Little Bit. The ripe old age of seven. I can’t believe how much he has grown in such a short time. He has also brought me an insane amount of highs and lows. Enough to make even the most daring of roller coaster designers jealous. He’s got a long way to go, and I am quite sure I will either be bald or completely grey-headed by my 40th birthday. I know, though, that he will be worth it, and I will be a better person because of it.
Joshua Michael. Joshie. My special little guy. As his mother says, he will make you want to hug him and strangle him at the same time. He has an incredibly huge heart but has infuriating moments where he only thinks of himself. I love his sense of humor. It’s sometimes incredibly annoying, but I must admit I love his absolute randomness.
He is also me. If you looked at how I was as a seven-year-old and look at how Josh behaves, you would have a hard time believing that he was not my biological child. This is good news for him — it means that I can relate to him better than most. With one look, I can tell what he’s thinking. This is also bad news for him — anything he tries to pull off…I’ve done it before. He speaks his mind, so you never know what is going to come out of his mouth. This also means that when you see him thinking about his answer, he’s thinking up a lie.
When I first met Tina, Josh was a whirlwind of chaos. Well, he was more of a whirlwind of chaos. He’s still pretty chaotic and whirlwindish, but I digress. When he was in day care, he was always getting in trouble. I remember her one night having a little panic attack because she was worried about him getting kicked out of school. Getting bad behavior marks at school was a regular occurrence. Tina was at her wit’s end.
That summer, Tina decided to put the kids in our local county-sponsored summer camp. She was really worried that he was going to get kicked out because you could only get so many bad behavior marks at this camp without getting kicked out. He almost made it. With less than a week to go, he got his last referral for pushing another little girl and he was done.
Joshua is a genius. Literally. He is also ADHD. This makes for a rough combination. Because he is super-smart, he can get bored easily without the right kind of stimulation. This can happen frequently in places like summer camp, day care, or school because everything is tailored to the masses instead of the individuals. So when his boredom meets his ADHD, trouble is born.
So we made the decision that I would become a stay-at-home dad. The results were not immediate. Tina and I were both frustrated beyond belief many times and wondered if all the sacrifice we were making was really the right decision. Part of this was because he actually was the one that took the longest to take to me. He held on to his old dad harder than the others. Part of it also is that routine and changes are hard on ADHD kids, even when they’re good changes.
He finally did adjust, and the change has been tremendous. He’s a straight-A student. He still gets the occasional bad marks in behavior, but has far more good days than bad. We still clash. This is still a work in progress. I have far more gray hair than when I started, but on the plus side, that eye twitch seems to be calming down. Most of his little quirks are far more entertaining without the infuriatingly bad behavior that goes with it. Little bit is an absolute force of nature, but I would not trade him for the world.
I should also point out one more thing that has made a difference. Well, person not thing. Two words: Grandma Sharon. My mom. After surviving having to raise me, she has seen her life recently swallowed up by a sometimes debilitating illness, Myasthenia Gravis. She has some days where she barely makes it out of bed. Most days she can function as normal, just much more tired. She’s constantly exhausted. The illness is caused by her immune system attacking her muscular system, much like Multiple Sclerosis where the immune system attacks the nervous system, or Rheumatoid Arthritis where it can attack the joints. She’s been in the hospital many times for treatments, surgeries, and to fight infections (including two bouts with septicemia). However, there is nothing more magical than watching the change on their faces when you mention Josh to her or Grandma to Josh. All three grandkids have a special place in her heart, but none have taken as strong of a hold as little Joshie. They have been what each one has needed. He rejuvenates her, gives her energy. She gives him stability, understanding, as well as constant attention and love.
It has been a blessing to see how he’s changed, to see a definite plan in place by a loving God, who has lovingly guided these lives together to complete each other. The best is yet to come…
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