Five years ago, this month, I started dating this guy. We had been talking for a few weeks, had met the previous July, and I had finally found a babysitter for a night. Although I can't remember the exact date (bc come on, it was 5 years ago!), I do remember that we met at The Rusty Bucket at Rookwood because it was about half way between our homes. I know, meeting at the restaurant for a first date....not so romantic but I barely knew the guy, I wasn't going to let him pick me up and know where I lived! Safety first! Ha.
I called my mom and sisters while I was driving over there. I hadn't been on an "out to dinner date" like....ever before. I had actually, not really by definition, dated anyone since I had left RP's dad.....this was so foreign to me! I was unbelievably nervous. They both told me, because they know how much food I can throw down, to order a salad and a pop....the pop would help fill me up so that I wouldn't over eat. And.....I didn't listen. I remember getting a big ass hamburger (this was back in my gluten-eating days) and it was delicious. I probably should have been a little embarrassed by how much of it I crammed into my big mouth for my first bite, but if you are going to get to know me, it may as well be from the get go right?!
It was a fun date. We shared stories and laughed. I could't imagine it going better. It was comfortable. Probably because we had known each other for like 6 months by that point, but ya know....it was still nice. We didn't do anything afterwards because I only had a babysitter for so long, and from my memory, I only got a hug goodbye. If you ask this gentleman, he will tell you I got a kiss......and we could argue all day as to who is right (I have a better memory in general.....just sayin). This one date was the beginning of a relationship that I thought ended three months later.
It was a short amount of time, dating this man. I wasn't ready and I don't think he was either. He was good to me and he was good to RP. He cared about us and I believed that I loved him then. I believed it enough to tell him that at one point. He was the first person I called my boyfriend since RP's dad, which at the time, was a really big deal for me to be able to do. I don't think he understood how hard that was for me. But our relationship ended. I was really sad when it ended and I was sad that he didn't try to stop me from ending it. And the worse part about the whole break up was that I still saw him. Regularly. Week after week. Consistently until June 2010.
After that, I didn't see him anymore. I had pushed our relationship away and got over it some time before June 2010. I had moved on, and I assumed that he had too. A good looking 22 (at the time) year old wouldn't have a hard time moving on. He was just a guy that I had dated. Because of the initial connection that we had, we still would talk occasionally, maybe like once a month he would see what was going on with the store I had run downtown. We would catch up on our lives and he would ask about RP. Eventually though, there was no common connection between us anymore. Still....he would check in. He began to change from a former boyfriend to an old friend.
So now, 5 years later, I find my self completely in love with this same guy. The level of comfort I have around him and how much I feel like he knows me, is astonishing. He is one of my people. He is one of those people in my life that I feel connected to no matter the amount of time. Our conversations over the years were brief. They were just a "Hey, how are you doing, what's new" kind of thing. As simple and brief as they were, it was also nice to hear from him and to know how he was doing. To know that he was happy. And to hear about his good times and bad. Without thinking, we were building a foundation of friendship. That foundation got stronger at the end of last summer. He was a good friend who knew me enough but was far away enough from my life, that his external opinions were good to hear. He was supportive when my grandfather passed. It wasn't until I saw him face to face again that I realized that I wanted to be more than just his friend. And it concerned me. Fresh out of relationship is not really the best time to get involved. But there isn't anything I can't talk to him about. He understood. And waited. I began to realize that I loved him. I realized it before we even were physically involved with each other. I wondered if I ever stopped having feelings for him or if I pushed them so far down that I didn't recognize they were there. For me, now, being analytically about that doesn't matter. (I heard that gasp....me not over analyze! Say whaaaaaat?!)
I don't over think everything (I know! Half this blog has been me over thinking everything!). I say what I am feeling and thinking to him without fear of overstepping or saying too much or making my self too vulnerable. I look at him and can't believe that it is him again in my life like this. That he is the one that I would feel this way towards. That he would be the one who I discovered how deeply I can love someone. I can't believe it is him - but I am so happy it is. There is that saying, let love go and if it is meant to be it will return to you. I never really understood that it meant the second time would be so overwhelmingly powerful. I never understood when people would tell me that the "work" you do in a relationship can be hard but it that brings joy and fulfillment to your life; it doesn't feel like the work I have done in other relationships.....it feels easier....more natural. (Yeah, I know...pretty mushy and gushy for this one right here....it gets worse if you keep reading)
I am sitting here so happy about he and I. So excited for the future in front of us. I am excited for the future in front of him and RP. I don't remember being excited about my future......that is so sad to actually say out loud, but my future was always just there. There was nothing foreseeable beyond what I was doing everyday already. Being excited about everything that is coming up in life makes me feel like I am living. Like it isn't just passing me by and I'm only holding on to the parenting experience to bring me joy. The past year, I feel like I have transformed. I feel like I came out of a cloud. I have mentioned before that I was just waiting for my life to happen. I know that I took steps since the beginning of 2013 to regain that "control" over my life. But this is like 50,000 times stronger than I the excitement I felt when I bought my house. Yay life! (hahah, I am totally laughing at myself for that one, you can too, please feel free)
Last year RP was diagnosed as ADHD. For the last year, his teachers and counselor have been working with me on non-medicine forms of intervention. From the diagnosis through the end of second grade, the sticker chart, the positive reinforcement, the pointing out when a better decision could have been made, the fish oil, the less gluten diet, and everything else we tried seemed to be working. I was proud of the fact that the school and I were working together on ways to help him build the coping mechanisms he needs for his extra challenge without using medicine as an automatic go to. He was responding and developing. Third grade has been a totally different story though.
He entered third grade at a lower reading level. He was seeing the reading specialist last year, so this was expected that he would still be playing "catch up" in third grade. He has been working so hard at getting better at reading and has done so well. His self esteem is higher than it had been and he would seek out reading as a pass time instead or cower from it. Then the OAA tests happened. If you aren't familiar with them, they are part of that "Leave No Child Behind" bullshit. I am not a fan of standardized testing. I don't believe they are accurate and have way too much importance placed on them. Yes, I was bad at them. No, I am not a dumbass. I scored well below my high school SAT average but guess what, graduated college with Latin Honors. Ok. I'll step down from the soapbox now, but I'm just sayin.....I could go on for a while about my hatred of these tests.
So the OAA. They start practicing and focusing on it in second grade and the reading part of this test determines if you can go to 4th grade. They get two shots, one in the fall and one in the spring. Well, needless-to-say, RP did not pass the fall one. With this continued reading troubles added to him being much more distracted in third grade added to the already existing ADHD diagnosis, the teacher and the reading specialists are at the end of their interventions at school-they don't know how else to help him. He is starting to change his attitude about school because of the daily reminders about behavior and he is showing reading frustration again. They are concerned that without a medical intervention added to the accommodations for testing, that passing in the spring could not happen.
I'm not crazy about this idea but it's one of those parenting moments where you have to make a choice. My biggest concern is that he is educationally successful. Repeating third grade, to me, is not an option. He is smart. He only get As and Bs. He does not deserve to be held back if his cognitively parallel or a little ahead of others. So now, I bite the bullet and try something that could help even though I don't necessarily agree with it.
His pediatrician was great about answering my questions and helping with my concerns. I told him everything we had tried over the past year and he agreed that what we tried was good. He said should continue them because learning coping mechanisms is part of the treatment for ADHD, but he agreed that it is time to try medicine. He started him on the lowest dosage possible. He told about how there could be some headaches and tummy aches during the first week and those are typical side effects.
RP started the medicine two Fridays ago. It was a really good day. I can't remember the last time we had a day like that. There wasn't a single argument. And I am talking about a day full of challenges like being at the AT&T store with my dad and step mom for over an hour, running errands and making returns, and just in generally not being at home (which is what he wanted most). Then that evening we went to B's mom's and then his dad's for a quick Christmas visit. It wasn't until the way home that a possible side effect surfaced. He was talking about how much he likes B when he started comparing B and mr and then started crying about never telling me how he really felt about mr. There was so much to that conversation that I know it was more than a side effect, but the way he was acting was not typical RP at that moment.
Today marks day 14 of the medicine. The weepiness lasted for a few days but we haven't had a cry fest for maybe the past 5 days. Bedtimes have all kinds of awful. I spoke to the nurse at the pediatrician's office and apparently, this is not uncommon. She said that there is a mixture of coming off the medicine and underlying anxiety being displayed. As soon as she said that he could have some anxiety that has gone unnoticed because it was displayed at bad behavior, I realized how much that makes sense. So, we will have to tackle bedtime-anti anxiety- coping mechanisms now. And she also suggested a low dose of melatonin to help (which I would have never thought of).
Yesterday (I have to mention this because it is a very positive instance in a less-then-positive post), I picked him up from school and asked about his day. He proudly announced that he did not get a single reminder. Then we get home and his package is on the front porch. He used some Christmas money to buy a Lego set off eBay since it is no longer sold in stores. He was very excited to get it and started building it immediately. In no time, it was completed. We had eaten dinner, he has play time, dessert, TV time, and now it was bed time. It wasn't going well. We tried drawing his fears but he got frustrated with not being able to draw them correctly. Then I rubbed his forehead for a bit to help him relax. 15 minutes later, no sleep. Then he was scared. And upset. Then he finally relaxed again and I told him to think about something good. He looked at me with his beautiful blue eyes, smiled slightly and said, "Today was a good day, no reminders. I got my Legos that I forgot about. Had a good dinner. Got to play. Have a good Mommy, even got to watch TV. It was a really good day." He smiled again and closed his eyes. He was asleep within 10 minutes. Granted this was about an hour or so after bedtime, but he finally allowed himself to relax and focus on the positive. The calmness he had thinking about his day, the confidence in his voice, and the pride he had was priceless.
I am not saying that I have converted. I am not saying that I think this medicine will be a wonder of all wonders, but I haven't heard that voice from him in long enough that I think I can attribute some of that to the medicine and how maybe it makes him feel more in control. We shall see where this part of life takes us. The stress of cost of the medicine may be the only thing I can write about next time there is an ADHD label.
Last year, a blogger I follow-Lauren over at CrumbBums, did a portrait project of her three kids. I didn't see her doing this until about half way through the year but I really like the idea of taking one picture of your child(ren) once a week to post and have as an archive. I take like a billion pictures of RP but to have it one week to another is a great idea. Looking through the portraits of her kids, you see how much they change week to week, month to month.
I have already failed at a 365 photo challenge, but I think I can handle this one. So without further adieu, I present to you, photo number 1 (well week one, two portraits)
A portrait of my son, once a week for every week in 2014.
His patience was running thin in line at Kroger while all of Cincinnati prepared for Snowmageddon 2014.