The concept of this letter has been on my mind since I took my seven year old and middle child, T.J. to sleep away camp on Wednesday and left him a card to open on his second day at camp. It fits so well with this week’s FMF (Five Minute Friday) phrase, “in between”, that I’m going to try to write everything I’ve been thinking about him, his special role as my middle child, and this “in between” phase of learning he has ADHD and finding a solution to manage his condition in five minutes. So grammar, punctuation, and spelling are not going to be awesome. But this is the beauty of this community, we write every Friday for five minutes for the pure joy of writing.
I hope you like this week’s FMF “The Boy In Between”.
You’ve been at camp for two days and I’m wondering how are you doing in this in between. Between my farewell on your cabin’s porch when I kissed your sweaty forehead and rumpled your damp curls to this very morning— two days after I left you and one day before I can bring you home— I wonder ‘how are you doing, Baby?’. And I’m trusting that you’re remembering to be a good listener, and a kind friend, and an adventurous boy. Because this is your chance to be just you. Not the boy in between a sardonic big brother and a sassy little sister, not our little music man, not even my Tear-Bear—just you. And I hope in this in between—these days of being “just you”— you’re not lonely or afraid or sad. I hope God is showing you how wonderful, and beautiful, and simply perfect you are. And I hope you’re forming that “super-awesome” story I asked for in your card.
But in the meantime, I have a super awesome story for you.
There once lived a little boy who was kind and gentle, sweet and smart, fiercely loyal and full of strength. But very few people saw this boy as kind and gentle, sweet and smart, loyal and strong. Oh, most people caught glimpses of him standing in his outgoing brother’s shadow, or looked pass him to gaze at his beautiful sister, but they didn’t see him. Who they saw was the “middle him”— the “in between” him.
Until he couldn’t sit still for long or look at them in their eyes— then they noticed the boy in the middle. Then his voice was singled out as louder, harsher, higher, and all together, inappropriate. And when he rebelled with angry words and cold shoulders, they noticed him for all the wrong reasons. Soon they figured out words jumbled on the page for him and easy math frustrated him.
Then they wondered, “Why?” and “What’s going in his mind and his heart?”
So, they pulled him from in between his siblings and the other students. They pulled him out on his own and saw him as he is—kind and gentle, sweet and smart, loyal and strong.
Bright and full of life.
And they learned something that this boy’s mother knew all along; there is a constant thrum of energy right underneath his skin that makes his voice a little louder and his mind race a little faster. She knew his kindness turned to anger easily when the words or numbers evaded him and his commitment to his vision, his ideas, and his heart is stronger and fiercer than they’ll ever know. They called him inflexible. She called him loyal.
But she didn’t have the right words to describe her bright boy, until they gave her four letters for his condition. ADHD. ‘Clincal and cold’, she thought. Wholly inappropriate for her little man.
So she wondered how to tell him what the others found and she wondered what those four little letters would do to his sensitive heart. And while he was away, enjoying his time in the sun, out from the middle—she knew it.
The house was quieter without his voice. The family’s rhythm was slightly off and their melody out of tune.
And she knew it.
The thrum underneath his skin is his music. And this condition, ADHD is his song.
And she remembered how she sang, BarlowGirl’s “Never Alone” to him when she protected him in her womb and how that summer right before he was born, she couldn’t listen to Alicia Key’s, “Diary” enough. And she remembered how he could sing on pitch as a toddler and played a whole sheet of music at percussion camp like beats and measures made up the double helix of his DNA.
And she knew this in between of learning how to form that music into a symphony will be hard on both of them, but she was committed. Loyal. Inflexible, you may say, to see it through.
Because this will be his song.
A song of hope.
A song of joy.
A song of love.
A song of victory.
A song that will set him apart.
From out of his brother’s shadow and out of his sister’s line of vision.
So, baby. This is my story for you. It’s super-awesome and so are you. And I will harmonize to your melody no matter how frenetic it may be and I will grab onto our Savior for a steadying rhythm to keep us in time. And I will tune my ear to the thrum underneath your skin and sing that you are “Never Alone”, baby. You are never alone. You are never alone.
If you’d love to join this community, follow this link and give us your best five minutes on, “in between”.
If you’re looking for “Do You, Mama pt. 2” it’ll be up Monday Morning.
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Yours Because We’re His,