Today is the day.....


Well-Known Member
....that I thought might not happen. Today is difficult child's graduation day from high school.

This is a little long, but stick with me.....

When I came here in 2002, difficult child was in a horrible place, I've always called it "the dark time". He was raging just about daily at school. The school had a "clear the classroom" plan and then I would come and take him home. We are talking about flipping desks and trashcans, yelling and screaming, and at one point he corned himself in the classroom with a pair of scissors and threatened to hurt himself if anyone came close. He was put on a modified day and things looked bleak.

I won't rehash all the things that led us to that point or the hundreds of things that were done to get us out - if you've been around the last 11 years, you know the details.

I will say that early intervention at school, talk therapy, a good psychiatrist, medication, assignment of a one-on-one crisis counselor, and total turn-around in parenting at home all played a role. But, looking back, I think one of the biggest pieces was he above age level understanding of his issues. When he was four, after a particularly tough day at preschool, he said this when I asked him why things were so difficult, "It's like I have a propeller inside me. When it goes fast, I'm bad; when it goes slow, I'm good."

This was an eye-opening analogy. He used his love and knowledge of planes (his first word was plane) to express that there was something inside that couldn't be explained. Through the many years as a young boy with issues, difficult child knew he was different, knew he had to try that much harder than the other kids to be good, and dealt with issues that other students didn't have.

But, as he entered middle school he didn't want to be that kid anymore. We tapered him off the antidepressant and antiphyscotic over the summer and he only had his ADHD medication. Middle school was not a walk in the park. But because he had some great teachers and a mom that held them to preverbal IEP fire, he worked through some of his earlier learning disabilities -- his ability to take notes improved, he wanted to do testing with his classmates, not a small group where they were given more time. He began to read a little more and be so overwhelmed by the written word. He still struggled, but he found ways to move forward.

High school was a great time of change. Maturity started to kick in which meant he was taking a role in his IEP and his medication. He found a love for the Air Force JROTC program, found a small group (and by small I mean 3) of friends, and decided he didn't want his ADHD medications by his junior year. He still struggled in math, but he was able to squeak by.

So here we are on his graduation day. He will be continuing his job this summer and into the fall. In October he decides whether he wants to go into the Air National Guard, the US Marine Aviation (or whatever they call it), or start college in January. He's a about 2 years behind his peers socially and I know that if I give him a little time to mature, he hopefully won't boomerang back home! He is paying rent starting next week and in July will begin paying for his data plan on his phone. Baby steps have worked so well for us, we are keeping with that plan!

He decided at the beginning of the school year that he wasn't going to walk at graduation. For me, I wish I could see him walk across that stage and get his degree because there were a few years I didn't think we would get here! But my difficult child, my little dude, is not one for pomp and circumstance.....I'm just got we got here with a surprisingly small amount of drama the last couple years!

A quick story - I love analogies. When the real trouble surfaced in second grade (and he was a difficult child before that and on medications - heck he was a difficult child from birth!) he was severely depressed, didn't want to have anything to do with his buddies and took no joy out of life. The raging was the only emotion he exhibited for a long while. It was in those dark days that I resigned myself to the knowledge that this boy would never go up on stage and receive a sport award or really do typical kid stuff.

In October of that school year was when things went dark. Therapy started almost immediately. The school principal told me that things would get better - he wasn't the only little boy she had seen with these issues - which I needed to hear so badly. That June, as usually was our custom, we went to the shore right after school was out. The kids had gone down to the water while I was "setting up the beach head". All of a sudden I heard laughter. I turned and realized that my son was jumping over the little waves at the waterfront, laughing every time he jumped. What a sound that was. Laughter and abandonment had not been part of our story the last year. It was then I knew that no matter how long it took, no matter how hard we had to work, things were going to get better. We would get through this.

So, while his classmates walk tonight, he has gotten a group of meaningful folks together and we will go to his favorite restaurant (a Japanese hibachi place) for dinner and return home for cake.

I will be as proud as any mother can be.



Well-Known Member
I am crying happy tears all over my computer right now. You have just given many people on here hope for the future.
I bet you were about to pop buttons last night.

unc tarheel

New Member
Thank you for this post!!! There light at the end of the tunnel. I believe we are where you were at the beginning. You are describing our difficult child almost perfectly- he will be in the second grade in the fall. Would it possible (littledudesmom) if I could as you some questions? Such as how you get through the rages at school??

Sent using ConductDisorders mobile app


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How wonderful! We are experiencing some of the challenges with my grandson that you faced when your son was younger. Reading your post makes me feel so hopeful! As Dr. Seuss said: "Oh the place you'll go!" Way to go Mom, family, school, supporting community.


Active Member
Happy tears are flowing for you!! As said above, you have given me hope during a very dark time. I will share with husband later.
Congratulations to your family!


Well-Known Member
Congratulations difficult child - way to go!! My difficult child graduated Friday night and it was amazing to me - it took a village to get him there - much the way it sounds for you LDM. Yeah Little Dude!

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Congrats to Little Dude!!! Sharon, this gave me goosebumps reading it! I am so happy for both of you!


Well-Known Member
It was a lovely evening, even bonehead made a heart-warming speech!

Any questions are welcomed via this post or pm.

When I first arrived here, it was a very scary time. Doing the research was depressing as I learned about all the comorbid conditions and predictions of a dismal future (homelessness, jail, joblessness, hospitalization, etc.). But coming here was a lifeline. That's the whole point behind this board. Extending our hands and hearts to other so they know they are not alone and there is hope.

It was the point of my post (ok, part of me was a proud momma!).

It's not easy, but nothing worth having ever is.



Active Member
Glad you indulged in your proud Momma moment!! I'm fairly new to the board, so I don't know your whole story, but I'm going to! I'm going back to pull up what I can from the archives. You mentioned a total turnaround in parenting, which I know we need to to. I would like to learn more about this.


Well-Known Member
Oh Sharon, I am so incredibly proud of him! Please tell him that for me okay?

As an old timer I do remember everything and I could not be happier for him and you. You have both done so well.

Tell him I am crossing my fingers he picks the
Oh, if he ever wants to go up and see Quantico and see the helicopters that fly the President around just let me know. Im sure Jamie can take him on the grand tour.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Janet. I will give him your words.

Thanks for the offer to see Quantico. I was thinking about taking him up to the museum (I'm sure you've seen it from the highway on your way to see Jamie) one Friday this summer since we are both off on Fridays. He has been talking to the Marine recruiter and the Air Force recruiter and has learned that the Marines have more "air power" than the air force.....


Active Member
I have not been around in forever, too many obligations, but I do remember you and your difficult child. I am happy for you, and grateful for your positive message.


Well-Known Member
:cheerful::eagerness::laugh::D:congratulatory:I am SO PROUD, Sharon! Congratulations to you both. So exciting. What a journey it has been.
I hope that all the newbies see this thread and know that there is hope.
You are a brave example.
{{Happy Hugs}}