I never read the book, saw the movie, or heard the song, in case you were wondering (The Agony and the Ecstasy).
But I live it every day. With Clark, the ADHD Wonder Kid.
Clark, age 15.5, has progressed slowly, with maturity. We still count as our best days the types of days other parents read about and say, “Oh, my kid does that sometimes.” Well, our other four do, too, sometimes (for more on that, see below).
Example: NOTE — YOU CAN CLICK TO ENLARGE ANY OF THE IMAGES IN THIS BLOG, THEN USE THE BACK BUTTON ON YOUR BROWSER TO RETURN TO YOUR PLACE IN THIS POST. SOME OF THEM NEED TO BE ENLARGED TO BE READ. AND YOU’LL WANT TO READ THEM!
For those of you with younger ADHD kids, you know how much progress this text exchange represents.
Consider, too, Clark’s progress socially and in school activities. He did not have a single friend during middle school. Watching him try to interact with kids his age was like watching Pepe Le Pew, the little skunk from Looney Toons; the kids scattered away from Clark like his odd behaviors were a foul stench.
When he entered high school, he matured just enough that he leveraged his talents (theater) with his brain (genius IQ, like many of your kids) and his let’s-call-them-quirky traits (thanks a lot, ADHD) and found a niche: debate. As a sophomore first year debater, he blew us all away with his dramatic, aggressive, freaky intelligent, and ADHD-like style. See “Not Up For Debate.” In this, his first year, he missed qualifying for the state tournament (Texas “5A”) with his cross examination partner by 1 vote. He even found a girlfriend in debate.
Yet, our struggles with academics and LIFE continue to challenge us, with Clark, like those with none of our four other neuro-typical kids ever did; sure, they had rare Clark-like days and dished out their own problems, but…all four together were easier than Clark. Note in the first text to Eric, above, I don’t ask about our two teenage girls, and I didn’t edit that part out. They are fine, and I know it. Clark is…Clark.
The hardest issues day by day remain turning in homework, truthfulness, and following instructions. We can’t tell whether it is intentional when we ask him to put up his clothes, he promises he will, and then he does not. All we know is that with 100% certainty, he will not do it unless we stand and watch until he finishes the task, whereas our other kids with 75% certainty will eventually do it when asked. Is this part of the present-orientation that drives us mad — the inability to take seriously future consequences for behavioral choices, because they aren’t RIGHT NOW? Or is it defiance by a kid who knows that he can wear us down? Occasionally, our frustration shows.
So, I’m about to give you a 100% unedited look into our life when we get frustrated — the electronic evidence, if you will — because it so clearly demonstrates that agony/ecstasy of ADHD parenting, and what our ADHD teenager is like. The reason it is all caught electronically is we text when I travel. I don’t travel much, but I happened to travel at exactly the right times to catch a trail that I thought might resonate out there with you ADHD mom readers. I hope it helps at least a few of you!
Have a great week,
Pamela aka Clark’s Mom
Homework, organization, honesty, iPads, staying up all night, debate, girlfriends, driver’s ed, butting heads with parents (and calling them assholes!)…worry about substance abuse…and soon we have college apps. The more it changes, the more it stays the same. Hang on for the beautiful ride, friends.
Signing out — Pamela aka Clark’s Mom
p.s. My husband Eric wants to get this on the record: he read The Agony and The Ecstasy; in my book, that makes him an intellectual!
p.p.s. We did not hear from Clark again until he called from an unfamiliar number to let us know he “had left Dallas” and would be in the parking lot of his high school…in 15 minutes…