Therefore, it shouldn't have come as a surprise when his name was announced not once but twice for winning top honors last week. Young Authors state winner. Fifth grade science fair winner. Labels that no one could've forseen my inattentive, impulse, argumentative, over-reactive boy ever wearing.
ADHD is an insidious thing in that it hides behind beautiful brown eyes and a wide smile. It sneaks in when you think you've cast it off. But, sometimes, it convinces you to lower your expectations, cast down your eyes, and pray that your child will only blend in and never stand out.
And so, Javi's ability to shine shouldn't have surprised me, but it did. That's the trap ADHD set for me.
Despite the pain of getting caught in a sharp-toothed trap, the realization that I've underestimated Javi hurts worse. I've been holding on, white-knuckled, to hopes of anonymity. Let him not stand out. Let him be a middling student, a face in the crowd, a voice that speaks neither too softly nor too loudly.
Let him be average.
After six long years of public education, six years of phone calls and letters and constant complaint. He can't sit still, he won't stop talking, he argues, he jumps, he hits, he stares off into the distance.... Six. Long. Years.
Of course, two top awards and one week don't erase the weariness of time and effort to appease and fit in. And, unfortunately, the world doesn't stop spinning at fifth grade.
We're facing middle school and beyond. Tougher academics, heavier social demands, a maturing student body that may well leave my sweet Javi far behind. Yet, the lesson's been learned, for me, the hard way.
I will not push my child to be less than his very best self. I will not cloud his potential to shine. I will not allow ADHD or anything else to mask Javi's particular combination of intelligence and creativity under the guise of average.
Congratulations to my oldest on excelling in both writing and science. You are a wonderful student -- and an even better teacher.
***This post is part of Wordful Wednesdays.***