Tuesday, January 25, 2011

J is For.....

J is for Jesse, AKA ComplicatedBoy. He is nine and wants to grow up to be a professional baseball player- scientist- artist- skate boarder- sneaker designer- dentist all at the same time. And the reason that is ridiculous is because THE KID DOES NOT LIKE TO BRUSH HIS TEETH. Ever. He runs his toothbrush under the faucet in case we check it to see if it is wet. So I tell him: "NO, you CANNOT grow up and be a probaseballplayingscientistartistskateboardersneakerdesignerdentist. But you CAN grow up to be a probaseballplayingscientistartistskateboardersneakerdesignerdentistWithNoTeeth." Because as a mother it's my job to make sure he sets realistic goals for life.

We discovered CBoy had ADD almost two years ago now. Which was great. Not just because the diagnosis helped him, but because it gave us a pass. Up until then, it was assumed that at the heart of the problem was permissive parenting -- which is silly really when you consider how much I have paid other people to raise my children. So in a way, part of me did a little Happy Dance when we discovered that the reason life at Chez Veasey was ripe with chaos had more to do with CBoy's unique brain construction and less to do with my fitness to raise a small human being. Or my constant drinking.

But part of me also worried. The part that likes to do her best work between the hours of 3 am and 5:30 am. The part of me that dreads teacher conferences, or state mandated testing, or afternoon homework. The part of me that wishes he would fall into books the way that I did as a child and lose afternoons turning their pages, or attack a writing assignment with gusto and a sharpened pencil.

And when I worry most is when I take a look around and realize how much CBoy is able to accomplish because I facilitate for him: I organize, I cajole, I negotiate, I clear rocks out of his path, I champion him-- I push him onwards and upwards with the sheer force of my love like a cyclone at his back. And then I realize I CAN NEVER DIE. Which is an awesome responsibility that will keep you up between 3 am and 5:30.

So I do worry what the future holds for my boy who loves to tell jokes and design sneakers and play catch with his father for hours but will not read a chapter or write a paragraph. I worry because I worked at Burger King in the 80s and can only guess that they've made that application harder then it was then. I worry and I worry...but then I see something like this picture that he drew the other day and it gives me HOPE.

Because my child is nine and can pun!! Not to mention draw a mean cup of coffee!

And when I look at a drawing he's made like this and see past it into the years ahead, I know there will be a place for him where he can do what he loves to do and do it well: if you can keep a sense of humor, everything will work out. Every little thing gonna be all right. And after all, he may grow up an design mugs like his mother.


Jennifer said...

Best. Drawing. Ever.


Nonnee said...

As long as you reman his champion, he'll do just fine.
Like Sir Winston said,"Nevah give up"!

OHN said...

The best thing you can do is support his interests. My three, most likely, are from different planets. They must be, as none of them are like the other.

Somethings will spark in J and others will fizzle...but knowing you are in his corner, he will rock.

Harbormom said...

Lori, in 1983, our son was diagnosed with ADD as well. He refused to do his homework (he made 100's in class, why should he have to do homework? he said. Because it counts toward your grade, we said). We held him back in 3rd grade (he entered school at 5 because of a huge i.q., and extremely high test scores, when most of his peers were 7), which I told him would give him fodder for his psychiatrist when he's 40. He piddled through middle school (and didn't tell us he had the 3rd highest math score throughout the 12 grades) and high school, where he managed to flunk English (English!) twice and I refused to allow him to go back for one more semester just to do it again. So he got his GED. He piddled for two semesters at the local junior college, til I refused to pay for it any more. When his baby sister entered SCAD in Savannah, Darlingboy went along to help move her in and, unbeknownst to me, brought along his portfolio (he would spend hours drawing very intricate and detailed teeny, tiny figures in the margins of his notebooks and workbooks from first grade through high school). He took his portfolio to the admissions office and walked out with a $2,000 scholarship. His first year there he made the Dean's list. He and his sister graduated together and Ian now lives in NYC, where he is a very proud and active member of the Stagehand's Union. So far, he has rubbed shoulders (and spotlighted) Beyonce, Sir Paul McCartney, and PeeWee Herman. He has managed props for all sorts of Broadway actors and actresses and, while he still chastises me about holding him back in the third grade, he is a happy, productive 35 year old, living his own la vida loca. Complicated Boy will do just fine. P.S. I am looking at my "Make Cookies Not War" Santa ornament I won many many months back by contributing a Christmas story about my mother to your blog. Love reading about you, Complicated Boy and Banana. Keep it up. Sorry this is so long!