Thursday, August 07, 2003
Last night I asked our youngest son to cut the grass. He had already cut the grass at our old house and burned his hand on the lawnmower. He didn't want to mow this yard. I was going to ask Kyle to mow. I looked around for Kyle to ask him to do it. I couldn't find him. I grew very suspicious. Then I saw him cutting the grass. It's just like him - he can be the most thoughtful and hard working kid. He started cutting but then stopped after a small patch. He finished later after I had left for work. But when I came home from work he hadn't swept. He actually did a job less than perfectly. That doesn't sound like much but it is a big deal for Kyle. He either doesn't do a job or does it perfect. Perhaps the meds are doing their thing.
We had a talk last night. I haven't mentioned the manic depression for a good week. I told him not to limit himself so much. My girlfriend ,whose mother and grandfather are bipolar and extremely successly,had great jobs. He said he still wants to go into the service. He also said he needs a car. He lost his license due to an excessive number of tickets, and was in jail when he had to take a traffic class that would have allowed him to keep the license. Of course, his insurance was cancelled. But what bothered me was that he took this all in stride. I think it is a good sign that now he wants to get a car. Next week I'm going to look for guitar lessons. If he can even learn a little rhythm, he could be playing and singing with a band.
The expression "You can't see the forest for the trees" really fits our son. I look back and can't believe we didn't figure out that he was bipolar earlier. We had so many counselors and psychiatrists giving us the wrong diagnosis. Kyle got in so much trouble as a child. Our oldest daughter would always say, "Kyle is the only one in our family that makes you cry, Mom." Which was true. I would get so frustrated because I didn't know how to parent him. He would take California Achievement Tests and get perfect scores. He read constantly and could memorize anything. And yet he was constantly doing poorly in school. When he was in fifth grade, he idolized Frank Thomas of the White Sox. He had many of his cards, posters, and wore mostly WHite Sox shirts, coats, shoes, and hats. My husband Jon challenged him if he got a perfect report card that he would take him to a White Sox game. It was an unbelievable offer and challenge. For half of the school year, Kyle remained focused. On the last day of school he came walking down the sidewalk furious. He had 8 As and one A-. He assumed he couldn't go without all perfect scores. But Jon took him and his brothers to Chicago. But the funny thing was that instead of being excited about the game he spent most of his time buying more memorabilia at the concession stand.
The thing that bothered me was the fact that Kyle couldn't or wouldn't work that hard in school all the time. I felt like I was failing him. He had many friends that I knew were not as smart pass him up in school. His brothers got special honors in school that he never got. It was frustrating to me because I knew about his intelligence. Didn't the test scores prove it? Last year, in his senior year he signed up for the marines delayed entry program. In their testing he tested extremely high again. Through this program, he could apply for any job or schooling. But this frightened me. I knew in my heart of hearts that the marines would be dead wrong for Kyle.