Ali wrote yesterday about progress. Progress is a funny thing. As humans, we instinctively reach out for upward movement, to climb higher, then we slip, we fall, we get up, and reach out again. And then sometimes there’s this boulder that comes crashing down out of nowhere and flattens us. That’s where I thought I was in August–under a boulder.
My complex ADHDer has never had stomach troubles. Until nine months ago when all of a sudden he did. And boy did he. Like everything else about my son, it came on with mystery and intensity and has been resistant to all attempts this far to diagnose and treat it.
As I’ve watched him cope with the pain and exhaustion, it strikes me just how far we have come. While I feel like a boulder fell out of the sky and knocked me down the hill, rolling back to the start line, that’s actually not the case. I can’t deny the coping mechanisms that he’s demonstrating, the kindness and compassion for the medical staff trying to help him, and his empathy for us as his parents during this painful experience.
And when I see all that, I see progress of a different kind. I see a boy/young man who understands and verbalizes his feelings, instead of melting down from sensory overload. I see a boy/young man with the patience to wait in hospital rooms and doctors’ offices and not cry or scream. I see a boy/young man who knows how to get through life’s challenges.
I see a boy/young man whose exceptional heart always shines through his complex neurology, just as it always has. We never needed to track progress on that.