From the time I first laid eyes on my baby, I've been in love. As an infant he was calm & full of smiles. Our entire family was smitten by Bobby's big brown eyes and adorable brown curls. He was a "Gerber baby" and we knew the future was bright. It didn't take too many years to realize that all was not going to be smiles & perfection however. Our 4th baby, beautiful as he was & is, bounced to a faster beat. Every naughty "phase" we'd ever heard of, Bobby went through. He grew into a challenging & defiant ball of energy, few could keep up with. Between the 5 of us, (3 older siblings, Dad and Mom) we divided the work load, and it was manageable.
Then, one by one, the older children headed off to college, marriage & new beginnings, leaving us behind with our busy guy. In some ways, as he got older, we saw maturity and improvement, but in other ways we were still in over our heads. Curious by nature, he took apart more household and outdoor "stuff" than we could keep up with. He loved spray paint, hammers & saws. He thrived on dumping shampoo, lotion and gel containers on the carpet. And, before one jumps to the conclusion we slept as this all took place...we have to remember his lightning speed. One second he was playing quietly right in the room with us and the next second he had something apart on the floor in another room. Each episode blurrs into another today, but the overwhelming feelings of failing as a parent smothered me just after Bobby turned nine.
Just before Christmas one year ago he wasn't doing anything particularly awful but I had reached a point of despair dealing with his constant impulsivity & hyperactivity. I was depleated. We were in a public setting with friends and as Bobby darted away from my side, randomly grabbing things around the room. I suddenly felt like I was going to be sick & the room began spinning. He was talking about everything and nothing & didn't stand still more than 5 seconds before darting off to something else. I didn't have the coping skills I needed for this. Not wanting anyone to see my tears I took his hand firmly and left for the car. As we drove I cried and he sat quietly. As we drove I dialed directory assistance and got the number for a well-respected family friend, Dr. Marlow, PhD. I knew he had the tools but didn't think before this point, that I needed them. I left a message hoping with all my heart I could get some help before I had one more crisis to face.
As I neared the door to Dr. Marlow's office, for my first visit, the thoughts were swirling in my head. "I just wimped out." "He's going to think I'm crazy." "I can quit after this first visit!" Was I ever wrong. I knew after the first 30 minutes I had come to the right office and the tools I needed WERE THERE. It took months for me to believe I was not a "bad" parent and that my son was not a "bad" child. We were both doing what we could with the tools we had & that was about to change. My time was not wasted & for this I'm extremely thankful.
The path to a healthy self-esteem is not short or easy. My doctor guided me through many steps, including getting healthier myself. I began to exercise again, eat more healthfully & in time, my smile returned.
I know that my experience is not isolated. ADHD is misunderstood & extremely difficult & painful to deal with. Bobby isn't easy to raise nor are the thousands of other "Bobby's" in the world! I'm choosing now to look at it differently & blogging is just one more step. If I laugh, the days are shorter. Thank you Dr. Marlow, for assessing my needs & sharing with me just the right tools and I thank God for strength to go the next 10 years, one day at a time.