A wonderful thing happened last year. I got a contract to write a book: a payment up front, a year to write it, an editor, a marketing team — the works. I write with my mother, a community psychologist and positive parenting guru — so I hit the ground running when I started my mothering career fifteen years ago.
It was a heck of an adventure, working with mom, one of those amazing wise crones who keeps un-retiring to save the world. The writing was intense. Starting in January, we sifted through all the latest research on bullying, and wove it together with best parenting practices for raising kids immune to its evils. We worked night and day on our laptops, and soon life’s details like oil changes, dental visits, and vacations fell by the wayside. Our 200-page book became a 300-page book. Life happened: birthdays, houseguests, plus a death and a divorce in the family. Then it was fall and school started.
My son began his sophomore year with characteristic optimism, liking his teachers, making new friends, and starting new activities. But just as the book deadline loomed, his first report card came in...and it was a disaster. His tests at Kaiser had been inconclusive, but they finally did one more test and figured out he has ADD — the inattentive kind.
I hardly had time to process this revelation, with the book due in a few weeks. But the tears came anyway. Where did we go wrong? I did everything right! Heck, I’ve written books about raising kids!
One day, while I was writing a chapter about connection and attachment, I wrote this sentence: Attention is the world’s most precious resource. How many times, as a mother, had I felt pulled in all directions, with so many people and things in need of my attention? And here, as my son was struggling with the complicated demands of high school, my nose was in a book. I was wrapped up in my own thoughts.
The irony was heavy, but I didn’t lose hope. I finished the manuscript and turned my attention back to my most important volunteer job: providing my child with the structure he needs to succeed.