There’s so much I wish for with all of my boys. Happiness, peace, love, laughter, lasting friendships; all the usual things parents want for their children. But I worry more about my oldest who has ADHD. The world can be cruel, and people can be mean. Not everyone understands him or cares to take the time to try. I have more fear about his future than my other boys; boys who can sit still in class and remember their homework (and underwear for that matter). Boys who pick up on social cues, know when to stop trying so hard with people and know when to quiet down or back off.
I’m doing everything I can to help my son with ADHD find his way in this world. There’s so much I want for him.
1. I want him to never give up his silly side just to fit in. I want him to be confident enough to continue to dance like a deranged chicken, to sing loudly and laugh, even when he knows he has the words wrong.
2. I want him to never stop doodling — even if it is in school. I love the wonderful pictures he creates in the margins of his notebook even if there are more pictures than words. I’d rather look at this talent than read an essay I know was torture for him to get down on paper because he had to sit and focus for 45 minutes to get that one paragraph done.
3. I hope he never loses his empathy for others. He and his brother fight like the dickens, but if his baby brother is in harm’s way, there is no better protector on this planet than my son. If someone is being made fun of, he’s the kid who will befriend the underdog and try to make him feel better. He’s the one who will use his own money to buy extra sour candies to share with his friends, not to get them to like him, but because sharing makes him happy.
4. I hope he never loses his ability to always (and I mean always) look at the bright side of things. To continue trying to get others to look at the bright side when he says things like, “You should relax more, Mom. You look prettier when you smile.”
5. I want him to always challenge the “norm,” whether if it’s refusing to wear matching socks (because that’s boring), to writing his English paper on how the song, “Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows,” makes him happy.
6. I truly hope he finds a woman to love him for all his grandness. For the way he thinks, “This is fun! Let’s make it even better!” For his lopsided and big smiles when he teases. For the way he says the sweetest things when you least expect it like, “You smell like love.” I hope she understands and embraces a life of messiness, a life of everything that is the opposite of conventional “normalcy.” I hope she never loses sight of all the positives. The joy, the unwavering love and commitment to making everything just a little bit bigger — and better.
7. I hope he knows how much he’s loved. I’m not always the best parent. Not always calm in the face of non-stop singing and fidgeting. Not always understanding about the messy room (usually messy within 10 minutes of just cleaning it). And I don’t always say the right thing at the right time. But I love him. I love his smile, his heart, his unconventional ways. He makes me laugh, he makes me feel, he makes me think. He has changed my life for the better in so many ways. I want him to always know how completely he owns my heart.
8. Finally, I want him to be happy. More than anything, happy. And in writing this, if my son has taught me anything, it’s that happiness comes with letting go a little of routines. Easing up on the “should do’s” and simply enjoying the moment. And smiling — because we all look prettier when we smile.