Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Adult ADHD OR Why I am a Failure As A Mother

Pick a title any title.  This post is going to hopefully be about the fact that I actually think I have adult onset ADHD (is there such a thing? If not I'm makin' it up dangit!!).  But it also will trend largely towards covering all the reasons why I am a crappy mom.

Let me be VERY clear up front.  This post is not a plaintive cry for assurance.  I do not need a good Stuart Smalley intervention (confused?  think "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone-it people like me).  No need to send a helicopter team of mental health professionals rapelling onto the roof of my house to slap me around and make me feel better about myself - is that even possible?  Not the helicopter team, the slapping around and feeling better.  I need to believe its possible for a Chinook to appear in the sky and silently drop professional help onto my doorstep.  Its kind of a long running fantasy of mine.  I think it started in Clarksville where many nights the fly overs were so close and loud I was sure the soldiers were checking out our new gas grill or making sure my lawn was trimmed to the proper height.

Do you see the direction of this post?  No?  That is because I have ADHD!

Last month I had a meeting with Jake's developmental pediatrician up at UNC.  That woman is amazing and a genius. If I ever win the lottery I'm going to hire her as my personal on call expert for all things Jake.  Seriously even if I won the lottery I probably couldn't pay her what she is worth.  She was on the board for the DSM V if that gives you any idea.  And if you don't know what the DSM V is don't worry, we can't all be married to psychologists.  Just trust me - its a big deal.

Soooooo, as we are sitting there talking she asks me where I think Jake got the ADHD from because, as she is sure I know, its usually an inherited thing.  Well of course I acted like I knew that (just like I acted like my kids never jump more than one at a time on the trampoline or jump without my direct supervision ... as they are doing at this very moment... when she was concerned about our trampolining habits).  And I thought for a split second and considered blaming it on Ryan, but honestly, if you've spent 5 minutes around him that is a tough sell.  And she has.  So I think she was just being nice when she asked me that.  

So I have thought about that comment a lot since my time with her. And honestly it totally makes so many things fall into place.  Like the constant state of near hysteria I live in when I have more than a few things on my to-do list because I am incapable of juggling many balls at once without dropping one.  Or the fact that some very important paperwork that will make sure we have somewhere to LIVE in Kansas is sitting on top of my scanner ready to go, yet unsent.  Or the fact that I started the year gung-ho to help get Reid ready for kindergarten with great plans that I even went so far as to develop and carry out for 5 days before I promptly forgot all about it (until today when his sweet teacher asked if she could meet with me next week to discuss, uh, I forget.  But I bet it had to do with kindergarten readiness).  Or the suggestions Dr. Awesome gave me for helping Jake that looked pretty much exactly like the list of ideas that she gave me last time that I had 100% forgot about until I referred back to my notes from that session (1.5 years ago!).  Or that no matter how many books I buy for family devotions or alarms I set on my phone to remind me to do them I cannot for the life of me actually remember to do them. I could, seriously, go on and on.

And you are probably thinking "I do stuff like that all the time".  And I'm sure we all do but I honestly think there is maybe a bit more to it for me.  Or you are thinking "you have 4 kids" or "your husband is deployed" or "look at that another person that wants to have ADHD".  Still I know lots of people who have 4 or more kids, who are often single parents and who are capable of carrying on a conversation and making dinner at the same time.  Or remembering from point A to point B what the purpose of that 30 second walk across the house was.  And its not like I'm NOT a total mess-o-rama when Ryan is home.  In fact a couple weeks ago Jake's cub scout leader needed marbles for a den meeting.  She was texting all the parents to see who had marbles.  The fact that I was the only person who had some - and who had not in fact lost her marbles - was a major source of amusement for all of us.  Talk about the least likely to succeed in keeping her marbles!

At this point my only plan when it comes to how to deal with my total scatter-brainedness is that I'm going to look seriously into some essential oils that will help with focus.  I am 100% sold on the effectiveness of oils for treating a myriad of issues and I know there is something that can help me.  I'll be sure to keep you posted.  Well, if it works I will. If it doesn't I won't remember that I ever even wrote this post or that I had planned to do something about it.  Until I sit down to write a very similar post 6 months from now and it all sounds eerily familiar.

But before I go let me tell you what I really want to

Monday, March 4, 2013

Not Forgotten

Do you remember how I was saying (whining) back at the beginning of this deployment that its tempting to withdraw, to pull into my shell.  And then when I pull into my shell I feel forgotten.  And when I feel forgotten then I pull even tighter into the shell.  Its a cycle.  A cycle of my own making and one that can make deployment really hard.

I've been there before.  Many times.  But not today.  Not this cycle.  Not yet.

I'm overwhelmed with the love and generosity and kindness I have been shown.  Its the big things and the small things and all the things in between that have left my heart full and my mind reeling at His goodness to me.

Its a text from a friend that there is a credit in your name at Swank.  So go and enjoy a scone and a coffee and take a moment to breathe.

Its a card in the mail that reminds you that you are being praying for and loved on.  One that even goes so far as to write out the prayer so you can feel yourself being lifted up and lifted closer to Him.

Its the call from the highly recommended therapy center that had told you last week that there was going to be quite a wait list - to tell you that the wait list has opened up and therapy for your son can begin as early as next week.  To remind me I'm certainly not forgotten by the Father.

Its the message from a friend to celebrate one month down and to remind you that you are in their prayers constantly.  Followed by the message from the other half of that marriage to tell you to say the word and he will be here to help.

Its the friend willing to drive your cub scout to the den meeting so you don't have to drag your sick little one out of bed.

Its the other friend willing to shuttle your kids to and from school when you need a hand.

Its the brother-in-law who helps your vomit covered little girl into the bath with as much care and love as her daddy would.

Its the fellow Army spouse who texts to ask if she can share the soup she has just made - and then brings over not just soup but delicious bread and cookies too.

Its the friend who knocks on your car window on Valentine's Day and hands you a bag of goodies to make sure you feel loved and special.

Its the brother & sister-in-law who drive 4 hours for a 3 hour visit to make sure your little man's birthday is special.

Its the parents who drive 4 hours to pit crew for the Pinewood Derby.

Its the friend who will drive to her house to get steri-strips to help piece your son's face back together so you don't have to make an ER trip at 10 pm on a Tuesday night.

Its the running buddy who takes your crazy 5 year old off your hands after you both finish a grueling 20 miler so you can get some rest.

Its the mother-in-law who drops everything so that you don't have to drop anything.

Its the friend who you can text on a Saturday night when your house suddenly explodes in sickness and know she will be there in minutes with gatorade, popsicles and ginger ale.

And the many other friends who have insisted I note their numbers in my phone.  Who tell me to call anytime.  To ask for whatever I need. Because I know they mean it and I know I will do it if I need to.  Its the fact that I'm afraid to hit the Publish button because as many things as I've just listed I'm sure there is more that I've forgotten.

Once again I'm humbled. And I'm grateful. And I'm so incredibly blessed.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Full Circle

Its funny how God works.  And by funny I mean amazing.  So much so that I find it hard to believe that anyone could deny His existence.  I’m sure many people read my words and think I’m crazy for believing in a Deity that I can’t see, touch, feel, hear …. only I do see, feel, touch and hear Him.  Just not in the way we look for in today’s society of instant, immediate, concrete gratification. 

I felt and saw Him just the other day.  It was Reid’s birthday party and I was gathered in my backyard with his buddies from school and their moms.  We all sat around chatting and enjoying one another’s company.  One of the moms I hadn’t really gotten to know yet, other than a smile and “hello” at preschool dropoff and pickup.  She casually mentioned since they were new to the area she wasn’t sure what she would do for school next year.  They are zoned for our same school district but she didn’t know a lot about PES.  I started to tell her how much we LOVED our school (with my mom and dad nodding along in total agreement).  She added that there were some complicating factors as her son receives speech and occupational therapy.  My antenna went up and I zoned in on a mom who I could relate to all too well.  I felt like I was circling back to three years ago only instead I was the mom on the other side of the table.  The mom three years later who had survived those scary early years of frustration, confusion and doubt.  I was the mom who could point to my 8 year old and say “its not easy but he IS doing ok!”  Yes he is in a “normal” classroom.  Yes he has had a wonderful experience at school.  Yes his school is just the right place for him.   Yes you will survive all of this and YES somehow your heart will not shatter into a million pieces despite feeling sure it will.

In the busyness of the day I might have missed just how profound that meeting and following conversation was if not from this text later in the day from my friend Ally.  “I had tears in my eyes listening to you and A talk about your kids … God is AWESOME!!”  You see, Ally was around 3 years ago when our friend Lisa shared with her that she had met a mom whose son might be on the spectrum.  She listened as Lisa was encouraged that her own journey might help another mom (me) facing the same challenges.  And she was there years later to watch as that formerly unknown mom could put her arm around another mom and say “its ok, its going to be ok, and I would love to help you in any way I can”.  The way God uses our stories to strengthen and encourage one another never ceases to amaze me.  When we first began this journey so many years ago sweet friends would occasionally comment that they couldn’t wait to see how God was going to use this struggle for good.  I was encouraged and pissed at the same time by those words.  Like I want to hug you and punch you in the face all in the same motion.  Because I know in my head that God works all things together for good.   But at that time I wasn’t willing to offer up my son and his future prospects on that altar.  I am not Abraham and Jake is not Issac I wanted to scream. 

But I’ve learned it doesn’t always matter if you are willing or not.  I’m sure Abraham wasn’t running down that road in anticipation of tying his son down and giving him over to God.   I’m sure he wouldn’t have picked that road to travel.  But the good news is that God doesn’t leave it up to me. And the good news is that with years and time and prayer my perspective has changed.  Its not that God has given Jake autism so that I can be an encouragement to other moms.  Its that in spite of the autism God is able to bring redemption.  A light.  A good to come from a world of hurt.  And for that I am so blessed and humbled.