Thursday, November 30, 2006

Birthday Eve was like a roller coaster. Ricky cancelled their trip due to problems with Clay and his incomplete school assignments, then decided to come anyway. The emails they got from a couple of Clay's teachers looked very familiar, I've seen complaints like that before (and now that student has a Master's degree and is working on another one.)

ADD is especially hard on parents like Ricky and Mary Ann because they were such conscientious students and would have never neglected to turn in an assignment on time. At least, they have Adderall and sympathetic and understanding teachers and counselors. Poor Benji was just beat down for being lazy and irresponsible.

As a student, I went through some of that myself. All my teachers complained about my being an under-achiever, "not applying herself," a scatterbrain. Grades don't tell the whole story, I used to tell my father. But he always came back with, "Knowledge is transitory, records are permanent." Did he actually believe it was more important to make a good record than to learn? It was hard to tell.

They just couldn't understand why Betsy and Paul could make good grades and I didn't. Why weren't good grades important to me? Was I ADD, too? I suspect I was. From the reading I've done on the subject, I'd say Adderall would have helped me and Benji. The disorder and the meds came along too late to help us, though, so we, like millions of others, struggled with the academics and enjoyed the social aspects of school. Many got so discouraged that they dropped out and never recovered any sense of self esteem.

Well, I certainly didn't intend to spend my birthday bemoaning the misfortune of Attention Deficit Disorder. I am glad that we've progressed to the point of recognizing it as a treatable medical problem and not a weakness of character. Clay is blessed to have parents who understand, and even though very frustrated at times, still support and want to help him. Dealing with the disorder has broadened their perspective, too, and softened their attitudes about struggling students.

Thanks to those who have sent sweet birthday greetings. Your love has lifted me and I feel blessed. The choir sang happy birthday to me last night and I got lots of hugs and kisses. Mike brought home a beautiful bouquet

of flowers for me yesterday and 2 cards, a silly one and a sweet one. It's a tradition with us. The sweet one says:

I'm Glad You're My Wife

With you by my side, everything in the world seems better. Good things are twice as much fun because when I share them with you, I get to see you smile...Bad things are only half as bad because I know I can count on you to help me through them.

With you at my side, I know that I have someone who sees life a lot like I do, someone who shares the same values, dreams the same dreams... I know that I have someone who understands the parts of me that other people don't even know exist.

With you in my life, I know that I have everything anyone could ever want... someone who's understanding and supportive, who's fun and interesting... someone I love who also happens to be my best friend.

With Ricky's family coming today, I can't imagine a more perfect celebration of this milestone. It's been a very full week of love from family and friends and I thank God for it.

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