Wait, I think I saw a light in the tunnel

I can spend hours quietly thinking things through, trying to find an elusive insight that I know is there. I need to concentrate and work the puzzle from all angles so I can see the picture and make sure all the pieces fit. That’s my nature.

Then there’s Joe. He’s a child with a lot going on. His mind is never quiet; it darts and races and conjures. His body is rarely still; it fidgets and flops. He always has a personal soundtrack playing—yammering, nonsense sounds, clanking and clunking on things. That’s his nature.
His energy drains mine. Yet his open and honest spirit inspires me.
The other day Joe wasn’t feeling well and stayed home from school. Even sick, Joe motors so I didn’t object when he disappeared upstairs for a while, and I was able to get some work done in quiet. I went right from the computer to a quick run to the market and then to preparing and cleaning up dinner. I hadn’t been upstairs since he’d hung out up there, no doubt in my room with the TV on.
Eventually, I sent Joe up to get ready for bed. It took repeated prompting to get him there, so I was frustrated when he appeared back at my side.
“Joe! What are you doing back down here?”
“Well, um, you know when I was upstairs today? Well, um, I was in your room and I, um, well… .”
I knew what was coming. We’d covered the territory and my resulting dismay many times before, so I helped him say it.
“You pulled all the covers off my bed again.” He drags everything to the floor, including the sheets, and wads them up in a tangled ball.
“Yes, but I was on the floor and I was cold,” he quickly defended. How can a mom get mad at a kid for trying to survive in the cold, right?
“Now, Joe, how did you think I was going to feel about that?”
“Not good.”
“So why would you do something that you know full well I’m not going to be happy about?” I was pleased with my even tone (even a little surprised by it) and thought my logic trail was dead on. Surely he’d have to acknowledge his choice was not a good one.
Then without missing a beat, and while twirling, he responded, “Well, it’s kind of like your heart beating. You do it, but you don’t even know it’s happening. It’s involuntary.”
I know he is smart enough to work me, and I know there are times he tries—even succeeds. But I also know there was no angling in that response. It was simply his honest insight—the same kind of insight I spend hours trying to reveal.  
At 11 years old he is aware and has accepted that he’s an ADHD kid with a propensity for impulsive behaviors upon which he acts without thinking, without pausing to consider whether the impulse will land him in trouble—again.  The impulses are just as much a part of his being as a heartbeat or breathing is for the rest of us.
The concept is difficult for many to accept, and even I find my awareness of it can drift from the forefront of my consciousness. I have to remind myself, or have Joe remind me, of its reality. Still, I am a witness to the growth that can occur and the hope that it brings.
Joe is learning what it means to have hindsight. He’s starting to understand that with the benefit of distance between an impulsive urge and its unfortunate result, he can objectively see the flaw in his action. He’s even starting to take responsibility.
When I finally made it upstairs to confront the wadded bed clothes, what I found warmed my heart. There was a patchwork of sheets and blankets spread across the bed. My pillow was fluffed, and my little man was sound asleep in the space next to mine. When I spread a blanket over him, he roused and I thanked him for putting the bed back together.
“You’re welcome,” he said. “Besides, it’s only right. I messed it up; I should fix it.”

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom.
A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom’s view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

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About the author

COVER3D_400sq_bestsellAward-Winning Blogger. Freelance Writer. Author. Warrior Mom. A self-described “veteran” parent of a son with ADHD, Penny Williams is the author of the Amazon best-seller about her parenthood in the trenches, Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD. She is also the creator of the award-winning website, {a mom's view of ADHD}, a frequent contributor on parenting a child with ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications, and co-founder of the annual Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, a weekend away for moms of kids with neurobehavioral disorders. Look for her second book, What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD, in late 2014. Follow Penny at http://BoyWithoutInstructions.com.

2 Comments

  1. Jenifer Paul says:

    Beautiful and very insightful! It's articles like this that help me see another piece of my son's puzzle! Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Thanks so much for the glimpse into a positive future. I am just this year (3rd grade) starting to see a bit of maturity and awareness creeping in for Luke.

    So glad to hear my ADHD kiddo isn't the only one stripping my bed for no apparent reason. I had not attributed that to ADHD. Of course, I never see the damage until Luke is already in bed. Once I FINALLY get him in bed, there's no way I'm getting him up to clean up anything.

    So glad you're contributing here. You have a distinct viewpoint we were lacking, just because none of us have an ADHD child the age of your son. Looking forward to more glimpses of our future!

    Reply

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The "ADHD Mommas" are not medical or mental health professionals, nor an ADHD coach. Any opinions shared here are just that, opinions. I, and the other "ADHD Mommas," are sharing our experiences with our own ADHD children. Please do not re-post or publish any content or photos without a link back to {a mom's view of ADHD}. Have the courtesy to give credit where credit is due. Copyright protected. All rights reserved.

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