Monday, October 15, 2012

Parent of an ADHD Child

Parent of an ADHD Child.  Stitched words:  Embracing the difference by not medicating.  Xylene photo transfer on tea stained muslin. Hand embroidery    22" x 28" unframed; 30" x 37" framed.  Click on image to enlarge.

The Internet is a wonderful thing.  It allows people like me to "throw ideas to the world" with hopes of a response.  Someone saw my blog...connections were made...emails were sent and forwarded and reached Magee Landrum.  Maggie contacted me via email saying, "A friend of a friend sent me a link to your blog and if you are still looking for participants, I'd like to volunteer. ... I was thinking about a decision I made recently.  My son is in the process of being diagnosed with fairly severe ADHD and there is a lot of pressure to put children with this affliction on drugs.  The decision I made was not to medicate - to embrace the difference rather than try to suppress it or normalize it." 

Our exchange of message went on until this portrait resulted.  It was clear that her decision was made after very, very careful consideration from every angle and with loads of love. 

Being a parent is hard work.  There are plenty of problems along the way.  Decisions must be made.  What is "right" in one situation isn't necessarily "right" in another situation.  All the children are different.  All the parents worry and do the best they possibly can.  When it comes right down to it, this decision is exactly the kind I wanted most for this series.  It is bittersweet and thought provoking.  It was a hard decision that had to be made.  It was a decision with no "right" answer, one that might apply to every similar circumstance.  It was a decision made with knowledge and love.  It was a decision willingly shared through this series.  I am grateful to this family for their trust.  Most importantly, it is a very, very beautiful mother and child.  The love shines through.

The entire Decision Portrait Series resulted from my own struggles with my younger son Alex.  At seventeen years of age and after violent fit of rage, Alex left home.  He's an uninsured, unemployed high school drop out.  Did Steve and I make all the right decisions in raising him?  No.  Did Steve and I have to come to terms with the decision Alex made to leave home?  Yes.  We were powerless to really do anything at all.  Parental relationships are hard.  I hope this portrait of mother and son makes people think about their parents, their children, and the choices we all make trying hard to do "the best thing" when the long term results of our options aren't particularly clear.

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