There’s so much I wish for 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; 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, remember their homework (and underwear, for that matter). Boys who pick up on social cues and know when to stop trying so hard with people, who know when to quiet down or back off.
I’m doing everything I can to help my ADHD son find his way in this world, and there’s so much I want for him.
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.
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 that 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.
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 is 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.
I hope he never loses his ability to always — and I mean always — look at the bright side of things. To very rarely let this chaotic and oftentimes cruel world get him down. To continue trying to get others to look at the bright side too. “You should relax more, Mom. You look prettier when you smile.”
I want him to always challenge the “norm.” Whether it be 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.
I truly hope he finds a partner who loves him for all his grandness. For the way he thinks, “This is fun! Let’s make it even better!” For the way he smiles when he is teasing — lopsided and big. For the way he says the sweetest things when you least expect it like, “You smell like love.” I hope they, too, will understand and embrace a life of messiness, a life of everything that is the opposite of conventional “normalcy.” I hope they never lose sight of all the positives. The joy, the unwavering love, the commitment to making everything just a little bit bigger — and better.
I hope he knows how much he’s loved. I’m not always the best parent. Not always calm in the face of nonstop 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.
But most of all, 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 a lot of letting go — of rigid routines, of what is “normal” and what “should” be done. It comes with easing up and simply embracing the moment.