Going into the new year, I’ve always stressed over the things to come. Taxes that are due quickly after the start of the year, back to school plans, laundry…always laundry. This year I feel like I need to leave 2020 with peace and not stress over what’s to come.

The past few weeks have left me feeling accomplished, yet eerily calm. I was able to complete report cards and first week back plans before break started. I went into Christmas break with a clear mind knowing I wouldn’t have to work it all away.

Somehow I’ve stuck to that and haven’t touched my work bag since December 18th. This feels so strange to me as I’m constantly planning and replanning as I go. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you my motto for the past few weeks has been “It’s fine…It’ll all be ok”. He’s probably wondering what happened to his control freak of a wife. (Or loving every moment until that personality returns.)

This year break has been very relaxing. I’ve enjoyed moments with family, made big leaps with some even bigger issues for me, and actually rested during vacation. I haven’t written much, but ideas are constantly floating through my mind. I can’t remember the last time I’ve enjoyed time off this much.

I said it in the title and I’ll say it again now. I am leaving 2020 behind with peace. Peace of mind, peace in my heart, and at peace with old wounds. I am looking forward to all that 2021 has to offer me and my little family. Happy New Year to you all!!!

But not real fun.

This past year has been a struggle for many (if not all) of us. It all started with the Coronavirus outbreak. The word “pandemic” shot fear through everyone worldwide. We’ve started wearing masks, hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and avoiding daily tasks due to risk of illness.

My family has been very blessed to have avoided it so far. (Knocking on wood and saying lots of prayers!) With mine and my husband’s jobs, we surely thought it would’ve made its rounds by now.

A few months into the year our small community was devastated by a massive tornado. So many people lost everything and one beautiful family was taken from us. Even through the devastation and heartache, people from all over pulled together (in the middle of the pandemic) to help. Clean up crews, churches, neighbors…you name it.

Fast forward and skip a few things, we went through a very trying time with our oldest. As I’ve mentioned before, her ADHD and mood disorder diagnosis has not been easy. We are still in close contact with her providers and are finally on the right medication path (for now). It cycles, so we take the good and relish in it until it’s time to start over again.

Skip a few more months to October. Happy birthday to me! Oh and thanks for the ER visits and medical bills. My first big health scare in a very long time came the day after I turned 35. Tests, scans, bloodwork, reactions to contrast…and daily medication. But I feel better, I’m gaining my weight back, and my condition is manageable. It turned out to be nothing too serious but had me down for a month.

It’s December now and a bout of insomnia has set in. I have medication for a sleep aid, but feeling hungover the next morning doesn’t work for me. I take melatonin most nights only to wake up around 2:00 am, and now I’m writing this at 4:00.

BUT!! My daughters are healthy, we are face-to-face at school, my husband and I still have an amazing relationship, and I’ve started the venture of writing again. All in all, I’ll take the bad and weigh it against the good. The good outweighs it every time. Optimist? Yes. This day and time you almost have to be.

When I started blogging I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I do. Yes, I love writing, but the idea of figuring out what to blog about is still a little tough for me. What do people want to read? What will end up being my niche? What successes will come from this first step of putting myself out there?

Well, I’ll start by celebrating my small steps. I’ve been working on my novel for a while, and still have a long way to go, but I’m adding pages almost daily. Celebrate!

I’ve come up with an idea for a children’s book that is seasonal but I think will do well. I’ve already written a rough draft for about half the number of pages I’m striving for. Celebrate!

I’ve been fairly consistent with posts on here, averaging about three to four a week. No niche yet, but I’m writing what I know, feel, and enjoy. I’m putting myself out there. Celebrate!

I’ve submitted three guest post inquiries to other bloggers in the past two weeks. One was a bad inquiry in which I didn’t hear anything back from. But two!! Two of my inquiries will be used as guest posts in January! Celebrate!

Back to my novel, which is my writing baby…I’ve held this content VERY close to my chest. I haven’t shared it with anyone other than a few chapters with my husband. Even then I squirmed while he read it. But I felt the need to share it on here with y’all. I posted chapter one of my novel on this site, which was a HUGE step for me. Celebrate!

None of these small steps have made me an overnight success, but they make me do a little happy dance every time I think about them. I’ve found that I really do enjoy celebrating my small steps to accomplish my dream of becoming a published author.

Who knows…maybe one day I’ll see my name on a printed cover. 🙂

(Who else pictured Steve the Monkey from the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie every time they read “Celebrate”? Just me?)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have a hard time getting my brain to power off at the end of the day. It’s almost like the computer program that runs constantly in the background. You know, the one that asks if you’re sure because you could lose unsaved data?

With the end of a nine weeks coming up at work, my husband taking certification courses and working, running after both girls…you get it. The day never seems to end. And when I finally get a chance to lay in bed, I crash hard.

After many nights of this and restless sleep, I decided to research and try out techniques to help my brain slow down. Here’s a few that I have liked best.

1. Brain Dump- yes, it’s as appealing as it sounds. The first few times are tough because you want what you write onto the paper to make sense. It doesn’t have to. Write whatever comes to mind. Grocery items, a to-do list, or just random thoughts. If I’m able to get it out of my head and onto paper, it doesn’t creep back in just before I drift off.

2. Mind numbing games- this one sounds counter-productive. And for some it may be. For me, if I play a crossword game it helps to slow my mind down. I can last maybe five to ten minutes before I risk dropping the phone on my face from getting sleepy. Sometimes I even get my husband to play it while I watch and fall asleep on his shoulder. (He secretly enjoys this one too!)

3. Read- I can usually grab the book I’m currently reading and enjoy it for a few minutes to make myself sleepy. It’s almost like I’m not in my own thoughts, so they drift off and I can do the same. Now, I can’t do the Kindle version for this. It has to be a physical book. For some reason it has a different effect.

4. Melatonin- there…I admit it. I sometimes take one of my daughter’s melatonin gummies to help me sleep. I don’t wake up feeling groggy like I do when I take any other form of sleep aid. This is the one I resort to when it’s been an incredibly hectic day and I feel like I got nothing done.

And if none of these work, I move on to my tried and true method.

5. Write- I feel like this one is a given, especially since I’m laying in bed as I type this post. It kind of wraps up a brain dump into making myself think and getting out what’s on my mind. I’ve tried journaling, but it’s not for me. I have random notes stuck everywhere and ideas for stories on the corners of notebook pages.

As short as this list is, it makes me happy to share it. For all you parents out there, my daughter does these things also. Her go-to is reading. I’ve found flashlights and books under her pillow many mornings from where she read to put herself to sleep.

How to you make your brain power off? What’s your go-to method to “shut down” from the day?

It has been on my mind and heart today to share the first chapter of my novel in progress with you all. I’m not sure why, but I feel like I need to. Anyone else ever get that feeling? That you just have to put it out there to help hold yourself accountable for finishing the story? Anyway, I hope you enjoy and look forward to the rest (which will hopefully be finished soon). My goal is to self-publish by this coming summer!

Chapter 1:

            “This is insane…I shouldn’t be here doing this. I CAN’T do this. Why me? Why now?” All of these thoughts run through my head as I sit on the cold, hard floor. You can smell the wood, the varnishes…the flowers. Then it happens. The walls start closing in. The doorways and voices all disappear. I can’t breathe, can’t see, can’t even feel. “Do you see one that you like?”, a voice from the distance asks. “Ma’am? Are you okay?” I stand up and try to whisper a strong “I’m fine”, but nothing comes out. At the age of 29, I never thought I’d be here. Which one would he like? Which finish? Which wood grain? Which interior? Does it really even matter? He won’t feel the material or see the wood with its gold embellishments. I slowly turn and walk back to the enormous mahogany table in the other room. Widowed before thirty. My daughter fatherless at 3 years old. Everything goes blurry again.

            I feel a hand rest on my shoulder. I quickly pull myself together and turn to see who it is this time. The funeral director looks at me with sad eyes. I can tell that he’s seen people in my situation many times, but maybe never at such a young age. “What do I do now?” is the only question I can muster. His voice breaks as he quietly answers, “Just take care of yourself and your precious little girl.” He steps away as the room fills with family again.

            “We chose the pine finished one with a cream satin lining. We are also going to have a blue stripe pillow placed in there for him and we need to run his obituary in four different papers. How does that sound to you?” John’s mom, Mrs. Linette, looks at me with hot tears pooling in her eyes. I just nod. I’m not sure how to handle all of this. I’m not exactly their top pick to make the decisions for John’s funeral. And I completely understand why. They out-lived their only son. It’s only natural for them to feel the need to make everything perfect for him.

            “Obituary…we need to get that part together also.” I don’t think I have ever been so grateful for a stranger to take the lead. The funeral director’s voice seems to snap my mother-in-law out of her trance. “Yes, you’re right. We need to get that done and then we can all be on our way,” Mrs. Linette states in as passive a voice as she can muster, “Songs, scripture, pall bearers, what else?”

            “Whether you believe me or not, John and I actually talked about this when he became an officer. He wanted that one Amazing Grace song that you like. The church can be used since he was a member there.” I try to give my input but the odds are that it’ll be disregarded and something else will be chosen. Silence…all eyes are on the table that separates us. The funeral director, whose name I haven’t caught yet, tries to break the silence by clearing his throat and asking, “Would you like that to be the first song? Or would you like it played at a particular point in the service?” Again, nobody makes a sound. At this point I take it upon myself to get this done, “Let it be after the final prayer, the one right before he is carried out of the church.”  After a quick glance, I see that we are all in agreement with subtle nods. I proceed with the funeral director to finish the order of the service. When it comes time to pick the pall bearers, I look at Mrs. Linette. “I’m going to leave that part up to you,” I say as decisively as I can. She knew the life we had as a couple. She knew everything I went through with her son. She also knew that at this point that I didn’t care who she chose. They all played a part in the number of reasons our marriage crumbled, and I wouldn’t choose a single one if it came down to it. But, obviously, that isn’t an option.

            Mrs. Linette proceeds with knowing glances, “Nicholas, Christopher, and Matthew of course. Maybe Joseph and Brandon?” The single thought for her to not look at me is all that crosses my mind. Bitterness will get me nowhere at this point. “DeAndre is another that I would suggest,” she continues. His sisters turn to look at me. His grandmother and father do the same. I politely excuse myself and walk outside to call my dad and check on Ryann.

            Before I can begin dialing, I hear footsteps coming up behind me. With a heavy sigh, I turn to see John’s uncle slowly approaching me. “How you holdin’ up?” he asks cautiously. “Best I can, I guess…Uncle Gene, how am I supposed to do this? How am I supposed to explain this to Ryann?” I’m doing my best to hold back the tears, but a few spill over onto my cheeks. He looks at me for a few seconds before saying, “You will know how to handle it one day at a time. You are strong and she’s a smart kid. Ryann needs you just as much as you need her. Prove this little town wrong and show them you can handle this mess. I’m here if you need me. You will always be a part of our family.” His concern still shows, but he’s trying to mask it with confidence. “Now come back inside and make the decisions others are too hesitant to make. You know how John would have liked his funeral. You were his wife, so you should have the say in how it goes. I admire your want to include his family and give them some control, but they aren’t in the place they need to be mentally to make the decisions. You have a good head on your shoulders and are holding yourself together with remarkable strength. Show them you can do this,” his smile slowly fades as I turn to walk back in. Does he really feel that way? Or is he setting me up for World War III?

            They are still discussing pall bearers when I walk back inside. Still debating on two for the final spot. Mrs. Linette and Jennifer, his sister, are giving pros and cons for each of the two options. I can’t take this, so I decide to speak up. “Why not just choose Shawn? He was supposed to be his best friend and partner after all. I think he deserves a little bit of recognition in this.” Maybe I was a little too blunt. The stunned looks on their faces tell a story that only I can interpret. Shawn was the one that was supposed to have John’s back. He was supposed to help protect him. Instead, John is dead and Shawn is getting a promotion. I wait for a response and get none. “This is a decision that has to be made now. I understand that it’s hard for y’all, but it’s hard for me too. People are going to talk regardless of who you choose. They believe and repeat anything that sounds remotely close to juicy gossip. We all know that the rumor mill is what runs a small town. So…Who’s it going to be?” It seemed as if no one knew what to say. The funeral director nods and puts Shawn’s name in the empty spot. “That’s it then. Everything is set and ready to be put together. Is there anything else you can think of that you might want?” he looks directly at me. A quick, mumbled “no” is all John’s mother gives. She shoves her chair back and walks outside to get away from it all.

            I’m the only one left in the room with the funeral director. “Thank you, Mister…” He slides his card across the table with a gentle smile. “Mr. Herbert. You have no idea how much you have helped me get through today.” We stand and I shake his hand before turning to walk out. “Would you like to see him one last time before we start the finishing touches?” Mr. Herbert asks quietly. I begin to shake. I can’t breathe again. But somehow, I manage to whisper “yes, please”.

I follow him down a hidden hallway and into a cold, stark white room. There he is. John is laying on a metal table covered by a white sheet from the shoulders down. I’m scared to inhale because I don’t want to smell the unforgettable stench of the embalming fluid. When I do make myself breathe, I realize there is no smell other than bleach. The fluorescent lights don’t even give off that annoying hum. Silence. Stillness. Emptiness. With each slow step, I can feel my heart breaking even more. Part of me wills John to turn his head and grin at me. Willing it all to be a dream. When I finally make it to the side of the table, I force myself reach out to touch his hand. Never in my life have I felt something so cold and lifeless. His still body looks almost transparent in the harsh lighting.

As I stand and stare at him, I start remembering things I blocked out from that horrific night. The phone call from Shawn, the grim expression of his chief and his refusal to look me in my eyes…I collapsed on the floor. My chest tightening from the shock. I didn’t think it was possible to feel everything and be completely numb all at the same time. Shock took over my entire being. Yes, I cried. I sobbed. I broke like fine china falling to a tile floor. But I also knew that I needed to keep it together for Ryann. My dad watched her for me to go identify his body. The calls come one right after the other. The screams from the select few calls that I do answer still echo in my mind. The same panic that I felt that night, but somehow didn’t let show, happens all over again. I have to snap out of this. Nobody else is remotely close to being strong, so it’s left up to me. I take off the necklace he gave me the Christmas before and place it in his hand. Someone comes in behind me but doesn’t interrupt my actions. I turn to see Mr. Herbert standing there with that same gentle smile. He nods knowingly and says that it will be placed accordingly for the services. I thank him and walk out of the room.

Exiting the building hits me like a completely different world. Everyone else has already left. Hopefully this means no interaction or conflict to deal with for the rest of the afternoon. I sit in my car for a few short minutes clearing my head before cranking it up and turning on the air. The southern humidity is almost comforting in its familiarity. As I reach over to put the car in drive, I hear a tap on my window. I look over to see Shawn staring back at me…`

I roll the window down half way and look into his sad eyes. “Natalie, I…I don’t know what to say. It wasn’t my fault. I got called away by another officer and…I should’ve never left him. I should’ve stayed.” Shawn turned away and stared out over the trees. This is neither the time nor the place to hear his side of the story. I figure the best way to do this is to sit down with him. It’ll help both of us if I hear him out. “Meet me at Nana’s Diner tomorrow morning at 9:00. You can explain it all then. Right now I have to get back to Ryann and figure out how to explain all of this to her.” He nods hesitantly in agreement and turns to walk away.

            “Shawn?” I call back to him. He turns with a questioning look. “You said another officer called you away. Which officer was that?” He takes a deep breath before finally answering, “Natalie, I can’t say. I could lose my job. My reputation is on the line and I can’t risk it for my wife and kids.” Anger hits me like a wall of fire, but somehow I hold it all inside. A quick nod is all I can give as I roll the window up and drive away.

Of course he can’t say. His job is at stake. What about John? What about his life, and the family that is now suffering because of his death? What about us? I can’t hold it in anymore. I pull off onto the grassy shoulder of the road and bang my hands on the steering wheel as hard as I can. I scream at the top of my lungs. The hot tears stream down my face. I can’t go back to Ryann like this. I have to pull it together yet again. What good am I to her if I can’t hold myself up? I quickly dry my tears, take a few slow breaths, and pull back onto the highway. I turn the radio up as loud as possible to drown out the sound of my own thoughts. I’ll get my closure from Shawn tomorrow, one way or another. He will tell me who the other officer was. Screw his promotion. My daughter will be hurting because of him and this other cop. Nobody messes with my daughter’s well-being. Especially not someone who could be responsible for her father’s death.

By show of hands, how many of you have had a toxic relationship in the past? How many of you are still dealing with the effects from it? And how has it affected current relationships for you?

I don’t think I can raise my hand any higher. I was in an extremely toxic relationship in the past that still guides a lot of my daily thoughts. Let me explain…

My husband works 48 to 72 hour shifts. We don’t get to talk much when he’s gone, but make a point to talk before bed. If something comes up and we don’t get to, the doubt by creeps in.

I wonder what he’s doing that he can’t answer or call back. (He’s a firefighter so this shouldn’t even cross my mind.) I then begin to wonder if he’s unhappy with our marriage. Who is he with? What is he doing?

This turns into me remembering the times I had as a single mom and all of the trauma I experienced from that bad relationship. Cue the waterworks and a passive aggressive text message.

Now, we have always had a great relationship. Most of our disagreements are about my insecurities, but even those disagreements are minor. He constantly reminds me that he isn’t the one that hurt me. He isn’t the one who broke my spirit. My response is always “I know, but it doesn’t make the feelings go away”.

It’s been five years since that bad relationship ended, and I still haven’t been able to fully recover. I don’t think I ever will. However, I do need to find a way to not make my husband (who is a saint) pay for the sins from a relationship he wasn’t part of. He didn’t even know the guy.

I feel guilty that those past sins still have such an effect on my current life. I hate that it makes me doubt the one person who made me see that love isn’t always going to end in tears and hurt. I feel a desperate need to fix this and don’t exactly know where to start.

When I figure out how to do this, I’ll let y’all know. If you have already worked through it, I’m open to advice! The sins of that past relationship shouldn’t still be creeping in. I’m proof that there is happiness again after a storm. I can’t let that storm ruin this happiness also.

Earlier tonight I was browsing Amazon after I put the baby to bed. I have only a few people left in my Christmas list to buy for and I refuse to be a last minute shopper this year… Well, I hope to not be anyway.

My oldest still had some time before bed, so she chose to come sit and shop with me. Normally this turns into searching for dolls and Pokémon cards, but tonight was different.

We buy for her bio dad’s family every year just like the rest of our families. We make sure she spends holiday time with them and goes to as many family gatherings as possible. It just so happened that the people left on my list were her grandfather and aunts, so I asked for her input. (I already have her grandmother covered.)

“Poppy likes green and needs a neck pillow for his truck. He needs to relax while he drives.” We compromised and she settled on a green neck pillow for his recliner and a green coffee mug for work. He gets to relax at home and stay awake while driving.

“I want to get Aunt K a locket. A heart one with a picture of me in it.” Easy enough. Now I just had to help her choose one that wasn’t an urn for deceased loved ones. (I never realized how many different ones there were for that purpose.) She finally picked a pretty silver one with a cross engraved on it. The picture inside has yet to be chosen.

“I think Aunt K #2 needs a cup. She likes cups but Aunt K is my favorite.” …..Good to know, but not exactly fair or nice. We browsed for a bit longer before she picked a floating locket that she can customize. Then we had to get her dog a gift. Check that one off the list also!

We tackle the uncles tomorrow. That should be interesting. Maybe they will end up with sock warmers or ear muffs. The kid has strange logic, but has chosen decent gifts so far.

As an adult shopping for other adults, I tend to gravitate towards useful gifts for the home. She completely changed that perspective tonight by pointing out their favorites and making them personal and enjoyable. I mean, who wouldn’t choose a neck pillow over a new screwdriver set??

Taking notes from my kid, don’t focus so much on how useful a gift can be. Choose one they can enjoy for years to come, even if they don’t last forever. Her thought process makes these gifts so much more meaningful.

I remember camping every summer with my family. We would always go to the closest KOA and set up tents for long weekends. We would swim, fish, play card games…you name it. I treasure those memories so much. It’s almost like the world sped up and forgot about those summer weekends.

I still remember riding bikes down those dirt paths with new friends and cousins. We would make up new names for each other and ride past the pool like we owned the place. The KOA is still there, just a much more updated site now.

This past summer we decided to take a week to camp at this same KOA with our girls. It’s close enough to home that we could leave if it was too much to handle, yet far enough away that it felt like a vacation. We borrowed the camper from my in-laws and set up under the trees for the week.

The first day started out slow. There weren’t many families with kids camping there, and the ones that were there were only passing through. Our oldest, Boogie, started to get bored and whine because there was no one to play with. Super Dad to the rescue!

While I got the baby down for a nap, my husband somehow talked Boogie into taking a bike ride with him around the pond. They were gone for quite a while and I started to worry a little. During this bike ride new campers came in and others left. It was closing in on supper time when they finally made it back.

There were no issues, only tired legs and a lost phone that they had to track down. Boogie seemed pleased that she was able to go and do something without me (helicopter mom) watching her every move. Then she spotted them. Three “golden” children only a few sites down.

Her dad got her on the bike again and they rode over to introduce themselves. I walked over with the baby once she woke from her nap. This family was the nicest and friendliest ones we had met during our stay.

The friendship between the children quickly blossomed into dinner guests, playdates, and swimming plans. As a parent of a child who struggles with friendships from time to time, it warmed my heart that this family just accepted Boogie as she is. She was never too much for them. She fit right in and was never a problem.

Their friendship, even though they only spent a few days together, is still growing. The girls are now penpals and Boogie is (not so secretly) planning a trip to see them. I pray they remain friends and do meet again one day.

* I referred to them as the “golden” children because (1) that’s their last name and (2) this family truly has hearts of gold. The mom is an inspiration to everyone she meets, the dad left an impression on my husband with their brave trip across the US, and the kids are just awesome.

Here’s to summer friendships and memories that last!!

I just realized that I did not post on here yesterday. And it may not happen every day due to family, my full-time job, life…but I am going to try to do my best at posting as much as possible.

The title popped into my mind after the realization because I was silent here but working on another project. You see, this novel I’ve been working on has been a struggle past a certain point. Not because I don’t think it’s quality work, but because I can’t make it as vivid in words as I do in my mind.

I am in love with the first few chapters. They probably won’t get touched again at this point. The raw emotion is perfectly worded. You can feel the character’s sadness as you read. It’s just…my absolute best (in my opinion). After chapter three there’s a big change due to time frame. That’s where my words can’t seem to match my thoughts.

So I decided to take a break from it and work on another project I’ve thought about for a month or so. This one seemed to come more easily and just flooded onto the page. It’s…(drumroll please)…a children’s book!

My target age group is four to six, younger with a parent reading of course. It’s a picture book written in a conversational style between a mom and son. It is a Christmas story about Santa…and that’s where I’m going to stop. 🙂 It’s not ready yet, and I don’t want to give too much away. Of course, this close to the holidays, I am planning for it to be released late next year. Stay tuned!

My point of this whole post was to say that I’m not giving up on blogging already. I’m still here, just working on other things. To my fellow bloggers, any tips for a newbie who has motivation but not enough hours in the day? ‘Til next time!!

My oldest had therapy today, and I thought, “Why not share our story?”. Now is as good a time as any, and I always get questions about it when I write on the topic. So, if you have a bit of time, here we go…

Boogie was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of four. I had that gut feeling that she’d be diagnosed at an early age due to her biological father having it and seeing red flags. My teaching background helped with that. I tried supplements, diet change, oils, you name it. Nothing natural worked. Some did dull the effects of her behaviors, but not to the point where she could function like she needed to. And her behaviors were becoming a distraction to her classmates and teachers. This was when I decided to talk to her pediatrician.

We went for the typical screening and filled out all of the forms. The doctor looked at me and said, “Yep, classic case. She hits all of the key markers, even at this age”. This led us to a documented diagnosis and our journey with meds began.

All was fine and dandy for about two years. We didn’t have any medicine changes other than dosage. No other concerns were brought to my attention from her teachers and we didn’t see any at home. I guess we were all just kind of use to her being her.

Then we switched her school to the one where I work. And as luck would have it, I was her teacher. (Private school, only one second grade class.) I slowly started to notice some behaviors in class that just didn’t line up with only ADHD. I made notes, we changed up meds, tried new combinations of meds…nothing seemed to work long-term. Then the pandemic hit.

We contacted a behavioral specialist to help cover all bases and see if maybe it just was not the right medicine for her. He did extensive tests, met with us almost weekly, and referred us to a therapist. I’ll admit, we had two therapy fails before this, so I wasn’t too keen on it. I put the therapy off for a while. It wasn’t until her big explosive fit that I gave in.

This fit consisted of kicking car windows, screaming, blank eyes that were almost black, just not my Boogie. For a few months we were back and forth with the doctor trying to figure this all out. His suggestion was to stop all meds and start from a clean slate. To put it lightly, we had two weeks of hell in our home. I updated her doctor daily through email and scheduled an appointment for the following week.

Now we are sitting on a diagnosis of ADHD and a mood disorder. She’s on two medications daily, and is thriving again. We do have some days of fits, as well as some days of horrible sadness, and her anxiety gets pretty amped up from time to time. But we work through it. Her teachers are amazing, school administrators are on board with some behavioral interventions, and the guidance counselor is now her “aunt” because she loves her so much.

I know I jumped from beginning to end pretty quickly, but if I didn’t I’d have a book instead of a blog post. My advice to anyone going through a tough time with your child is to advocate and do what you feel is best for them. You are the only person who can help your child with big (and small) issues. If you feel something just isn’t right or is being pushed aside because “that’s just how they are”, make your voice be heard. We had a great experience from the beginning to now, and I hope it continues that way. But, not every parent is fortunate enough to have teachers and caregivers that get it. Speak up. Not only is your child’s well-being at stake, yours might be also. I’m a perfect example of that. Again, that’s a post for another day. 🙂