head to the music.  Not singing out loud, I promise.

And now… it’s after eight, baby L is in bed, B is done singing and the house is quiet.  I have every window open in the house and every once in a while I can hear a car drive by in the late evening dusk.  This weather is gorgeous – I will sleep like a baby tonight if it stays cool like this.  I have the rest of the night to myself… to write and listen to music and just be inspired.

THIS is a beautiful night.

 

Not-so-rude awakening August 10, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 4:24 pm

1993 Chevrolet Camaro Indy 500 Pace Car

Picture above by aldenjewell:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/autohistorian/4646261990/

 

My blessing of today is to be getting old.  I’m serious here.  Of COURSE I will continue to tell myself that I’m not very old, but in actuality the universe has been whispering, a little softer than quietly, that I AM.

My first clue was when I was sitting at a stoplight and I looked over at the car next to me.  It was a Camaro, very similar to the one above.  No, of course it wasn’t a pace car, but truly, it had the exact same wheels and it was white.  With a giant blue racing stripe on the hood.  I sat looking at the car (lights take awhile around here) and thinking about in college when my then-fiance bought me one.  It was his attempt at getting me a Firebird (um, why didn’t he just get one of those then?) and it was a SWEET car.  It was exhilarating to drive, was a five-speed, had a sunroof… ohhh it was a fun car.  So I’m looking at this car and I’m thinking… seriously, this car doesn’t really look that old to me.

It doesn’t look like an antique, it doesn’t look like something I wouldn’t be able to find on a lot somewhere.  This is where the universe cackled a little, cleared her throat, and then pointed out to me that this vehicle is ALMOST TWENTY YEARS OLD.  At what point does it become a true antique?  Like with funky white plates?  Because truly…. this thing is almost ten years older than my van, and my van is ancient.

My second clue was when I discovered, much to my surprise, that I have been listening to talk-radio.  WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME?  I never, never, never listen to anything remotely like talk radio.  And then lo and behold, I caught myself laughing and listening.. and what were they talking about?  ELECTIONS.  Oh seriously… I have crossed some invisible line and I’m afraid there’s no going back now.

So… as I always do, I have to find the blessing in this.  And here’s what I’ve got.

#1.  Thank God I’m even here to be considering this “old”.

#2.  I can go buy a 1993 Firebird if I really want to.  With wheels that match the trim and everything.  (Ha!)

#3.  I can listen to Rihanna, Usher, Pearl Jam, Sade and Jim Croce all in the same day, and enjoy them equally.  And when I’m done listening, I can turn on some talk radio and be just as happy.  There’s got to be something cool about covering that much timespan on one Ipod.

Happy Friday, sweet friends.  Have a fabulous weekend.  Keep your eye out for my Firebird for me.

 

Today is a strange day August 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 4:03 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today is a strange day.  The word CANCER has been popping up all day.  That is always frightening to me, because I always wonder why.  My life is filled with too many coincidences and how-strange-I-was-just-thinking-of-you (or that) moments to not be worried when it seems like I’m finding this word everywhere I turn. And of course, although I try to fight and spread awareness and donate to finding cures for childhood cancers, I cower from the mere thought of it.  Of any cancer, hurting my loved ones or myself.  So when it’s repeatedly throwing itself in my path today, I have to stop and take notice.

It started when I checked Facebook this morning.  A wonderfully talented girl that I knew once upon a time lost her father to cancer this week.  She is a blogger, and she usually writes poetry about her experiences in coming to grips with the fact that her child has Fragile X syndrome.   This week, however, her focus is of course changed and she’s talking about her father and her loss of him.  She wrote this wonderful essay on her father’s lack of anger at the cancer that was slowly eroding his body.  She says that he said “Why?” when asked if he was mad about it.  Because why would he be, with this beautiful life he’d had, this wonderful family, these great experiences? 

Please check her out, it’s worth it, I promise.  The posting I talk about above was “Are You Angry”, but this… this is beautiful…

http://xmarksmyheart.blogspot.com/2012/08/our-walk-to-remember.html 

When I went to find the site address for you, her poem brought tears to my eyes, so I decided to share it instead of the link I was originally going to.   So circling back to her father’s lack of anger, his belief that he had had it all…

My husband and I have talked about this a few times recently.  I’ve personally felt this way for a long time, but to hear him say it to me was immeasurably good for my soul.  We have it all.  Honestly, we do.  We are healthy, we have food on our table, we have three healthy, happy children, and we LOVE and ARE LOVED.  Is there anything else that we could possibly need?  No.  Would it be nice to have a vehicle made in the last ten years and new carpet and enough money to buy pretty clothes and all the shoes in the world?  Sure.  But would I choose that over what I have?  Never in a million years.  If I DID have lots of money, what I’d really want to do is give some of it away to fight things like the ugly “c” word we are discussing here today.

And of course… if I died tomorrow, I would be sad.  I would be sad because I don’t want to miss out on all that is ahead of me.  But all that I’ve had??  That is enough.  It is enough.

And then, I happen to stumble upon a news article about a girl, who is 13, just barely older than my E, who is fighting neuroblastoma and now discovers she has preleukemia cells as well.  This girl has a video blog about fighting her cancer and how to be beautiful without her wig.  She has mad skills with makeup (eyeliner, sweetheart, teach me how to put on eyeliner like you!) and a peaceful, poised outlook on life.   In her videoblog, she is trying to comfort YOU, the watcher.  Darling girl, if only there were more people like you.  What a beautiful place this would be.

Please say a prayer for this wonderful child.  One of the comments someone wrote on her blog was “the world is a better place for having had you in it” and I wholeheartedly agree.   Her parents must be so proud to call her theirs.   

Check her out:      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1slESfh_3M0