My boy has been hand in hand with ADHD for his entire life. This journey we have walked together as a family has brought us to tears to laughter and back to tears. Mixed up clothing, lost books, distracted morning, noon, and night, confused words, hyperness that saw no end. It is real for us. It is true for us. The point I want to stress is, it is really truly exhausting for my boy.
I don’t like sharing with you, ADHD. I’ve watched you grow alongside my son. I’ve watched you grip my boy. I remember when I first heard the doctor speak those words, “Your son has ADHD.” I had no idea what a trip you would take us all on. But, I did realize early on that I would have to share my boy. This journey you’ve taken us on for the last seven years has been exhilarating to downright exhausting ADHD! Some days, I wish you’d make up your mind to take a hike and let my boy have a day without you in sight.
Do you remember at age three the impulsive little boy who could not sit still in preschool, ADHD? I remember picking up our boy, with the rosiest cheeks, from preschool. The teachers would happily hand him over at the end day with a comment like, “He didn’t sit down once today!”, “Wow! He was busy today!” or “He’s definitely all boy!” I know that the teachers meant no harm. They were exhausted from the constant movement of our boy. Do you remember at age five the continual motor running inside our boy? Do you remember the medication that our boy took every day that made him feel so anxious he would lash out at whoever was close to him? I’m so thankful for the patient teacher our boy had that year in school. She knew he would try hard, but our boy would become overwhelmed with all that was going on around him in that kindergarten classroom.
Hey, ADHD do you remember in first grade when our boy was so anxious and scared he hid under the teacher’s desk. What did he find under the desk? A rock. What did our boy do with that rock? Oh yes, put it in his right ear so the teacher would not see it. Let us not forget the surgery needed to remove that rock from our boy’s ear. Do you remember all the times our boy ran away from stress only to hide in the bathroom in second grade? Oh, the stories the wonderful second teacher had to share with us about going to the bathroom to retrieve our boy.
ADHD, I’ve read books about you, consulted physicians, and therapists. I’ve sought console from others who’ve journeyed before me. I’ve been on repeat for seven years with my directions, instructions, and routine. My expectations are short and precise for our boy. I provide verbal cues with enough scaffolding to build me a beach house. However, you keep changing the game ADHD. You tell our boy it’s not cool for visual schedules or timers. You say to our boy that it’s too hot for a coat when in actuality it is frigid. I don’t like sharing our boy. I want my boy all to myself.
As you changed ADHD, I saw our boy grow and develop a new obsession or gain a new skill. ADHD, do you remember the first in school suspension our boy received for acting on his anger instead of cooling down? Those were some tough days for us ADHD. I had to answer some very tough questions that made me wonder, “Am I doing enough?” Do you remember in 4th grade, the tears that came from new desk arrangements? Or the obsession to collect enough pencils, markers, and trinkets to fill the desk? It was a terrible day when I had to clean out his desk ADHD? Our boy had an epic meltdown that day, didn’t he ADHD?
Now in fifth grade, ADHD you are getting tricky. I’ve seen our boy’s mind drift from 2,437 x 189, to the latest topic in Minecraft, to examining breakfast crumbs still on the kitchen table, to posing the question how are clouds formed, and then telling me what happened two days ago at school during music class. This happens all so fast like in a few nanoseconds, I swear. I’m exhausted from being stuck computing 2,437 X 189. That is the internal monologue that never shuts off for our boy. I think I’m tired, but I know our boy is beyond exhausted. I see our boy would welcome the chance to have a day without you. However, we know that is not how you work ADHD. You are a constant in our boy’s life. ADHD you keep the continuous monologue going in his mind at top speed morning, noon, and night with no end to this trip. And that is why I have this message for you: “ADHD, you suck!”