May I Have Your Attention, Please?
We work hard to get what we feel we deserve. When we’re born we begin as someone’s daughter; some of us are sisters. We are always referred to as an attachment; rarely are we recognized as individuals. Our identity is tied to someone else from the very beginning of life. When we grow up and marry, we become a wife. We become Mothers, then we're Mommy. You have no idea how many times I’ve been to school or out in public and hear, “Hey Jamison’s Mommy!” It’s crazy. I want to be recognized as Linette first, then daughter, wife and Mother…We just naturally morph into those other roles before our individual one. It happens so easily. Not necessarily the attention or recognition we want initially, but it happens.
Attention. It’s what we desire, work, and strive to gain. We struggle to get it, we don’t know how to obtain it or maintain it once we’ve gained it. In our home, getting and keeping attention is difficult. My husband and I are natural leaders; school, athletics, church, and community. The way our family’s lives are set and positions we hold, we attract a lot of attention. Attention gained, obtained and/or maintained, is like gold to some; to others it can be a struggle. In this area, attention, one very significant struggle we’ve had for 4 years now, is hearing the dreadful label of ADHD from our pediatrician. I say label (technically it’s a diagnosis) because labels can be removed and in my mind, this “condition” will be removed one day! I believe that. It's one we’ve fought against, cried over and desperately tried to remedy. Our son was diagnosed in first grade. His impulsivity created issues academically and behaviorally in the classroom. We didn't know what to do to help him. We didn’t see the same behavior at home. I researched the disorder, medications, therapies, and ways to help with no success. I didn’t have what I felt was needed to help the world see my baby for the successful, intelligent, beautiful soul I knew he was.
Class, Raise Your Hand When Your Name Is Called
We caved. We had to, as a quick solution for school. I cried. The medication worked, but his personality was soon fading. He wouldn't talk as much or really smile. He finally told us he didn’t like the way his medicine made him feel. That was so hard to hear. Were we doing the right thing? Riddled with guilt, we contradicted ourselves daily as we gave him medicine. I began to believe we were stealing his individuality and self expression away from him. Currently, we’re looking to switch his prescription once again. We tried weaning him completely, but it’s a struggle. It’s harder for us. Since being on medication, we’re so accustomed to the chill version during the day, the unmedicated JC can be overwhelming. There are many hours spent crying, wondering why... trying to understand. It's heavy, but we continue to try though, I promise!! Our choices are tough. All he wants is to be happy and himself. Literally, all we want are three simple, yet powerful words: our little boy. Only we know the real him, and we want him all the time.
As a Mother, you always hope your life choices don't adversely affect your children. I want him to be EVERYTHING he’s called to be. I prayed for that. I want him ready for life. When the adult roll call of life gets to his name, I want him to be able to raise his hand and say, “Here!” Through all the pharmacy delays and debacles, health scares that render us emotionally drained, we push through. Through the days he zones out during instruction time at school and can’t remember how to do homework, I try to keep it together. I think of all the times I’ve heard him say, "You don't love me. Everybody hates me!” Discouragement hovers over him like a drone at over the high wire act in a Circus. It waits to zoom in at the most inopportune moment and causes a fall. I am helpless. His words haunt me daily. I know he feels misunderstood. I know he believes that all the restrictions we put on him that halt his type of "happy," is just everyone's way of being mean. I know he thinks we are awful, because we lose it. We try so hard to keep it together, but we struggle with our own minds and handling it! We only want him to be safe, accepted and successful in a world that’s hard to navigate for him right now. When you see your child exhibit a "follower mentality" that’s been groomed by what you feel is a breaking of his spirit, it’s crushing. He wants to fit in and at times, he makes poor choices. His cries of, "I want attention too, Mommy!” echo when we stop to focus on his sister for even a little bit. It’s bananas.
Real Life Pinky Promises
For other Moms like me, who may have children with any type of issue, diagnosis or label, people may never know the struggles before work, school, during sports, church or at family functions. It’s hard to understand. For me, I see a rambunctious, beautiful, 10 year old who loves God, video games and his family; he blows kisses, makes pinky promises to do better and gives amazing hugs. Others see a difficult, sometimes rebellious child. We remind him daily of God’s love, our love, boundaries and appropriate behavior, but it doesn't always stick. It is A LOT to deal with and it puts a strain on our entire family. We’re believers, but truthfully, we have our days of doubt. We’re human, SURPRISE!
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, I think of this amazing journey called Motherhood. I want to push through life for my little ones, but I just get distracted; we all do. It's hard to admit, but it's exhausting sometime. Real talk, it's hard. When I almost get to the hands up, I give, moments, I hear God saying, "May I have YOUR attention, please?" I struggle with my response from time to time, but this is what I tell Him, because I trust He understands my tone and intent, "I'm working on it, God. I promise; I pinky promise. The train of life is moving, and I have our ticket. We’ve missed it a few times, but we're hopping on at the next stop. Don’t give up on me, God!” Good thing God’s patient, right?