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How the Tooth Fairy Reminded Me To Celebrate My Son

My son’s ADHD symptoms — his weak social skills and occasional meltdowns — drive some people away, but those who accept him will be lucky enough to experience pure kindness, joy, and empathy.

Female hand holding piggy bank. Save money and financial investment
Female hand holding piggy bank. Save money and financial investment

One Saturday morning, I watched my seven-year-old son play on the floor with toys he would forget to clean up later. I knew, but he did not, that the boy he considered his best friend was throwing a birthday party that day — and he wasn’t invited. His ADHD symptoms sometimes drove friends away, and they also made him socially unaware when it was happening.

With a smile that revealed a wiggly tooth, he said, beaming, “It’s Milo’s birthday today. Can I give him a present?” My heart melted and broke at the same time. That night, the wiggly tooth fell out and he placed it under his pillow. As I tucked him in, he said, “I’m going to use my tooth fairy money to buy Milo a present.” In the morning, he woke to discover no money. His lame parents had fallen asleep, forgetting to place coins underneath the pillow. In a morning panic (due to empty wallets), I slipped him a note from the tooth fairy: She had run out of money and would return that night.

I braced for the understandable meltdown. Instead, my son came from his room with the note, asking for a hammer to break his piggy bank. “The tooth fairy needs money. I’m going to leave some under my pillow for her. And use the rest for Milo’s present.”

As I watched him play, I realized that there are a lot of ways my son’s ADHD will get in his way. He fidgets, makes noises, forgets, and can’t focus. He’s often emotionally dysregulated. But that’s not all he is. He’s funny and fun, his heart is big, and he is kind.

Some friends will break his heart. Those who accept him for all that he is will be lucky — and will be the kind he truly deserves.

ADHD in Boys & Fostering Kindness: Next Steps


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Updated on November 16, 2020

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