My kid has ADD. To be more specific, ADHD. Which means not only can he not focus on his schoolwork (or brushing his teeth...eating his dinner...completing a sentence) he also physically cannot sit still for longer than 0.5 seconds. Unless, of course, he’s reading a book about space or watching Discovery channel. He comes from a long, proud line of dorks.
We’ve tried the medication thing, we’ve tried the therapy touchy-feely thing, we’ve tried natural remedies and diet modification, and still if he’s left alone he will run around in aimless circles for pure enjoyment’s sake.
In fact, last night as I was writing on my porch, he was supposed to be in his room doing his homework. I could see him through the back window (although at first he was unaware of this) and his door was shut, so I know he wasn’t performing for his sister, either.
For a full five minutes I watched in complete astonishment as he directed a concert with his pencil, made ‘airplane arms’ and flew around his room, drummed on his desk with said pencil and an eraser, made funny faces at himself in the reflection from the window, and turned around backwards in his chair to ride it like a horsey.
After a very long week of teacher/counselor/diagnostician conferences, sitting in class with him every morning to help get him on track (try writing paranormal romance surrounded by 7-year-olds sometime…it’s no cake walk), and various other school-related issues, I truly did not know whether to laugh or cry at this behavior.
On the one hand, it truly disturbs me that he cannot – cannot – force himself to focus. I know he wants to be a good student, and I know he wants to make his very sweet, very capable, very tired teacher happy. But he honestly has no control over his little body, and I want desperately to find a way to help him.
Yet as I sat there watching his performance last night, I began to wonder if maybe we should all be a little more like him. He is so enthralled with the beauty of the current moment, that the idea of responsibilities and chores go right out the window. The happiness he feels at zooming around the room is so complete that his little brain just forgets there is anything else. A chair-horsey becomes his reality, and the huge smile on his face tells me that while there might be some kind of chemical short-circuit going on in his head, his little spirit is completely intact and functioning beautifully.
What if we all had a little bit of that in us? What if we took a moment to just stop and fly around the room? Aside from possibly getting fired, would it really hurt anything? We would not cease to be responsible, upstanding adults if we relished the thought of a tent made of sheets or a pencil-led concerto. In fact, it could very well make us better human beings.
We’re still searching for the answer for my son, because no matter how much I want to nurture that beautiful, creative, spontaneous spirit, he will have to learn at some point to balance it out at least a little bit if he is to function in today’s society. That makes me kind of sad, to be honest, but it’s the way things are.
So while I’m looking for a way to help him learn to control and better distribute his fantastic natural gifts, I am also looking for a way to help myself let go and honor my own more often.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make some airplane arms.