Watching him struggle with a pencil in one hand and a piece of paper in front of him, I am a mess of emotions. I want to shake him. I want to scream at him. I want to rip up the paper and tell him it’s okay and I know he’ll figure it out in his own way eventually so who cares about these stupid spelling words. I want to cry.
It takes him over an hour to write four sentences. There are seven more.
I look at the faint blue and pink lines on the thin paper. I hate those lines. The sky, clothesline and ground. The letters are supposed to fit nicely between them. Letters that you can’t form when ADHD wins. So often, it wins.
My son struggles with barriers in his brain that I can’t comprehend because they don’t exist in mine. And they make me angry at him. And then reminding myself it’s not his fault they are there, I get angry at myself for my misguided frustrations. I love my son. I hate his ADHD.
It’s bedtime. I tell him he must stop now and turn in unfinished work. And he cries, anticipating his teacher’s disappointment, whom he adores in spite of the fact that he is not the prized student. The boy cries because he didn’t finish his sentences, but yet, he can’t (?) won’t (?) finish.
Will he ever? He is smart, so smart. He asks the right questions and comprehends, inquires, analyzes, problem solves. But follow a simple direction? Write some words on a piece of paper? He stares at it. He asks about noises, and erasers and why is this pencil so sharp and Mrs. Bundy has paper like this, and my Stompeez are slippery and what is Reid doing and, and, and…
I email his teacher with the heads up. I search for solutions beyond medication. New strategies. Tweaks. Options. Diet changes. The medication is on only during the day. It’s off at homework time. Our time with him is off time. And oh how it throws everything off. But still I have a love/hate relationship with the little blue pill he takes each morning. It helps and even he knows it. But he is so little. What about the long-term? Is enough really known? What if?
I try to keep my focus on ways I can help my son. I try to separate ADHD from my relationship with him. I try to silence the white noise of society’s judgment. His parents should be stricter disciplinarians. My child would never. Such behavior problems. Too much TV. Or, those who think ADHD is a cop-out label. Every other kid “has” it, right? The squirrely kid? The kid who doesn’t want to follow directions? The kid in her own world? Oh, of course, it’s ADHD! Someone once asked how we had Graham “diagnosed.” In quotation marks like it was made up. A mask. Are that many pediatricians throwing meds at first graders these days that this real misery has become synonymous with some imaginary state?
ADHD is very real here. And it is horrible. And it will never leave my son alone. Just like him, dancing around that lined piece of paper, it will never finish.