Being a single dad to a teenage girl is hard. ADD doesn’t make it any easier.
This is an actual e-mail I recently sent my daughter who I affectionately refer to as Drama Queen. She turns fifteen next week and will begin tenth grade a couple of days later.
I’ve had full custody of her since she was almost six and although I’ve had my moments of parenting failure I feel like I’ve done a pretty decent job with her.
Lately I’ve been fighting to keep my self esteem up which is tough what with the gnarly case of ADD and the other neurological problems I’m dealing with and trying to get under control.
I’m telling you this so you have an idea of where this is coming from.
I know I haven’t been myself lately and I’m sorry. I’ve been spending so much time trying to get myself together that I feel like I’ve ignored you. The reason I’ve been quiet has nothing to do with you, it’s because I’m having a hard time concentrating, focusing and communicating.
Because of this I’ve become a hermit and am afraid of interacting with people, even online. If you don’t know what “Hermit” means don’t ask me. Please look it up on your own. FYI, it’s NOT a 60’s rock band.
The neurological problems and ADD have made it hard for me to work a lot and you’ve done without a lot of things the past couple years. I want to tell you that I appreciate your generally good attitude about it and I want to remind you that going without builds character. I learned that from grandma and I strongly suggest that you file it away to use on your kids.
My ADD wasn’t diagnosed until well into my adult years and I spent my childhood being told that I was stupid and lazy. I know you’re still trying to figure out ways to cope with your ADD and I hope I’ve never made you feel stupid or lazy. If I ever did, I apologize.
I’ve tried to help you find ways to get organized though you usually don’t follow through long term. I’m hoping that you’ll work with me so you can get organized this year and so that we don’t have any of the problems from years past.
My high school years were not as amazing as I would have hoped and I want you to have the best experience possible. I know you’re smart, you’re teachers tell me you’re smart and I think you know you’re smart. How about we work together to find ways to harness that smartness?
There’s a book I’ve been reading called You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m actually pretty smart. What I have to do is find ways to cope with the neurological issues and to identify the things that keep me from being me.
I know that when something doesn’t come easy you tend to get frustrated and walk away. I know because I used to do it too. Actually I still get that way sometimes though I’m more likely to get stressed and obsessed while I try to figure it out. Neither way is good.
All I want is for you to be the best you that you can be and to know that you have a happy life. Mine hasn’t been as enjoyable as it could have been but that’s because it took me forty-six years to start to figure out my life.
Lets work together to figure out how to make this happen, OK? Since you’re not playing tennis anymore you need to get out and jog plus do your yoga DVD. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel about yourself when you start doing things to improve your life.
I promise that if you take Lucy [our dog] jogging three times a week and do your yoga DVD three times a week that you’ll feet better about yourself and life in general. Don’t forget to take a couple bags when you go jogging. I’ll also make an effort for us to take Lucy to the dog beach more often so we can all get some more exercise.
If you need help with school I’ll do what I can to help but I want you to make friends in your classes so you have friends to study with. Also, you’re taking the PSAT in October.
Now that you’re in high school I worry more about boys and I’m begging you to keep in mind the type of guys I don’t like. Please don’t get all crazy for some kid that I’m going to be forced to mock. It’s fun to do when it’s a friend’s daughter but it’s not as fun when it’s your child hanging out with some emo skateboarding wannabe.
Why do I care so much about your education and your life? It’s because you are my only child and you’re the one I’m going to rely on to put me in a good skilled nursing facility.
I’ll make you a deal. You help me get through life and I’ll help you. Are you down with this? Let me know.
Photo of girl courtesy of Shutterstock.