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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole

It's 5:30 in the morning and I'm awake after having a couple of hours of stress dreams.
You see, Trey is to go in to school early today, to record a song with the Symphonic Band. As a sixth grader, this is a huge privilege, I was worried that I was going to oversleep and not get him there in time.

But truth be told, that wasn't really what I was worrying about.

Yesterday I was reading some blogs. One of the blogs I read shared a link to another blog and on it, the mother was facing the fact that she was going to be putting her son on medication for ADHD. Her heart was breaking.

I read the post, read the comments. I remembered being in her shoes, my head on the steering wheel, sobbing. Feeling the helplessness and crushing guilt of even considering medicating my young child. The crushing doubt and wishing I could KNOW that what I was doing was the right or wrong course of action.

I went about my day and forgot the post.. or so I thought.

In my dream, I'm sitting alongside the stage and watching as the band prepares to play their song. Trey is standing by his drum set, a telltale dreamy look in his eyes. I know that look, and it doesn't bode well.

I watch as his fingers slide toward a little toy nearby and he begins to fiddle with it. I can tell he no longer hears the band teacher and sure enough, he misses his cue. "Trey! Put that down and pay attention!" says the band teacher sternly. Trey complies and I sit back, ready to hear the song. But in my dream, again and again, Trey loses focus and begins to fiddle with things around his drum set. Over and over he gets in trouble, the teacher becoming more exasperated and angry by the second. I try to get Trey's attention, try to get him to focus from my position on the sidelines, but he can't hear me. I just have to watch him get in trouble again and again, each time more upsetting than the last.

In the first dream, the teacher comes to him at the end of the practice. I am so afraid for him, so sure he is about to be really yelled at. Instead, his teacher leans down beside him and puts a hand on his shoulder. "Your brain was really bothering you today, wasn't it Buddy?" the teachers whispers softly. Trey nods miserably. "That's all right. It will be better tomorrow."

In the second dream, I walk into the band rehearsal room to pick Trey up. I'm a bit early but when I walk in, I'm greeted by the teacher's harsh glare and thundering words. "You can take Trey now. He's been cut from the band. Don't bring him back!" I can see the shimmer of tears in Trey's eyes as he walks toward me, head low. "He couldn't pay attention. He ruined the whole song!" I'm devastated for him, and wracked with guilt. It's my fault he couldn't perform. I wasn't helping him. I wasn't doing enough.

After the second dream ended, I sat up and turned on the light. My heart was racing and I felt a deep sadness. I had to force my mind away from the dreams, away from the feelings of a couple of years ago. Instead, I counsel myself with our truth.

We are, for now and hopefully for the future, the lucky ones. Trey is not on medication but is doing beautifully. He is happy and successful in school. His teachers like him and he has a wonderful group of friends. Last night we worked together on a project he had due. His partner had dropped the ball and not given him the assignment on Friday that she had been told to, and then she was out sick. He was now responsible for a sizable piece of work due the next day. He worked with concentration and good effort, occasionally getting frustrated but managing it well.  When the work was done, I told him how proud I was of his focus and the quality of his work.

Whether his case was mild, or he has outgrown it, or he was misdiagnosed entirely, Trey is no longer that boy. I am no longer that Mom, yet I am forever that Mom. While I am deeply grateful, the scars remain and every now again I find myself in that rabbit hole of worry and doubt.

As I drop my son off early and on time this morning, my heart will be with that other Mom and her little boy.

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