Have you ever sat with people when they drone on and on about how wonderful their children are? Don’t you feel like rolling your eyes in the back of your head? All you can think about is what brats they are or how delusional the person is talking to you about them. Don’t worry, I don’t mean YOUR kids, they are perfectly wonderful in that special way only YOU can love. But that is YOUR kids, mine are extraordinary special – and not in that “special needs” way Chicken Hawk teases me about. I have learned a lot from my kids this summer, and the best part is, summer is only half over!
I spent the day with Chatterbox yesterday, running errands and keeping appointments. It is no secret that Chatterbox is ADHD but is on meds for it. THANK GOD is all I can say, because when the meds wear off she is EXHAUSTINGLY ACTIVE! It was something we always lived with. We treated it with tools and strategies they worked for our family for a long time. Once she entered Junior High, she came to me and said, I think it is time I go on medication for my ADHD. Wow. What 12 year old has THAT kind of insight? She has a really good friend who also has ADHD and they would talk about what it is like and her friend offered to have her mom talk to me about it. WOW – What 12 year old can find support like that? Working in a field where I deal with children with special needs, I knew the procedure and what to expect. It was educating other people that was more difficult. I found family members didn’t want to believe that Chatterbox needed meds. I laugh now because of the complete difference it made in her. But at the time, it was a niggly worry in the back of my head if I was doing the right thing. I do know if you are NOT ADHD and you take meds to treat it, you will be either a zombie or so freaking hyper your family will need to restrain you. That is the easiest test. We got Chatterbox on meds and suddenly without warning, a mature teenager emerged out of the crazy, impulsive, exhausting child.
Chatterbox can explain to you exactly what it was like before meds and what it is like for her now. It did not change her personality in anyway. What it did do was gave her clarity to focus on what is really important to her. Chatterbox, at the age of 13, is a goal setter. Think about what you liked to do when you were 13. Were you looking far into your future and laying out steps on how you were going to get there? Me neither. I was in 42 before I really looked carefully and started setting smart goals.
Since Chatterbox was little, she has always wanted to be a star, like a Disney Channel Star. She knows she needs music, acting and dance to do that. Being the poor mom that I am, I can’t afford dance for Chatterbox. We have found music activities that are affordable and have been able to send her to those. The lack of dance instruction has not deterred Chatterbox. She wants to be on the Cheer Squad in High School, and not one of those girls who lift the other girls. She wants to be on top! So every day, since last year, Chatterbox practices doing the splits. Each week she can go farther. She is centimeters away from achieving that goal and high school is still 2 years away. AMAZING!
Chatterbox set goals to bring her marks up from mediocre to honours….and did it. She seems to understand the value of small steps to achieving greatness. This amazes me as I struggle with setting goals myself. Genetic Offspring decided to join the party this summer and set a few goals for himself. I have seen a tremendous change in my 15 year old son as he attempts to be more spontaneous and puts his shyness away to talk to strangers. On our Banff trip this summer, Genetic Offspring went to the top of Sulfur Mountain Observatory without me, met a couple from Germany and struck up a conversation with them. Later at dinner, he talked to the waiter about living in Banff and what it was like. He has goals of going to school at the Banff Center for one semester to take music to offset his science career. He wanted to know what it was like and how feasible it is. I know how hard it was for him. The more he talks to strangers, the easier it is getting for him. I can see the pride growing in him as he achieves his goals. His current goal is writing a novel. He has let me read some of it. Again, all I can say is WOW. I think back to when I was 15 and all I was worried about was getting a boyfriend. Goals never occurred to me.
I sit and listen to Chatterbox and Genetic Offspring’s friends, and hear the goal setting topics that get passed around. It astounds me that teenagers are so focused on their future. I had one of those “woulda coulda shoulda” moments and wish I was that focused when I was their age. It would have saved me a lot of pain and heart ache I am going through now.
At the appointment yesterday with the gal who monitors Chatterbox’s meds, my daughter mentioned the change in me. She said goals helped me be happier. She has noticed I am not as funny as I was “in the old” days, nor do I laugh as much as I use to, but I am getting better. She recognizes that I haven’t been all that happy this year and that it has been hard for me. HOLY CRAP! You cannot hide a THING from this kid!
She wishes I would find things funny again. Wow Chatterbox, I wish that too. It’s coming. I find it easier to make people laugh than to laugh myself. Genetic Offspring said on the trip to Banff,
All paths deserve to be walked on.
That to me is very profound. I have been trying out various different paths. Some I prefer more than others. I need to figure out how to achieve a goal of laughing more. I promise to work on that Chatterbox.