Shoot! I meant to do it. I had told her for the last three days that I would do it. I had gotten thisclose to doing it.
But then the dryer buzzed.
And I had to check my email.
Or I remembered “that thing” I needed to order.
If you could win an award for almost doing things, I would take the prize — hands down.
So I told my daughter, “No, honey, I’m so sorry. I forgot. But I promise I will do it first thing tomorrow morning.”
And I cringed when I heard her reply, “It’s fine … But you know how important it is to me.”
It’s only in adulthood that I’ve realized that I have ADD. I used to just think I was always forgetting things because I was unorganized — or simply not very bright.
It was almost a relief to know my scattered, tortured little brain had a name.
I now understand WHY I am the way I am. And, as a result, I’ve been able to use methods that help me remember things and stay on task. And I give myself a lot more grace. It’s been a 43-year-long process.
So, expecting my kids to understand mommy’s sometimes muddled mind is probably a bit of stretch. When I forget something that is important to one of them, they don’t think, “Oh, mom’s busy. She loves me so much, but she just forgot.” They think, “Mom doesn’t even care about me! I might as well be invisible!”
Sometimes they would even say it. And I would heap on the self-condemnation.
We tend to think that God can only use our strengths to teach our children. But sometimes I think He uses my weaknesses just as powerfully in their lives — when I let Him.
As I began to understand more about myself, I shared this with my children. I explained to them how hard it is for me to stay focused. That because I forget something, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think it’s important. I’ve told them ways they can help me remember (write it down on a sticky note or tell me when I’m not busy with something else).
I’ve found that being open with my weakness has grown some surprisingly great things in my children:
Grace. I think when they understood my forgetfulness wasn’t personal, or a lack of caring, it has made them more compassionate — and more willing to cut me some slack. Beyond that, they give me grace.
Patience. Our children are growing up in an “instant gratification” world. You want it? It’s yours with the click of a mouse. Sometimes my scattered brain means that they have to wait for things. And I don’t think that’s always a bad thing.
Ownership. Obviously, I want them to know that they can always depend on mom. But mom is human. And the older my kids get, the more they realize that. As they understand my weakness in this area, I’ve noticed they’ve taken the initiative to do more for themselves. And, at times, I’ll tell them, “If you want this done today, I honestly probably won’t get to it. But if you can wait until Saturday, when I’m not as busy and I’ll be more focused, I can do it then.” Sometimes they’ll wait, but sometimes, they’ll find a way to get it done on their own. And that’s been good for their confidence, especially now that they are teens.
How has God used a weakness for good in your children’s lives?
I’d tell you more about mine, but I think I hear the phone ringing …