Mindy and Max's True Life

about coping with ADHD, single motherhood and unconditional love for your child.

The Other Guy April 9, 2014

Filed under: ADHD Facts & Opinions — Mindy Hester @ 4:18 am

On May 21, 2004 (almost 10 years ago) my life began a new chapter, I  took the road less traveled and it’s been a helluva ride since day one. On that day almost 10 years ago I gave birth, something I never thought I’d ever have the chance to do, and the moment that boy and I met eyes I have been a mother. MOTHER. A hugely overused but under appreciated word that is given away too freely. But the gifting of the word MOM doesn’t come close to the blatant kidnapping and molestation of the word “Father” by men better off described as a DNA Donation Wagon. My son has started to refer to this person as “the other guy“. Max doesn’t talk about the other guy at all, which drives me a bit crazy because I am the kind of girl who wants things opened up and fixed. His therapist says that he will talk when he is ready, but I can’t shake this feeling that because this other guy is a quitter there now exists a  hole in my son’s heart that can’t ever be filled by me no matter how hard I try. I am so angry, so resentful at this other guy for what he is doing to my kid that it is eating me up.  But, I read the books and I follow the advice of others who tell me to purge these feeling elsewhere, to be honest with Max but to let Max find out for himself what kind of man this other guy is. I’ve tried for 10 years to get the other guy to see what his actions (or lack of them) have been doing to my son but it falls on deaf ears. I can’t fathom the kind of person who would abandon and neglect a child who so obviously needs him. I am ashamed I once loved someone like that. This is the letter I hope my son will write one day, it’s what I hope he feels in his heart.

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       Dear Other Guy,

 I forgive you. I just want you to know that. We haven’t spoken since I was 15 and I haven’t really missed you either. That’s because I have the most amazing family ever. You know my Papa,  the one who always wiped my tears when you were’t there.  The one with the kind face and the blue eyes and the best smile ever.

I know you were not ready to be a dad and that your parents ruined your chances of ever knowing what a child might need so it’s ok that you weren’t there.  I forgive you.  All those years we never saw each other. But it’s ok because by you not being there you gave me the chance to have the best Mom, Papa and family ever. 

It’s funny because I don’t hate you, people presume I do and say that I should. But the funny thing is they don’t even know about you unless I tell them because I don’t talk about you. I don’t have resentment towards you because I never really needed you.

If  I saw you now, I wouldn’t have much to say to you because we really don’t have much in common.  I would say “I’m sorry”,  I’m sorry you missed my high school graduation,  sorry you missed my first girlfriend and didn’t get to see me get into MIT to study my passion of architecture which you didn’t even know I had,  I’m  sorry you didn’t get to go to Florida and see Micky mouse with me when I was a kid, I’m sorry you missed every birthday party I ever had. I’m sorry you weren’t there to see me become a Bar Mitzvah. I’m sorry you didn’t get a scan picture when my wife and I found out we were having our own little boy. I’m sorry for all the fathers days and holidays and birthdays you missed because you would of loved them. Because I know now..that  you needed us more than we needed you.

But you weren’t there  and I might never get the chance to see you or say these words to you. That’s why I am writing this to you now. 

You chose to be an absent parent. That is why I don’t call you Dad. That’s why you will always be known as the other guy.

It’s good to be back writing again. Max wants to become a part of this journey and I can’t wait for you all to hear his story, in his own words.  He is a true miracle. God bless you all –    Mindy

 

Who is ready to hear my bloggish thoughts and feelings again? April 4, 2014

Filed under: ADHD Facts & Opinions,adhd kids — Mindy Hester @ 3:53 am

Its April 2014, Max is almost 10 years old and much has happened, much has changed and there is much to talk about. I hope there is someone still out there listening..actually, scrap that. It doesn’t matter if there isn’t a soul tuning in. I am writing now for me. I am writing now for Max. Time to get to work again. Stay tuned for more of The Max & Mindy Show, brought to you with love and devotion. Peace!

 

My inability to accept “disability” July 12, 2012

A few weeks before school ended this year I had my “end of the year” meeting with Max’s team at school, a fantastic group of teachers, math and reading specialists and the school social worker. This was to just discuss his school year, his progress & challenges and how to proceed into 3rd grade to make sure he has the extra help he needs to keep on this very positive ride up the learning ladder. In a side note: South Park Elementary in Deerfield, and especially Max’s teacher Ms. Heather Williams, are my dream team. I love you all for what you gave Max this year: you gave him back his courage, his positive attitude and you taught him that it’s okay to make mistakes. Bravo, Ladies. Bravo.

BUT…back to me.

Because up until that meeting something has been bothering me and this just happened to be the moment in time when it came to a head. It’s a problem I have with a word. One word. And that word is “disability”.

<strong>Webster’s English Dictionary defines the word disability as the following:

dis·a·bil·i·tee

1. Lack of adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability;  incapacity.

2. a physical or mental handicap, especially one that prevents a person from living a full, normal life or from holding a gainful job.

Now here is what really got me going…when this dictionary started to list the synonyms for the word disability:

Synonyms: disqualification, incompetence, incapability, impotence. Disability, inability  imply a lack of power or ability. A disability  is some disqualifying deprivation or loss of power, physical or other: excused because of a physical disability; a temporary disability. Inability  is a lack of ability, usually because of an inherent lack of talent or power. WTF!!!!~

WTF! I ask you and all who are reading this! And it is this that sat at the forefront of my mind when we began our year review about my son, Max. The term “learning disability” was used only once when I shouted out a “Hey, stop please” to the group and made my stand. I said “It would be in Max’s best interest, and in all of ours as well, if we can just strike that word “disability” out of it’s miserable existence and replace it with “learning DIFFERENCES”. Not every kid learns in the same way, weather they have ADD/ADHD, SPD, OCD, ODD, Autism or just a bad tooth ache. These are unique kids who each have a different way of getting the information “in”, and the longer we call it a “learning disability” the longer it is going to take them to overcome such a stigmatized and potentially harmful word and get on to the good stuff..the learning. I, for one, never have nor ever will consider my child “Incompetent, incapable, disqualified or dis-able to do anything in the world he sets his mind to do. Max was born to do great things with his life and an old fashioned, dated and ugly word like “disability” will not stand in his way.

Now, can we move on with life now?

Go hug your kids now.

 

When your KICK ASS KID is getting his ass kicked…..you kick back, Mama. April 28, 2012

You see it a lot in kids living with ADD/ADHD other learning or social differences…low self esteem and lack of confidence. I see it in my beautiful son, and as a Mom it is heartbreaking. Without dealing with the issue quickly can lead to much more serious concerns for our little guys like depression and even worse. It’s hard enough being a kid, but add to mix that you may act a bit different at times and have a harder time with things at school considered “simple” to other classmates (like staying in your seat, completing an assignment or even just refraining from spontaneously breaking into his impression of Freddie Mercury singing Fat Bottomed Girls) and your kid becomes a target. He may become the “weirdo” or he may become the “class clown”. Either way he gets singled out and the label is hard to shake.

My boy takes everything so personally, he is so sensitive and I love him for that. But, every time he disrupts the class with an impulsive word or action cause by Mr. Jumpy (something, mind you, he cannot control) he feels more and more like he is “stupid, always doing everything wrong and/or always the one getting in trouble”. This has been beating him down harder that anything ADHD has thrown at us so far. There is nothing worse than hearing the words “I can’t do anything, I am so stupid and no one likes me” from your child’s lips.

My son has been having some issues at school but it’s getting better every day. He is on a magic streak right now and practically on fire at school, just having amazing days that we used to dream about. I signed him up for a few after school enrichment programs at school, just 2 days a week. They were fun sounding classes ( “Sharks and Dangers Of The Deep”, and “Tennis”). We are 3 weeks into the session and yesterday I made the decision to allow Max to ( insert GASP!) QUIT the programs. Yes, I am letting him drop out and quit, something, which I have tried so hard to teach him NOT too do. Max’s days at school are very long, and very hard. And, even though he is on his medication, which does wonders all day long, by 3:30 that Vyvanse is starting to end it’s work day and go home. So during his after school classes Mr. Jumpy starts to poke his head out and say “Whazzzaup!!!, time to get this party started!”. As you can guess,he is misbehaving but nothing outrageous, just typical Mr. Jumpy high jinx. The instructors (I won’t call them teachers because I am so angry and want to blatantly dis them because revenge feels good sometimes), these instructors don’t seem to know much about ADHD and how to deal with it in a classroom setting. Max is getting disciplined, reprimanded, punished with not being able to participate and not getting prizes when the whole class does, and..wait for it…was called STUPID in front of the other kids. Don’t get me started on the last one.

The point is, my boy is excelling all day long in school, where every day he starts to believe in himself more and more and hearing him say “I can’t do anything right!” has become a thing of the past. So, to then go into a situation where he is back to being the kid who constantly gets yelled at is counter productive to what his teachers, therapists and myself are trying to do. Which is show Max that he is a KICK ASS FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH!

So, we quit.

I want Max, and all his life experiences big or small, to reaffirm to him his awesomeness. And I want everything that goes on at his school (which is pretty kick ass as well) to remain positive and peaceful. We must be our child’s spiritual advocate as well as champions. I never thought I would let my kid quit a class or activity because I was always against what I thought he would learn from doing it, that if something gets a little hard…just quit. But, this time is different, this time we quit with purpose and won’t look back. As adults we try to surround ourselves with people and friends who have positive healthy influences on our lives. We MUST do the same for our kids. Know who the instructors of your children’s after school activities are, know their philosophies and experience teaching these gifted and special kids. Ask questions, raise hell if need be to keep the fire stoked inside your amazing kids heart so they never forget the KICK ASS FORCE they can and always will be.

Now get out there and kick some ass. May the force be with you.

 

Hello, hello….is anyone still listening? April 25, 2012

Has it really been 15 months since I last wrote? 15 months! Talk about writers block! Although, quite unfortunately,  I cannot claim writers block for my absence. I could plop down a couple “Wow, life has been CR-AZY! ” and ” I have been so busy these past months, I just plum forgot about my blog…”  But you will know that’s bullshit as well. I mean, life HAS been crazy. It’s been crazier, busier and scarier than any other 15 month period in my life has ever been. But, I never once forgot about this blog and writing again. So, here I am 15 months later, war weary but not war torn. Ready for Round Two?

When last our tale was told Max and I were chugging along in our world of ADHD, SPD, single motherhood, single female-hood, Star Wars Legos, rock music, fish tanks and finding long lost siblings. Well, we still play with Legos. I still make music every day (at my very own music school which I opened last June) and Max joins me when he feels inspired. Max still has ADHD, that hasn’t magically vanished and a “cure” hasn’t been discovered. But, we have learned so much these past 15 months and I look forward to sharing our own discoveries. I am still single, which bums me out when I think too much on the fact so I live in a state of frequent episodes of complete denial which has served me fine up to now. The obsession with fish tanks and fancy Guppies has faded, while my relationships with my new biological brothers and sisters only grows stronger as we get to know each other. And lastly, single momhood has continued to provide me with daily challenges, occasional moments of awe and frustration and moment by moment reminders of the beauty and gift my son is to me. It is because of him that at this time the writing will begin again. It is because of him that I need to do it, because it is because of him that I need to save myself.

A recent discovery of a health issue that a 100% result of what I have put myself through in the last 15 months has been like a taser gun to my body, mind and spirit saying “You may have thought that you could HAVE it all….but you may have underestimated your abilities to DO it all, and do it all alone.” I don’t have a choice now but to slow down, something that is so hard for me to do even if I were healthy. But if I don’t I am only going to get sicker and what good am I to anyone if I do? This Super-Mom is calling a truce with the universe and needs a timeout. I hope you will join me on my way back to the world. Now, go kiss your kids if you have them, make the moves on your spouse and do it like you did when you first met or just go pet the family dog. Just show someone that you love them. Image

I will be in touch.

 

Maybe The Fish Are Right. November 23, 2010

I am thinking that maybe Guppies got it right. They have sex constantly, I mean a male guppy can rub up against a female and “bam!”, there it was. She may not have noticed a thing, but he rolled over and is fast asleep. It’s like a handshake. I challenge anyone of the three people who still follow my blog to say they get “too much” sex.

Then there’s the “no real career-but to swim around the tank” thing, which I find quite chill. They are like Geisha’s, only there to look pretty and in return kept safe, fed and clean. Little whores.

But the thing that gets me, the thing that I really think they’ve got a handle on is when they have their babies. See, they pop them put and eat them faster than you can say “It’s a bo….”. Gulp. Ah, that was delicious. And now I know why!

Because Motherhood is hard. Motherhood can make you insane. But, most of all, Motherhood will break your heart every single day for the rest of your life. Because a heart, at least my heart, wasn’t made big enough to hold all the love I feel for this child. The love has started to bleed out to other organs who have stepped up to the plate to pick up the slack. My brain, lungs, stomach, liver and soul have done double shifts and I am exhausted. But every night, I go to sleep with a smile on my face. Because every day is going to be better than the one before. And every day he is going to get closer and closer to the beautiful man I can’t wait to meet. Damn, I can’t wait to meet that guy.

Until then, I will look into renting out a storage pod to hold all the love overflow. Maybe I should get two.

 

Unconditional Love October 23, 2010

Filed under: Love,Spirit — Mindy Hester @ 9:49 pm

Tonight I met an amazing Mom. The Mother of a beautiful boy with Down Syndrome. A talented photographer, artist and spirit. I feel honored right now to have met her and wish she didn’t live all the way in LA. With that being said, I’d like to tell you the real reason I write tonight.

This Mom and Dad love their son, that’s obvious. But, the lengths that she goes to nurture, teach, learn from and help him discover this life of his is awe inspiring. She writes it all on a beautiful blog, I will attach the address to the end of this post. But, as a parent of a child with special needs, I see in her so much hope, so much courage to go to the absolute ends of the earth to make this amazing and unique child have the happiest life possible. It travels far past sheer love, past devotion and past parenting. She is on a journey of self discovery right along with her son, they are doing it together. And it just proves how much these special children can teach us about ourselves. That if you don’t give up, and you never quit digging, you will find the treasure that awaits you at the bottom of the well. And these children are treasures, perfect gifts handed down to us to fulfill our destiny. Max amazes me everyday, he is excelling in school, socially active and our lives together get better and better every single day. Because, I will NEVER give up. And I will never forget that the same sensitivity and perceptiveness that cause these kids such difficulty also give them EXCEPTIONAL gifts.

“Outside ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

Her name is Catherine. Her blog is http://hang-on-little-tomato.blogspot.com/