When I sit down to type a Parenting ADHD post, it’s almost always a rant session or something that’s bothering me or an issue that’s disrupting our corner of the world. So today I wanted to tell you a story and brag on JP a little bit. Actually, I’m going to brag on him a lot, so if you get annoyed by that sort of thing, you may wanna come back and visit another day. This post has little (actually, nothing) to do with the topic of ADHD. Sorry ’bout that.
It happened at a public pool this summer. The kids (I think I had 4 that day) were jumping, playing and splashing around joyfully in the pool.
Translation: They were screaming, running (even though they were told not to run), wrestling, fighting over pool toys and rotating through time-out every three minutes.
A typical day.
I was watching them play. Smiling, laughing, 100% engaged and thanking God for the blessings before me.
Translation: I was on my phone, scrolling through Facebook, bribing them for Instagram pics and about 40% engaged.
Like I said, a typical day.
As I was watching them, (scrolling through Facebook), I heard the gate open. I looked up and saw a mother with a girl who was probably seven or eight years old. The first thing I noticed was her swimsuit. It was pink with gold sparkles. In her hair was a bow that matched. Very stylish, I thought to myself. And her hair. It was a haunting red color with curls for DAYS. When you first looked in her direction, you didn’t notice her face.
I want to be very sensitive with my description. *Allow me to interject here and say that I worked in the field of special education for sixteen years. In fact, my heart still lives there. I LOVE children who have different abilities* Okay, I just wanted to throw that out there. As I was saying, this young girl’s features were very different from mine and yours. Her nose sat lower on her face and her left ear was much larger than the right. Her eyes were spread far apart and one of her arms was shorter than the other. Simply put, she didn’t look like the other kids at the pool.
My eyes darted around the pool to locate my group. Like every other person, they were staring. Everyone but JP. Wait. Where the heck was JP? Panic started to set in before realizing he was standing beside me. Whew! Man, that 40% engagement just about bit me in the…
“Honey, you scared me. What are you doing?” I asked. “Mom, did you see the girl who just came in with her mom?” Oh boy. Here it comes, I thought, silently gearing up for one of my teachable-moment speeches. “Yes, babe, I did.” “Well, do you think I could go over and ask her to play? She looks different, but I think she’s beautiful.”
I don’t remember answering him. My eyes filled with tears as I sat and watched him make his way over to the girl and her mom. In no time, the two bounced off together, making their way into the pool.
The rest is history.
I know it sounds like I’m writing a fiction story where my child is the hero, but I swear this is 100% true – even the dialogue. Listen, it surprised me too! Our boys have very big hearts, but what JP did that day jumped over and above my expectations.
I can’t stress to you guys enough how imperfect my parenting skills are. I often lay in bed at night thinking, “What in the world am I doing?” People, I wing it 80% of the time. And the other 20% I’m on social media, remember?! But on this day, I was so proud.
JP is loud. He is hyper. He makes noises that I wouldn’t even know how to describe to you. He doesn’t like to sit still unless he’s watching TV or staring at his iPad. He can be selfish and he FREAKS out if you touch his toys – and I use that term loosely. He’s impatient. He picks on Preston until he cries (I’ve tried to tell him, Preston’s gonna grow up one day and kick his ***, but who am I and what do I know).
But he was the only kid at the pool that day who played with the beautiful little girl.
At the end of the day, apart from Jesus and family, there are very few things that truly matter. Being kind to those around us who act different, look different and have different opinions than we do should be at the top of our priority list.
Thanks for letting me share – I hope you guys have the BEST weekend!