He Sounds Just Like Ben



…Jakey, Zachey, Noah, Benja…

I am a mother in search of answers, support, ease for my son. So I reach out to all the smart mothers I know, and some who I don’t know, but who are sent to me from the smart ones I do…and I tell them about my son. And they tell me he sounds just like theirs.

Quick to temper.   Conceptually brilliant.  Can’t sit still. Having trouble with handwriting. Can’t get the ideas out fast enough. Talks fast. Moves fast. Loves fidget toys in school, even keeps a fidget kit in his desk. Finds adults much easier to connect to than kids his own age. The few friends he has I tend and nurture (through parents and fun activities), so as to reinforce the relationship. In the classroom he is slow to engage with other kids, likes to stick by the teacher.

ADHD, ODD, Dyslexia. Those are the letters and words the tests have put to describe the outward experience of the inward processing my son possesses. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. (We are super high on the “H”). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Dyslexia – the words moving all over the page and letters reversing themselves in mid-air. A psychiatrist once described it to me as the adult experience of walking into a cocktail party. You look around, trying to figure out where to go, where to hang your coat. You have that mild anxiety about whether anyone will talk to you or if you will have a good time or if your dress is on straight. My son, he walks the world this way, trying to sort through the cues and clues of his environment, uncertain at any given moment how it will settle into a pattern that yields a clear route to the next step. It’s like there’s no hostess at his cocktail party helping to move him from door to hors d’ouvres, interrupting an-already-in-process-conversation to include him in it.

We cannot always play that role, us mothers. These boys, we have to instill in them some kind of captain, ceo, hostess type who will help them to have a plan, regulate, follow through. It ain’t easy, I tell you. Mostly I just want to compensate, infiltrate, do it for him. Comes from a place of wanting him to have ease. I am pretty certain, however, that in the long run it will backfire on him and me. He will talk about me in therapy because I coddled; I filtered; I intercepted. Disallowing him the opportunity to try.

Disability, disease, disorders – that’s their greatest crime – robbing the opportunity to try.

©Gabriella Strecker, 2016