Earlier this evening I shared an incident from today on our ADHD Kristi & Co. Facebook page.
It was one of those great mom moments that I believed was one of the uplifting, fantastic things about our ADHD kids.
I just have so many thoughts swirling around in my brain tonight that I just keep thinking about it, and how A- has changed and grown so much!
I watch A- and I see the struggle between the girl she has been and the girl she wants to become. I see inside to the real her, where sometimes people can only see as far as the outside. They see the girl with half her head nearly shaved, and the scars and sometimes they make judgements. Strangers and acquaintances don’t know her kindness and compassion, her willingness to help anyone at any time.
Too many times I’ve seen someone stare at her scars and I see her notice it and quickly pull her arm into her body to hide it. Lately though, I’ve seen her offer a huge, warm smile to the person staring and a refusal to hide her arm. Sometimes people look away embarrassed, sometimes they smile back.
I can’t imagine the strength it takes to look at someone and smile when they are looking at you and judging you. Or pitying you. Or wondering what could have happened to you. I see her confidence growing and an acceptance of herself that is beautiful to witness.
She’s always been a motherly type of girl. She liked nothing better at her old school than to be able to care for the “little kids.” She’s always been a hug when someone needed it, or a lap to read in. She encourages and praises, kisses scrapes and offers advice. It’s just who she is.
This afternoon we went into a restaurant and couldn’t help but overhear some of the conversation coming from the booth behind us. A boy and his mom were talking about his troubles with his peers at school. You could tell he was probably a very bright child from the way he spoke. We didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but they weren’t talking very quietly. He was in sixth grade and didn’t fit in. He was saying all the ways he was trying to make friends, but no one liked him. He talked about walking up and trying to join conversations or make a joke only to be met with complete silence and stares. He talked about being teased and laughed at. His mother was sympathetic, offering that they were the ones missing out. He talked about wanting to be like them so they would accept him. He just wanted to be included.
He just wanted someone to be his friend.
I watched A- as she heard him talking and her eyes were tearing up and she was trying not to cry. Finally she looked at me and said, “Mom, I have to go talk to that baby. I have to tell him it gets better.”
First off, I love how she uses the term “baby” like she is an elderly woman. Anyone younger than her ripe old age of 14 is “baby.” I knew she was nervous about butting into a stranger’s conversation, but I told her to do what she thought she had to do.
Pushing herself up from the table she went to theirs and said, “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear and there are a few things I think you need to know.”
She proceeded to tell him that he was perfect just the way he was, not to ever change just to be accepted, because it would be fake and he wouldn’t be happy. She told him she knew, she had tried. She told him that she was teased and never fit in so she knew what it was like. She told him that she could tell he was very bright and mature, and that there was just something special about him that the other kids his age didn’t understand. She told him it would get better.
The boy’s face lit up. He grinned from ear to ear.
He asked her if she really thought it would get better. She told him she definitely did. She talked to him about keeping his head up and being proud of who he was. She told him that in a couple of years the people that had things in common with him would find him, that there were lots of people out there that liked what he liked and would understand him.
He told her he liked theater. She smiled and told him she sang and made art.
She told him he was special. She told him middle school was rough and it was mean, but it didn’t last forever. She assured him that he would find friends – good friends that genuinely cared about him and liked him for himself. He just kept grinning and thanking her and asking “Really?”
His mother sat there, smiling, with tears in her eyes, and thanked A- for being a blessing that day.
We left and she cried when she got in the car. I told her I was proud of her willingness to put herself out there to try to make someone else feel better. I told her that maybe she had made a difference to that boy, maybe a small one, but maybe something larger. Maybe he would always remember the stranger who came up to him and told him he was enough just the way he was.
I told her that I never would have had her courage at her age. I’m not sure I have it now.
She smiled, glad that she had made herself walk up to them, even though she hadn’t known how they would respond.
Maybe it’s a small thing, but to me THIS is what makes the world great.
It’s these little moments that we take and share our humanity with someone else.
It’s the times when we don’t talk ourselves out of doing a kindness, or giving a compliment, or standing up for someone who needs it that makes this life worthwhile.
This is what our New Year’s wishes were all about. Becoming people that care about other people. Or at least becoming people that show others that we care.
It’s always difficult to put ourselves out there, but when you have ADHD, or Depression or Anxiety, or you have self harm scars that people stare at – it becomes that much harder.
It’s easier to stay within yourself where you are comfortable, where you know what to expect. Change is only going to happen if we become the change we wish to see. Okay, I think that’s in a song and a million inspirational quotes, but it holds true.
Each of us can make a difference.
It doesn’t have to be something monumental. Each day is made up of moments where we have the chance to do something great. We have the chance to make a “small” difference to someone else. No act of kindness or compassion is ever small. At least I don’t believe it is.
My daughter shows me so many beautiful things daily. And I see her changing and growing and it helps me to know that there are good things ahead for her.
I now must take her cue and have the courage to not be silent when I have the chance to make a difference.