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Boast Post

October 22, 2015

Sometimes social media posts about children’s accomplishments can come across as the modern version of “My Child Is An Honor Student” bumper stickers.  Understandably proud, but also more than a little boastful, topped with a healthy dose of self-congratulation.

I’m guilty.  I love sharing my kiddos’ highlights.  It feels good as a parent to give your children a public shout-out for a job well done.  But for me, there’s another layer to it: relief.

Our son, now a freshman in high school, has not always had a highlight reel to share.  There were many times I would read about his peers getting good grades, or excelling in a team sport, or having fun with their friends…and I would feel a very un-Facebook-worthy emotion: envy.

You see, Miles has ADHD.  Not the “a little trouble focusing” or “has a tough time sitting still” kind.  The HOLY CRAP OFF THE CHARTS LIFE ALTERING INTENSE EXHAUSTING EVERY DAY IS A CHALLENGE kind.  And then some.

There were many years spent bracing for parent-teacher conferences.  Many times I cringed when I saw the familiar school office phone number show up on my phone.  Plenty of nights my husband and I cried and prayed and wondered how to help our son have a normal life.

We watched him struggle in school, grapple with social situation, push our patience beyond limits we’d ever known.  Our hearts broke as we witnessed the overwhelming emotions he experienced and the frustration he felt when his behavior seemed out of control.  Some teachers “got” him.  Some REALLY didn’t.  Some peers stuck by him.  Some grew tired of his over the top antics and withdrew.

We held him through tears and tantrums.  We advocated for him through conferences and meetings.  And we finally, after several years of resistance, decided to follow his doctor’s advice and try medication.

The results were immediate and dramatic.  We asked ourselves why we hadn’t made the decision sooner.  The guilt over medicating evolved into the guilt over not having medicated sooner.  Miles was able to control his impulses and focus in a way we had never thought possible.  Every second of every day was no longer a struggle for him to maintain control.  A word that had previously been blurred beyond recognition suddenly came into sharp focus: HOPE.

It wasn’t an overnight success story.  There were lots of ups and downs.  He grew, he hit puberty, medications had to be adjusted, behavioral therapy had to be adapted.  We had good days and bad days.  We learned to take deep breaths when Miles was home and unmedicated.  We coached him on organization and study skills and peer interactions.  And we prayed.  Oh, how we prayed.

Grade school came and went, middle school disappeared in a flash…and suddenly there it was: high school.  The final frontier.  The last chance for Miles to mature and develop independent skills to serve him as an adult.  The pressure was on, for him AND for us.  We all took a deep breath and jumped in.

Fast forward to parent-teacher conferences, the first of his high school career.  I felt the old familiar apprehension creeping in.  I braced myself for the other shoe to drop, for the bombshell from a teacher that Miles was struggling or misbehaving.  In other words, I threw faith under the bus and allowed anxiety to take the wheel.

What I learned tonight is that I need to relax, trust, and let Miles do his thing.  Let go and let God, let it be and let Miles be.  Our son is amazing.  He has faced daily challenges that would bring many adults to their knees.  He has overcome more obstacles and worked harder than most people I know.  Life, and school, and friendships, and family relations…they have not been smooth sailing for him.  But MY GOD how he has risen above.

Tonight I heard repeatedly how bright and driven and special our little boy is.  How he’s thriving in high school.  And I wanted to sit down and bawl like a baby.  “Proud” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

So please excuse me if I gloat a bit.  If I overshare and post too often and shout from the rooftops what an incredible kid he is.  He’s freaking EARNED it.  And I, for one, can’t keep that to myself.

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