Living "in the moment" had become something of a mantra. The idea is to be mindful of what's going on rightnow and not worry about what happened yesterday or what you have to do later. At any given time, we only have this one moment, right, so why not live in it?
I realized today that is exactly what Dylan does, and probably what all or most kids with ADHD do.
The moment that sparked this realization for me was nothing short of ordinary. We pulled up to church this Sunday morning at around 10:55am, just as we have thousands of times before, and I started to get out of the car. We traveled the same way, parked in about the same place, and would enter through the same door. For me, it made sense to be ready, both literally and mentally, to exit the car and head toward church.
He had been playing an exciting game of Men In Black on the way to church. He had a ray gun and was taking out nefarious aliens left and right. Who knew there were so many hidden aliens in New Orleans?
So when the car stopped, he didn't immediately unbuckle his safety belt. He didn't make a move toward the door. He didn't even gather up his weaponry to use on the way to church. The human-vs-Zartian* battle was still in play in the car.
This blows my mind.
It's not that it was unusual. Hardly. We replay a facsimile of this scene multiple times a day, hundreds of times a week.
What blows my mind is how regular it is.
For me, I'm always thinking 10 steps ahead. Now, the mindfulness proponents might be aghast at that and I won't deny that I could use a little more "in the moment-ness," but in everyday life, I find it's necessary - no, essential - to be prepared. To have strategized not just your next step, but several steps ahead.
My response to this morning's delay was simple. I left Dylan there and went into church. He's 10 and he can get out by himself and cross over to the church and get himself where he needs to be. Yes, I did go check a few minutes later, and he was, indeed, inside. My car was unlocked, which is not a good thing in New Orleans, but I let that go for the sake of efficiency and getting to church on time. The stakes were not so high.
Unfortunately, that's not true all the time.
I've written before how difficult it is to get Dylan up and out the door. The challenge of getting homework done. And recently about trying to explain money matters.
All of these require, I think, advance thought. Thinking beyond thisminute. If you are only living in one single minute, why worry about academics? That test occurs days or weeks later. Save for the future? No way! Not when what you want is right in front of you, this second. Get dressed for school or watch TV? No contest!
I see the same problem in RockStar, too. On days off, nap comes first, then chores. (And often, not all the chores get done.) He's had a very hard time with jobs largely, I think, because he doesn't like them "right now," not seeing that if he puts more into it, he might become more comfortable and like it better. The idea of retirement planning is completely foreign to him. So long as there is money in the account to spend today, he is happy. Unfortunately, that has often - especially lately - not been the case.
I'd love to have a great solution to all this. A wonderful anecdote about how we've been able to combine our individual strengths and weaknesses to create a hybrid of being in the moment and planning ahead. Unfortunately, I don't, although I can say that after years (literally), Dylan did learn that he had to be ready to get out of the car when the teachers opened the door at car pool. It's not that I hadn't told him day after day to get ready. But he had to figure out on his own and it was really like he had an amazing "ah hah" moment and was much much better afterwards. (The teachers were shocked and I'm sure they wondered what I had done.)
What we need is to find a way to make those lessons come a little quicker and to have a hybridized way of looking at time. They need to plan a little better; I need to relax a little more. Hopefully, we can find that happy medium.
*A Zartian is a Zombie Martian.