My Lovable Tough Guy

Through ADHD and autism, this mom sees the sweetness in her tough-but-tender son.

Kim Stricker on her ADHD child's Mother's Day card
Kim Stricker on her ADHD child's Mother's Day card

The best part of Mother’s Day is putting your children to bed, watching them sleep and thinking how sweet they are. You don’t always feel the same during the day, when they are clubbing each other, whining, and talking back.

Last year my Mother’s Day was perfect. I got a card and flowers from my son, Builder, who has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. The card says, “Happy Mother’s Day — to the best mom in the world from that always hungry, seldom serious, frequently wacky, often rowdy, occasionally tidy, not quite civilized, almost lovable little tough guy who grew up to be me.”

The card was meant to be given by an adult, so I’m not surprised that Builder chose it. He thinks he is 25. But it did stop me. He gets it, and I need to get it, too. Someday he will be older, and many moms have had Builders living with them, driving them crazy. And guess what? They grew up.

At bedtime tonight, while tucking my other son, Bounce, and Builder in, I thanked Builder for the card and asked him what his favorite part was. He said, “Where it says ‘tough guy.'”

He is my tough guy. He thinks he’s tough because he swears like a sailor and defies my requests. I think he’s tough, because I need to parent this pipsqueak Sinbad into a respectful, educated, kind person. I call him my lovable tough guy.