Honestly- I’ve never been asked what its like- because most people only see Damien at his best behaviour… but ADD is a disorder, and there are often other things that make it even more difficult, things that are sometimes outgrown, and others that only rear their ugly heads later.
It’s far from easy- but God gave Damien to me for a reason- and I’m doing my best.
This little story was emailed to a group I belong to called ADHD_BOYS. It’s on yahoo so you can find it and join up if you’re raising an ADDer too. BTW, I dunno what I would have done without this particular email group in the last six months. To actually speak to other parents who have either gone through or are going through the same things you are is just so huge a weight off my shoulders! I am not alone in this and I’m not crazy or exaggerating! The thing is this, as supportive and loving as my family is (and I love you all to bits and could never thank you enough) when you’re trying to raise a “special needs child” a support group of any sort is essential! No matter how strong a person you are. And since I couldn’t find a “physical” group (and believe me- I looked) email serves me just as well, if not better. It’s almost a kind of intimate anonymity, where I can pour out my heart or brag or vent or cry and they will empathise and cheer on the smallest achievements and offer advice… and I don’t have to look anyone “in the eye”!
Anyhoo- since Damien is the centre of my little universe as much as we drive each other barmy- I found this little story to be incredibly accurate, and I’m thinking also here of my brother G and his son, my nephew N.
Welcome to Holland
By Emily Perl Kingsley ©1987
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability…to imagine how it would feel.It’s like this…When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy… After months of anticipation, the day finally arrives… The plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy!” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place. So now you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for awhile and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there, and for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.