Loving my ADD Girl


I was cooking dinner and thinking about six or seven ideas at once. Do we really want to host a July 4th cookout as our grill is close to death? How much is 1/4 cup of olive oil, without actually measuring? Why is it so hard to get motivated in the summer to go to the gym? (You get the idea) I was in full on multi-task mode, and in walks Emma.

.….and so I just give them different names because I don’t really like to use my diary as a real diary. Instead I write stories about things that happen and turn the people into animals. Like, um………….

Silence, while she tries to remember what she was about to tell me. Patience, Debi, patience.

um, I mean……… Wait. What was I saying?

Something about changing people’s names? What are you talking about anyway?

We both look at each other. Blink, blink. I see her little wheels furiously turning in her head to grab that fleeting thought and pull it front and center. Almost…… Almost……. Ah-a! It comes flooding back in her eyes!

My diary, mom! But I’m not using it as a diary, like I was telling you. I write stories instead And then I make my friends animals in the stories, but  I change their names, so no one would know who it  really was if they found my diary and read it and-Hey! THAT’S where I left my purse! I’ve been looking all over for…….

And off she wanders leaving me to regroup my thoughts and continue cooking, while she mumbles to herself. Bless her. Bless me. It’s not easy to be a 10-year-old girl whose mind wanders all the time. She gets in trouble for zoning out when she’s been told to brush her teeth. She is regularly overwhelmed by the disastrous state of her bedroom. She feels embarrassed when  her teacher has to call her name to get her refocused during class.  It’s not easy to be the mom of an ADHD child either. There are the practical struggles of constant messes and lost items. There are the worries about medicating vs. not medicating. Weighing information about gluten and food dyes, sugar, sleep, and all the other newest science to decide what is best for my child. Concerns about testing performance and her self esteem. Frustrations with homework time that is supposed to take one hour, but takes her two because she just can’t focus for one. more. minute. Bless her.

But, here is what I have learned by getting to be Emma Joy’s mama: for every obstacle her little brain encounters God has given her a beautiful strength to balance it. Disorganized, yes. But creative and artistic too. Forgetful certainly, but deeply caring and concerned about her friends and family. Lack of focus on a daily basis, but the most sensitive and sweet spirit toward Jesus. Spelling tests are crazy hard, but science clicks.

You know what else I’ve learned: I am one impatient mom. I suppose I have always been this way, but my other kids were able to get in “my groove” so I never really saw it. Emma cannot find the state where my groove is located. And it drives me crazy  if I’m honest. I hate that about myself but it’s given me the chance to grow, as a mom and a woman. Sometimes in life we just have to meet people where they are because they are doing their very best and it is not going to measure up to our expectation. And my sweet girl has taught me that lesson. Also to focus my attention when I’m with her instead of multi-tasking so often. She does better when I am making eye contact. And when did it become okay to surf Facebook instead of look your child in the face while they’re talking  anyway? So I cannot say I’m grateful she has to deal with this issue her whole life, but I AM thankful for the ways it is making me into the mama I know God wants me to be.

Reading her newest library book with her favorite companion, Welly.

Reading her newest library book with her favorite companion, Welly.

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