Who am I?
The short answer–Stephanie Lormand. And this is what I look like with a small child growing out of my head.
But, really, who am I? The sum total of all my parts, with larger emphasis determined on a case-by-case basis? If I were to make a list:
Mother, ADHD medicine taker. Daughter. Army-brat. Friend. Enemy. Writer. Wife. Photo-taker. Biostatistically-influenced Social Scientist, Taker-apart-of things, Planter of things, Stay at Home mom, Feminist. Hippie. Liberal. Humanist. Hypocrite.
I have always been politically motivated, which means my kids are part of politics, too. After having to explain North Carolina’s push to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage to my kids, followed by the subsequent passing of the marriage amendment to both children I really pushed into state level politics. And within the last 2 years the profit-over-people actions of North Carolina’s state legislature keeps that fire burning.
My involvement in local politics led me to reading federal environmental legislation. I wept, and then I sat down and explained why the current Chemical Safety Improvement Act is the opposite of improving.
I’ve found thoughtful parenting to be a constant learning experience; for me. Looking at the world through the eyes of my children has demonstrated the ridiculous amount of adult-demonstrated hypocrisy. So embarrassing.
Looking at us (the adults) through that lens? Having to explain why a 20 year old would shoot up an elementary school full of children to a kindergartner? Or being the adult desperate for the calm, logic of Mr Rogers? Of explaining the reality and nuance of September 11th? Or maybe it’s the incensed irritation I feel when people wear their zealotic patriotism with no understanding over the true sacrifice, or even a basic understanding of the history that formed their symbolic attachments?
It changed my perspective to such a degree that sometimes I’m not sure about the person staring back at me.
I referred to her a bit in the beginning of this blog. She’s the before-kids version of me. The woman that never would have caught vomit in her hands on purpose.
The woman that talked her way into being in charge of a specialized subset in a biostatistics department at a company that gets contracted to do pharma/health research.
No I’m not suffering from split personality, but damn it often feels like her life belonged to someone else.
Other Self had lot of opinions; most of them incorrect. Other Self could do jumping jacks without wetting herself though; I miss that about her.
The husband. The man I tried to convince to divorce me (no one would know) after we filed our first joint no-kids tax return and owed the IRS a lot of money. The man, who during a discussion on sexuality during a sociology class made this comment:
“It’s my understanding that women have more than one erogenous zone.”
The very next day I began my coincidental appearance at place he liked to hang out (some call this stalking). I totally fell for his pick up line– I’m going to be a rock star— and he totally thought I was sane.
I’d say we are even.
He patiently supports all most of my unique ideas. Now. Over the years he’s stopped getting that look of, “Crazy Bitch wants to do what with a hot glue gun and a shower curtain?” Consequently, I’m more willing to listen when he takes off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose in response to my question, “why not just cut the square dining room table into a circle?”
He and I? We couldn’t be more different.
He’ll also tell you that if I had married someone like me, it would have been a fantastic (for the spectators) nuclear disaster.
With an insatiable curiosity (and an unstoppable mouth), he could rule the world. But first he has to move out of my basement– hard when he’s promising to never leave me.
To quote JB: “he’s just a really smart, really complicated kid”. I hear that he’s very sweet and compliant– at school.
Our second born son. A whirling dervish, shocking to strangers that often assume he’s younger. My personality compatriot, which works out exactly like you’d imagine. Blonde, blue-eyed, dimpled and left-handed. An artist.
My second born, so impatient he decided that there was no need for an epidural. This kid challenges everything I thought I knew about raising Small People. He’s adaptable– until he’s not and then he’s 35 pounds of immovable mountain.
JB’s physical mini-me. But Elliot’s refusal to just do what people want him to do; to conform?
I get why I’m an only child.
Parenting with ADHD
You can infer that mothering two children, (aka, the Small People) results in movement in different directions. Bonus for being an adult with ADHD mom whose thoughts—– ooh look, a shiny squirrel—- scatter. Often. But it’s not all bad, you know?
Sometimes I feel as if the information in my brain cycles faster than that in the folks around me. Notice I did not say suggest it moves more efficiently. Thoughts push and shove each other– often trampling the original thought to oblivion. Or I tunnel with a mole-like intent in the hyperfocus.
Case in point, I logged on to check the weather.
I’m of a dry wit, and thrive on sarcasm–giving and receiving. I’ve also become very good at totally pretending to not “get” passive aggressive comments. It’s awesome.
I love my children, but I remember when life with two kids threatened to overwhelm, or even terrify, me. I happy to include them in all parts of our home. I’m also comfortable with admitting that their neediness, and insistence on peeing all over the floor sparks the occasional irreverent language.
I don’t take any of this-life, marriage, parenting- too seriously; laughing at myself is fun. Not many people get a tattooed on a whim, you know?
But I do experience guilt. And I do for children what most adults won’t– I apologize when I am wrong.
I curse in my writing sometimes; it’s worse in real life. Remember that every time you wince over a word I’ve used here. I promise I tried not to, but a well-place FUDGE doesn’t have the same satisfaction.
I’m flexible with my life view, as I (finally) mature, there are but a handful of things that I’m rigid about. Some folks find my flexibility annoying; I find those folks annoying.
As much as I’m a mom in this century, and yeah, it’s hard, this thought that I have it worse than this mom? I mean, really ladies. I like to turn the mirror by which I judge myself for others to look at. They don’t always like that.
Try. Fail. Try again. Succeed. Do your own thing and learn how to make yourself happy. The only other option casts you as an adult whiny-cry-baby-pants, and they never get invited to the birthday parties.
Now, for all of you grammar freaks– I intentionally chose scatter over scattered.
–verb (used without object)
4. to separate and disperse; go in different directions.
5. the act of scattering.
6. something that is scattered.