I don’t talk about this BIG guy much. But in the month that he’s both left home AND turned 21 – I thought I’d put pen to paper to share our journey together. It hasn’t been an easy one.
Back in the day when kids didn’t have ADHD (no-one knew about Executive Function issues) or Asperger’s – he was just ‘that’ naughty kid at school – and I was always seen as the bad Mum.
16 years ago there was no conversation surrounding complex kids and how they presented nor about the importance of early intervention or medical level treatment when it was needed.
There was just shame and blame. And so much judgement. It was awful. School for my son, and life was not a nice place to be. And so I made the decision to move to the big smoke because of it.
It was tough on Jake being ‘that’ kid at school. He got in trouble and blamed for EVERYTHING. Because it kind of paints a target on your back when you’re the impulsive, out there, fearless and hyper kind of kid (with a quick, even smarter mouth). You’re easy to blame because, well, you stand out.
After years of allied health intervention up to the age of FIVE YEARS (which did nothing because no-one knew what they were doing and it was an absolute WASTE of money) I was exhausted. Mentally, physically and emotionally. I was a wreck. And so was he.
An appointment in Brisbane with a specialised Developmental Paediatrician was a game-changer for us – and life-changing for Jake – it truly did save all of our lives.
The decision to trial a Medication to help treat his symptoms – impulsivity, hyperactivity and defiance – was not an easy one. It was the most life changing experience for us all. It’s difficult to put into words the impact that it had.
I often talk about the iceberg affect with parents in my clinic. How the Medication used to treat symptoms of neurodevelopmental conditions, when used conservatively just shaves that top level off the iceberg. Enough so that a child from a highly stimulating home can have improved function every day at school to build their brain. And then have the potential not to need it as an adult like my son, due to that improved function.
All caused by a process described to us by his Paediatrician as ‘neuroplasticity’
But I want to share this letter Jake wrote to me. Because I know it will help many Mums out there struggling along the journey that I have struggled along, for over 20 years now.
Parenting is a tough enough gig. But when you have a child that struggles and needs constant care, well, it is the toughest job around.
“As much as have I blown you off, I know deep down that you are trying to do what is best for me. As you’ve always done.
I know you haven’t had an easy run as my Mum but what matters is that no matter what obstacles or challenges stood in your way, you used your grit, willpower, perseverance and motivation to succeed against them. Those are qualities I admire in you and I hope one day rub off on me.
All the challenges you faced when raising me – standing up for me when no one else would – I know that my success is due to your hard work behind the scenes, and I am so so grateful for that. I know it was hard. And I know I made you cry. A lot.
Thank you for being tough on me – and thank you for being there for me – even on the bad days. The worst ones. I know there were many of those. You showed up. And you showed me how much you loved me. Even on the days when I didn’t love myself very much.
Without you and everything you have done for me, I wouldn’t be where I am today or who I am today. And for this I am forever grateful.
I love you Mum xoxo”
I dedicate this letter to every Mum tearing their hair out with a little one that causes them daily grief, despair and worry.
To every Mum that has a little one who may be slower to progress or who is not meeting this or that milestone.
And to every Mum who has a little one like my BIG guy; fearless, and impulsive yet disruptive, hyperactive and so smart yet sometimes so SMART (A). You know what I mean. I know so many in this boat at the moment, facing suspension or worse at school.
They’re going to be ok. They’re going to love you, and thank you and look up to you for everything you have done for them. And they will have a wonderful life. I can promise you that.
And you know what.
You’re going to be ok too. Because the journey gets easier X