Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dear Alec

Hi Alec,

It's me mom. You are going through so much right now, some of it wonderful, some of it very challenging, and some of it down right hard. I wish that I had some magic pill or the perfect words to give to you so that you would weather this time without the sadness or the hurt that goes along with a lot of this.

It's so easy to say be true to yourself and do the right thing; that everyone who is 14 goes through these things but it's not that easy.

You have challenges that some kids don't have; you have ADHD and its pretty elevated at times. What I can identify with is that I think I have it too; or at least more so when I was your age. I see the things you do, say, and based on some of the things you share with me, I know we are very much alike. That makes me feel that I'm just where I need to be to help you but also makes me a little sad as I can remember being 14 and it really was one of the more challenging years of my teen life.

I wanted everyone to like me that I let myself get lost in trying so hard to be liked and accepted. I was impulsive in school and was the class clown. It was a way for me to be in the spotlight and kids thought I was funny. What ended up happening was that kids got tired of it and at some point as they were maturing and it wasn't so funny anymore, I was left a bit alone. It didn't last forever, but it was a challenging time. What did continue was that I always tried to be everyones friend; I didn't want anyone to be mad at me. In the end, I neglected the most important friend, me.

I know you think you are always in trouble and that you aren't always a good kid (which is true sometime as far as getting into trouble) but you are a good kid. In fact, I think you are a great kid and very special.

You are going to have to work hard, perhaps harder than others but that's just the way it is. Everyone has things that they must weather, challenges that others don't have but that is how life is. There is no rhyme or reason for it. It is the challenges and life experiences that shape us as we grow. It continues to happen, I would assume until we die. Its still happening to me and your Dad. We have experiences that change us; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse; it's all in how you look at it. It's not easy; it's going to be hard work. Just remember that those things that you work hard for are usually worth it and end up being the things that you cherish the most.

I want you to focus on all of the good that you are. You are smart, funny but for me there is one part of you that is so special...its your light that touches others; its your ability to be kind, compassionate, and thoughtful. It's hard for others to see it; your friends are young and often you are in a bit of trouble, so this gets lost in all of that; however, I'm hear to remind you of it.

Let me tell you a few stories:

When we lived in Streamwood, in a single level town house, we lived above a woman who was a crabby old lady. We would play in the sprinkler in the summer and she'd yell out of the window for us to be quiet and then slam the window. I remember Susan, the lady we rented from, telling me that this lady had some family problems and was basically alone so I just kept that in mind and left her be. Once Christmas, (you were around 5/6), you wanted to invite her to our Christmas Eve get together. I tried to explain to you that she wasn't friendly, didn't like us, and most likely wouldn't come, but, you insisted. You told me that she needed us to be kind to her; that if we were, maybe she wouldn't be so mean. My heart must have expanded twice its size that moment. I felt your love for humanity and I was so proud of you.

We baked cookies, knocked on her door and tried to be a good neighbor, but...she yelled at us, "I don't need you!", and slammed the door in our faces. You were so sad. I was angry at her for doing that to you. I knew where your heart was and it made me angry and sad that she hurt your feelings. So, I told you that I would leave the cookies in her door and that maybe she was embarrassed; perhaps we should just give her some time. You kept asking me about it and I didn't have the heart to tell you that she stuck them back in our door; so I ate the cookies and told you she took them.


When I was starting the daycare, before I had my license, I got a call from a woman looking for care for her school age son. She described him as having ED (some emotional disorder) and explained his situation. I called a friend who I knew worked at the school to get some info on him and to see if it was something that I could manage and provide him with good care based on my skill level. After speaking with my friend, I thought, I'm just starting out this new business and not yet having any other clients/kids, that I should pass on taking him. You overheard me on the phone and came in the room to talk to me about it. You asked me his name. You told me you knew who he said, Mom...he does get into a lot of trouble at school, but if he had a mom who loved him and cared for him like you do, that maybe he wouldn't get into trouble so much. You really thought I could make a difference in his life.

Once again, your light shinned so bright and my heart swelled.

What I love so much about you is your ability to sense what others are feeling and know when someone needs extra kindness. You do it here at home all of the time. I know you think that dad or your brothers see it as much as I do because of the brotherly bickering or the ups and downs of having ADHD but I do and I know that do too.

  • When Austin is in trouble, you will come to me and try to help him get out of it or advocate on his behalf.

  • When dad is upset or angry, you'll come to me and try and make sure all gets worked out between us.

  • When we are watching a show/TV and there is something that you know makes me teary eyed you tell dad to give me a hug.
You are a kind person Alec. A young man with a shinning light, a strong good spirit, a very fun personality, and you are extremely smart. Stay focused on those attributes, and try to remain true to yourself, which is so hard at your young age, when having friends, being liked, and fitting in is so important to you. It is to all of us; its knowing when making sacrifices to yourself is really worth it. I wish there were a book I could give you, one you could just follow along with that would keep you smiling and on the right path, but there isn't.

I'm here to help you along the way, but it is you who needs to walk your path, do the hard work, and make the right choices.

I believe in you Alec.
I love you,



jenniferlaface said...

Colleen You are amazing! Alec is so blessed to have you as his mom!
I love you.
Love your sister

Jul said...

What a great Mom you are:)

Coastal Nest. said...

Awesome. Totally. Your a great mom, and friend to Paula. Thank you!