When Undefined Expectations and ADHD Collide: Our Lost Summer

[Editor’s Note: From now on I am going to refer to Luke by a nickname: Ricochet. This nickname was given to him by his soccer coach about 15 minutes into the first practice when he was 5 years old, before diagnosis. I always thought it was a good descriptor of my boy. At some point I will replace his name on the entire blog. As he gets older, I feel it is time that I pay attention to his privacy in an age where everyone turns to the internet to learn about someone. I have been very open and honest about his struggles and our experiences but we don’t want someone who meets him when he’s 13 or 30 to judge him on what he did when he was 6.]

This has been an odd summer for our family. It is a lost summer for sure. This time, it is not due to ADHD or learning disabilities or differences between my kiddo and the “norm.” This time, it was just life and a whole big load of uncertainty taking over.

We got our home under contract to sell in June. The frantic search for a new home to purchase ensued. It took over every moment of free time we had. Not only did we have to look at house after house, trying to find the perfect blend of budget and livability for the family, but we spent a lot of time in the car — we are moving all the way across town, about 40 minutes from our soon-to-be-old house.

I do not exaggerate when I say the search consumed us. I worked from home while Daddy was at work. The kids watched TV, played games, and not much else (remember, this is the home with bears and they can’t just go outside and play). There were a few occasions when I could take them to the pool or to visit friends, but it was a scarce few. I didn’t even see my coffee group/friend support group all parenting kids with ADHD all summer.

This went on for four weeks. There went the month of June… and part of July. Exhaustion penetrated every pore — more from stress and anticipation of the unknown than from physical tiredness. But exhaustion nonetheless.

We spent July packing. We moved in with my parents for {what was supposed to be} two weeks on July 23, the two weeks between having to close the sale of our home but not being able to purchase the new one yet. Today is August 28. We are still living with my parents.

{sigh}

lost. summer.

We've been going to see the dogs at the kennel at least once a week. Kids and dogs love it.

The sale of our home became drastically delayed, but we had already moved out. Moved across town. Moved to a new {better for Ricochet} school district. We didn’t feel like there was any turning back. The move was a decision to better our family life and, by golly, we were going to make it work no matter what it took. And my parents so graciously let us invade their clean, personal, quiet space — and continue to do so today.

So now our children are not sleeping in their own beds. 99% of their STUFF is in a storage shed down the street. Their dogs are in a kennel down the street. They are anticipating starting over at new schools where they don’t know anyone. They no longer have cable/satellite TV. Life has changed as they know it. Drastically! And we are not certain of the future.

The buyer of our home is trying to work things out with the lender but it’s going to take a month or more. The seller of the home we are under contract to buy is uncertain that our home will sell so we can buy his home. He is waiting for it to close before he moves out now.

We can’t define expectations. We don’t know what to expect.

We continue to putter around in a house that is not our home, without our creature comforts stuff , seemingly stuck in the muck the rest of the summer.Totally lost.

School started the week before last here. Daddy and I were determined the kids were going to attend school in this new district, and so we sent them to new schools. We decided that change was not an option.

Our old and new homes are supposed to close this Friday {please, oh please!}. If that happens, we will stay with my parents until September 15 and then finally be able to move into our new home. Fi-na-ly!

At that point, we’ll work on crafting our new normal and settling our new nest.

What does this have to do with ADHD? Well, a lot as you can well imagine. My little man needs clearly defined expectations and always needs to know what is coming next and when. This sort of paralyzing muck could be catastrophic. And yet, it wasn’t.

Ricochet has done remarkably well. He never once asked me to go get a specific toy out of the storage shed {thank goodness, it would not have been possible}. He never once cried for his own room or his own bed. He didn’t seem to mourn the loss of what he knew.

I can’t say it has transpired without incident though. He has been more emotional than usual. I probably have too. He had a full-blown meltdown in the Dairy Queen Sunday when Grandma and Papaw took their grandkids for a treat. He had a small emotional meltdown when I walked him into school on the second day, nervous about the unknown, afraid he’d be in trouble a lot there just like his old school.

But we’ve worked through all these things. We are so lucky that Grandma and Papaw work to truly understand Ricochet and accept him for who he is. I have worked with his teacher to help him settle at school and we have our first IEP meeting at the new school today. We have taken some mini road trips the last few weekends visiting IKEA and a water park. We are working together to get out of the muck before we sink too deeply.

In the end, the new house will be fantastic for Ricochet… and the whole family. This is a real neighborhood, with level paved streets to walk and ride bikes on. There is a small playground and many kids in the neighborhood.  We will have a fenced yard that is the perfect scenario to send Ricochet outside to play, to run, to be a 9-year-old boy! Oh, how I we all can’t wait until September 15!

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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Related posts:

adhd and stress, caregiver stress, dealing with relatives, emotional, gratitude, parenting/FAMILY, routines, school refusal, self-awareness, self-regulation ·

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. Melindazack says:

    My son and I too are going through this period of transition.  We moved to Arizona this last year for a teaching job. I loved the job and was loved by my coworkers.  However, my son was in a complete meltdown.  He has ADD and a tic disorder among other challenges.  The poor kiddo was so sad about the loss of his friends, home, and familiarity that he started some very self destructive tics.  It started with him licking his chin which became very chapped and bleed, then it went to throat clearing nonstop, and then to licking his arm which also became very chapped and sore.  We ended up coming back to sunny southern CA and he has not had a tic since we have been here.  Allelujah!!!!!!  It has however put us in a tricky situation of having to rent a room in a home with all of our things in storage and me driving 100 miles a day to get him back and forth to his old school and friends and me to work.  It will all be worth it as we move into our new home Saturday and I begin working again this time as a subsitute teacher as there are no permanent positions for elementary teachers in CA. 
    I wish you and your family the best as you begin these new adventures.  Know that you are not alone in your stuggles.  I appreciate that you share your stories with us on how you manage your daily challenges with your family.

    Reply
  2. Dee says:

    You know, I can totally relate to this, although from an entirely different event and a different time in our lives.  After Katrina, we were nomads, first living with my mother-in-law in Atlanta, then in a rental in New Orleans, and finally back in our house.  It was a 2-year journey, and we didn’t know that Dylan had ADHD, although we did approach a child psychologist at one point.  It was rough, and Dylan did miss his creature comforts/stuff.  Of course, they weren’t in storage – they were wet, waterlogged, and mildewed, never to be used again. 

    I wonder how we would go through all that now that we know he has ADHD and we (or at least I) have learned so much.  Maybe better?  Maybe no different at all? 

    I’ve also been thinking about “naming” Dylan.  I do worry about future friends finding my blog and learning more about him than he’s ready to share.  I’m not sure how I feel about it right now and I don’t think he would understand the implications if we discussed it.  I need to think some more about it…and think of an appropriate pseudonym if I go that route.  That said, if I’m open and honest about who I am, it wouldn’t take too much for someone to figure out who I was writing about.  Questions, questions.

    So happy you will be settling down again soon!

    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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