One day when my two oldest sons were ten and seven years old, I took them out of school for a doctor’s appointment. My oldest, Grant, had been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and his brother, Joshua, with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). They were both taking medication to help them be more attentive in school in the hopes they’d perform better.
That particular day, after the doctor’s quarterly check-up was complete, on the way back to school with them, I decided to stop at the pharmacy and pick up their prescriptions. I had barely put the car into park when Grant had unbuckled his seat belt and was already up at the door of the shop waiting for us. All that hyperactive energy just had to go somewhere, I suppose.
I had long since given up trying to restrain Grant. He was fearless, knew no strangers, never sat still, and rarely slept. When he was a baby he would stand in his crib and scream bloody murder for hours at a time. He was protesting being put into his crib. Because he didn’t sleep, I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t bear to listen to the screaming, so I’d give in eventually and go get him and let him play. When he would collapse in exhaustion, I’d also collapse. Mothering him was a full time job, and then some. I learned a whole lot about patience over the years, thanks to him.
Joshua, on the other hand, was easy going, cuddly and thoughtful. When his older brother started school, you could find Joshua with his arms and legs wrapped around me, clinging like a monkey as I washed dishes or vacuumed the carpet. He didn’t say much, but whatever he said, had obviously been well thought out.
On that occasion, after Grant had slammed the car door, Joshua asked, “Why does he always do that, mommy?” Neither of us were in a big hurry to unbuckle and get out. Especially since we were having a serious discussion that wasn’t meant to be overheard by the object of our conversation.
“Do what, honey?” I twisted in my seat so I could see his sweet little face.
“Run ahead of us like that.” Joshua has always been very calm and quiet, pensive, even then. Not wanting to create tension between brothers, I paused a moment, silently contemplating the best way to answer.
Finally, I gave a halting explanation, “Your brother… is… just… very…” I congratulated myself on a wonderful choice of non-critical words, “different.”
Under his breath, and without pause, Joshua whispered, “You mean difficult.”
As I bit my lip to hold back the laughter, I found myself thinking, “Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom beyond their years…”