From My Mommy Darling

At time of posting, my son was fifteen and a half. He had been diagnosed with ADHD more than once since his gr0 school readiness test in 1997.
As an exclusively single mom, I had spoken to my parents and family SO many times, because I needed their help AND I wanted to spend time with them!
I had taken them to doctors appointments and school meetings. I had sent them reading material and printed out articles and offered them books. I had tried to talk to them about how to handle discipline issues and how to talk to my son, to no avail. They tried, but they never really took me seriously.
And then I took my mom with me to a seminar on ADHD for parents and teachers. My mom spent two days listening to speakers and meeting other parents, and she sent me this letter a week later.
I am sharing it to give hope to other special needs parents.
Hang in there.
I know this is a case of too little too late. Angel, my precious child, please post this on your blog. It comes from the deepest corners of my heart to you and to ALL the parents who try and go it alone with the love and understanding of ignorant family (I was one of those until recently!) and so they really are not supported much. This is for the education, remedial and medical organisations who do not give these amazing children the opportunities they deserve. This is especially for our government who could be assisting these organisations so much, much more.
People, there is a brain drain happening in the foundations of this country because our most intelligent children are not adequately provided for! The very foundation of South Africa is her children. Just imagine how much these gifted children have to offer! They have been misunderstood for too long and their needs have been slipping through the cracks. There are future Einstein’s in these children and yet they are being suppressed and misunderstood by families, all the systems and a society that does not understand. I know this, I was one of them!
ADD or ADHD children (here after called Adders) have a chemical imbalance in the brain. Just like any other children with learning disorders, so too do these children require specialised schooling, diets and understanding. They are above average intelligence that is why they are such precious resources to our country’s future. There is not much support for them or their parents in South Africa.
Darling D, I owe you a huge apology my precious boy. I love you dearly and this you know. However, I have wasted many years thinking I understood and foolishly assuming you would outgrow ADHD. I did not research; or hear your mother when she gave me information; or read carefully the articles she sent me. Why? I simply do not know. Maybe denial was easier.
But just like your Grampa’s diabetes, you will not outgrow ADHD (that I now accept). And just like your Grampa, we have to all live with it and support you in your needs. To support you we have to be there for your mom so much more too. Thank you Angel for being so gentle and patient with me.
I would like all Adder mom’s, dad’s, auntie’s, uncle’s, granny’s and Grampa’s, teachers, etc to make the following promise out loud: (replace the words ‘my Adder’ with a name)
From this point onward I promise to regard my Adder as a GIFTED child. I accept my Adder I will strive to see only the POSITIVE, BEAUTIFUL and BRILLIANT attributes in my Adder. I will no longer be nagging my Adder directly and will remind my Adder gently and without reproach. I will strive to build my Adder’s self esteem and I shall encourage everyone around me to recognise all Adders as GIFTED, TALENTED, INTELLIGENT and an INSPIRATION to everyone. My purpose will be to inform all institutions and people daily about our GIFTED adders so that more can done to encourage their healthy development and contribution to society!

Make a copy of this promise and stick it on your fridge, bedroom cupboards, in fact every room in the house. It will remind you to guard your thoughts and hold your tongue in those heated moments.
The song following I dedicate to all the precious misunderstood Adders, and especially MY GIFT – I love you D. Thank you Angel for a wonderful, beautiful, gifted grandson!!

She climbs a tree
And scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear.
She waltzes on her way to mass
And whistles on the stair.
And underneath her wimple
She has curlers in her hair!
Maria’s not an asset to the abbey.
She’s always late for chapel,
But her penitence is real.
She’s always late for everything,
Except for every meal.
I hate to have to say it
But I very firmly feel
Maria’s not an asset to the abbey!
I’d like to say a word in her behalf.
Maria makes me laugh!
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and bring it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertigibbet!
A willo’ the wisp!
A clown!
Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her,
Many a thing she ought to understand.
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say,
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?
When I’m with her I’m confused,
Out of focus and bemused,
And I never know exactly where I am.
Unpredictable as weather,
She’s as flighty as a feather,
She’s a darling,
She’s a demon,
She’s a lamb.
She’d out-pester any pest,
Drive a hornet from his nest,
She could throw a whirling dervish
Out of whirl.
She is gentle,
She is wild,
She’s a riddle.
She’s a child.
She’s a headache!
She’s an angel!
She’s a girl.
How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a clown and pin it down?
How do you find a word that means Maria?
A flibbertigibbet!
A willo’ the wisp!
A clown!
Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her,
Many a thing she ought to understand.
But how do you make her say,
And listen to all you say?
How do you keep a wave upon the sand?
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

3 thoughts on “From My Mommy Darling

  1. Mom, that is SO beautiful, so true and so heartfelt. Damien is such a precious boy – specially when one knows him the way we do.

    What you have said here is so important and so necessary. Anyone who reads this and is not moved or inspired has never met an adder.

    Angel. I have said it before – you are a wonderful mom and what you go through I could never endure. And if I had a hat to go with my outfit right now I would take it off to you. I love you very much and I will do all I can in my own small way to love, support and grow Damien.

    Thanks mom for making me cry first thing in the morning.
    I love you lots and lots!!!

  2. Hi Angel (and Angel’s mom).

    Acceptance and understanding are beautiful things. It seems Angel’s mom has now done both.

    As the father of a son who was diagnosed several years ago with ADD (not the hyperactivity part, the H) plus a borderline finding that he also had CAPD (Central Auditory Processing Disorder), I have some empathy and understanding both for what Angel has gone through with D and what Angel’s mom is saying she ignored.

    My son will be 15 in less than two months. He is not, intellectually, the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    But he sure is gifted. And he sure is emotionally intelligent (compassion, humor, respect).

    My thing with him, my whole approach to him and what I try to impart to him, is confidence.

    We don’t try to skirt the fact that he has problems with paying attention. And he struggles at school.

    But an entire lifetime isn’t about just school. It’s about so much more. And I don’t want to put labels on my son that others or he himself have to always use as a built-in excuse for this or that.

    I disagree with the notion that kids cannot “outgrow” ADD, although of course I can’t speak for anyone other than my son.

    What I do know is that kids with ADD or ADHD can become just as brilliant or more than anyone else.

    They just need to learn adaptive strategies to compensate for the chemical imbalance they have.

    You can’t gloss over those kinds of things, but you can accept them and adjust your expectations accordingly, while at the same time never letting that person feel you expect less of them.

    Damien may not be able to “outgrow” his ADHD. But with support and love, hopefully he should be able to “adjust” to it.

    And become one hell of a person (the girls seem to already know this) in the process.


  3. Thanks Auntie G, I are crying now! That was so beautifully put! Angel is so lucky to have you guy’s in her life! Angel you are (and you know it pal) the best single mom I know and what you have done, all the sacrafices you have made – I actually do not have words to describe it! I love you stax buddy!

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