Let It Go!

November 30th, 2015

2012Now that we all have that song stuck in our heads… it’s time to let it go. Of what am I letting go, exactly? Let me open a small window into my life. Many of you don’t know me personally. For those who don’t know, I have a 10-year-old. He has ADHD.

For a long time, it was hard for me to accept that my little boy was not just being a little boy. I heard it from what seemed like everyone – I wasn’t doing enough to discipline him. And for a long time, I wondered how my parenting skills were lacking, and why I couldn’t get him to just sit still. He was constantly running. Fidgeting. Didn’t understand personal space – at all. I begged and pleaded with him to stay still. Step away from people. The judgment and (sometimes condescending) “words of advice” from others drove me further into beating myself up. I was embarrassed by my son’s behavior, and didn’t know what to do about it. Emotionally and mentally drained, I almost gave up on my son altogether. I had done it all – timeouts, reward charts, redirection, and yes, even spanking. None of these affected my son long-term. I started to believe that I just wasn’t cut out to be a mom. Why would God give me a son, if I wasn’t right for this job?

God makes no mistakes.

Not everyone was this way, but it ate at me so much that it was all that I could hear. It was after a serious talk with someone from his school, many, many tears, and “why can’t my kid be normal” rants to my best friends, that I took down the wall of denial and made appointments for him to be seen by specialists. It took a loving and concerned word of someone who wasn’t even close to me at the time telling me that I am not to blame, and I wasn’t doing parenting wrong. There was more to this story than I could see at that time.

He was diagnosed with ADHD.

Before you jump on the “imaginary medical condition” train, I invite you to spend one day with my son in a classroom setting without any medication. It isn’t an easy task. (Thank you and God bless those of you who have done this and shown your love for him through it.) And let me tell you what it was like to go through the process of diagnosis.

It was the hardest thing to accept a label on my son. You don’t know how hard it was to take those steps into that first appointment. It was even harder to give him a medication that I knew had side effects that weren’t good for him. Here I was, a mother, giving her kid chemicals. And that little boy, trusting that his mother wouldn’t do anything to harm him. I felt the strongest pangs of guilt. But what was I to do? I had run out of avenues, and my son wasn’t outgrowing the hyperactivity and inattention.

To be honest, it was like I had spent 7 years stuck under water, unable to breathe. I was given the possibility of oxygen, but under some difficult circumstances.

I let it go. My kid has a label. He has ADHD.

With each appointment I’ve attended, each article I’ve read, each coping mechanism I’ve learned about, each kind and encouraging word from friends, family, teachers, and even near (to perfect) strangers I’ve heard in the last 3 1/2 years, it’s like being given a bigger breathing tube. I can breathe, knowing there are people, things, resources, other parents – all dedicated to this, and helping my son grow into a strong Christian man.

The issue with all of what I had thought before was this: Having ADHD isn’t a bad thing. Yes, he struggles. Yes, we struggle. It isn’t easy. But we are all under so much pressure in society to be “normal,” that mothers (I) spend nights awake worrying about how “not normal” their child has been created. We need to stop worrying about what’s normal, and just love those God has entrusted to us. Again, God makes no mistakes… He’s got this.

If you look past the fact that he wiggles a lot, you will see a boy who loves to dance.

If you look past his struggle to hold a full conversation, you will see a boy who is excited to know you and wants to be your friend.

If you look past the song he sings over and over – sometimes all 18 minutes on the way to school, you will see a boy with a beautiful singing voice.

If you look past his struggle to put words on paper, you will find a boy with a colorful imagination who has a lot of funny stories to tell.

As of right now, my son will tell you that he wants to be a “mall cop.” I have discouraged this… because I want him to reach his full potential. There are so many better jobs, after all. He continues to insist that he wants to be a mall cop. I have spent too much time thinking about this… wondering what I can do to get him to change his mind.

Then… I started working at a kiosk in the mall. One day, I watched a mall cop whiz by on a segway. (Well, as much “whizzing” as can be done on a segway.) This man broke up a fight that had started next to my kiosk. That’s when it hit me… I was being incredibly judgmental. Someone needs to do that job. And that’s the moment that I let it go. If my son still wants to do that in 8 years, I will support him. If being a mall cop is what will make him feel like he’s making a difference, I’ll stand behind him.

I don’t like to say that there’s something “wrong” with my son. God makes no mistakes, and my mini-munkie isn’t a mistake in the slightest. I believe God allows everything for a reason, and I believe that he was given to me to keep me from judging others and to show me how to love those around me. On top of all of that, I have learned a lot about a specific topic. I’ve studied ADHD in attempt to make my child’s life better. And I’ve read a lot… but there’s no studying something like having it sit next to you every day for 10 years. So no, ADHD is no longer a negative thing in my life.

My son is a loving, compassionate young man. He is someone who will say hi every time he sees you in church because you spent an hour playing video games with him 3 years ago. He will split his cookie in half, because he only has one and his mom might want some of it. He loves God, wants to be included in things the adults are doing, and won’t hesitate to play with kids much younger than him. He will ask if you’re okay, and tell you about the ring he got out of a quarter machine for his mom – the one he loves “because it’s orange… it looks like the sand in Jerusalem.” He will remember your name, and won’t let you forget about a joke the two of you shared 2 years ago.

I’m not done letting things go. There are so many things that have happened and will happen with my son that I will worry and stress about. But then God will put something in my path that tells me to let it go.

So… of what I am letting go? Control. God is in control, He knows what He’s doing, and I need to trust that He’s got it.

I am blessed with a wonderful young man in my life. When it comes down to it, he is a boy who wants to love, and be loved in return. He just has some obstacles in life. We all do. Some people’s obstacles are just more visible than others.

May God bless you.

♥️