reality and fog…

Copyright K Mngqibisa 2011

Yesterday was filled with the wonder and anticipation of hurricane Irene…there were some pretty magical views to be captured as I accompanied my friend to deliver cakes for a wedding on the island.

Some reality for today…my youngest really is going to kindergarten.  This was literally painfully evident to us both as he received four vaccinations this morning.  I realize that I am so not ready for this and I can’t really do too much about that.  I can work on having a positive attitude towards it though which will hopefully in turn, encourage my son.  He looked so little to me and scared at the Dr…so vulnerable.  I do have to be realistic…it is not like I am putting a red cape on him and sending him into the woods to the wolves.  At least I hope I’m not.

More ways I will cope:

I will form and maintain strong relationships with the school…teachers and staff.

I will continue to find ways to forge conversations with my son about how he is feeling about the upcoming change…

I will do my best to feel positive about his new adventure and assure him in that too…

I will volunteer and contribute as much as I can to the school because it is important.

I will allow myself to grieve…to cry.

I think for a while yet I will feel like this building in the fog…I can see a little but must trust and have faith that the foundation is unshakable.



A harbor…no Ritalin and a hurricane!

Copyright K Mngqibisa 2011

Copyright K Mngqibisa 2011

Above are two photos that I captured while photographing a wedding a couple of weeks ago.  The Harbor was peaceful, quiet, almost silent as I stood on the balcony of the restaurant where the reception was held.  I think in pictures and have recalled this vision into my mind several times since I first saw it.  The Harbor at sunset…so serene that day.  I am afraid that what we will be experiencing in New England this weekend will be much more representational of what really happens in my mind on a daily basis.  Hurricane Irene is making her way to us.

One of my areas of growth in the past few weeks has been in working to close the gap just a little between what’s really happening in my mind and how others perceive how I am doing ‘on the outside’ …two weeks back had begun like any other week…that is until I ran out of my Ritalin and the pharmacy politely explained that they did not have enough to fill my prescript.  It ended up being 10 days no Ritalin and let me tell you…by the 9th day I was a hot mess!  Okay, let’s be real…by the 3rd day I was over some kind of edge. I was doing my utmost best to cope and even managed to elicit a few compliments like, ‘you seem like you are doing really well and keeping it together!’.  My response?  ‘Maybe on the outside…totally NOT in my head!  I’m a mess!’  Even on my best days, there is a grand contrast between how I seem to be operating to the general public and the National Guard presence in my brain.  If it seems like I am doing fantastic…you can bet it took a hell of a lot of thinking, processing, organizing and frantic running around that luggage carousel to get me there.By the tenth day, I was forgetting my name for real…couldn’t get it together…was getting in the car to go somewhere and quickly forgetting where it was I was even headed.  Such a mass chaos of distressed circuitry! I had no sense of time whatsoever.  My kinesthetic sense was so off I had a hard time locating myself!  I should have used my GPS but I forgot I even owned one…

Needless to say, I am happily on my way back to my very own ‘normal’ (whatever that is) and plan not to take a hiatus from my Ritalin again anytime soon.  As you can see, I did not blog at all during that time and pretty much I felt like large areas of my brain had been declared their own state of emergency much like a lot of New England as we speak.  If you live in an area where the hurricane is due to visit and happen to catch a glimpse of Irene, think of me…and stay safe!

I don’t think I will be venturing over to snap a photo of the harbor in the middle of Irene though I will be photographing the view from my house.  Stay tuned for the view inside my head!  (this could be the new ‘this is your brain on drugs’ commercial!  I can see it now!  ‘This is your brain…this your brain with ADHD!)  What a visual!

…turning the big change into spendable cash

change…well established that change and I are not fast friends.  There are times in life when you can very successfully avoid change.  When you can maneuver your way around it to almost completely minimize the effect it has on your plan…your comfy structure…your cozy routine.  And then…there are those ‘other’ times.  You know the ones, the times of change that leave you anxious and out of your mind worried about what will this look like? feel like?  be like?  These are the times that can leave you feeling like nothing will ever be the same again a permanent detour…like things will never feel like they did prior to that ‘event’.  Major transitions like job change, living situation change, marriage, divorce, death, birth…and so forth.  One of these big changes that I am dealing with right now is the transition from preschool to kindergarten.  Not I of course…but my last born…my baby boy.  Perhaps you can relate…I have been working on dealing with the fallout from this transition as I simultaneously attempt to reassure my son that it is all going to be okay.  This is a bit tricky when I am questioning in my own mind…’is this really going to be ok?’ ‘how will I feel when I am not there if he needs me?’ ‘how will I feel if he is not there when I really need him?’  I can see that he struggles with this too and he has a lot of questions to ask about the change.  Problem is, he often says to me ‘can we not talk about that Mama? I don’t want to think about it right now.’  So my concern is that in two weeks time, he will be in kindergarten and not here at school with me.  With new teachers and classmates in a new environment how will he cope?  Better yet, how will I cope? So how will I turn this change into an asset? How can I make it into spendable cash?  Here are a few ways that I will be trying:

Take advantage of moments to have six feet thick ice conversations.  (Yes, that is the beauty of me!  Six feet thick ice conversations are the ones you can have without worry you are going to fall through the ice and not get back out of the freezing water.)  When it seems safe, venture out on the ice a little…have a conversation about the upcoming change and then scoot back to shore.

Visit the school and make it familiar.  This will help you and your child feel more comfortable and you too will be able to envision your child in that environment.  Take a few trips to the playground together.  This will give your child familiarity too.

Remember to attend the back to school bbq or ice cream social…a great time to meet other families and also the teachers and other school staff.

Don’t pressure your child to talk but be ready to go there with them when they are…practice listening and be sure not to minimize their concerns…work together to come to solutions.

Take it day by day…or as I am right now, minute to minute!

any ideas?  I surely welcome your input

i am a brain surgeon…

…just finished watching a brilliant documentary about Autism.  Along with wanting to be a pediatric neurosurgeon, I wanted to attend UNC Chapel Hill (the Autism Capital of the world) to obtain a degree in working with children diagnosed with Autism.  In college, I spent my nights caring for two adults with Autism among their challenges.  I had a real connection with these people.  In my twenties, I worked in a specialized school for children with a myriad of challenges.  I worked for a very long time with a girl named Beth.  I spent very long days with her and recall many mountains that we climbed together.  I can only hope that her memories of the time we worked together are a fraction as fond as mine.  I grew a tremendous amount during my time teaching and caring for many individuals with this diagnosis.  I recently revisited my intrigue of Autism.  In doing so, I watched a compelling documentary called Loving Lampposts.  You can view the documentary here:

I appreciated the perspectives shared and the shift of focus and energy that it emphasizes…check it out when you have a moment!

I truly did want to be a pediatric neurosurgeon…I am fascinated by the brain and by child development.  I suppose, in my heart, I am a brain surgeon of sorts…I am a preschool teacher.  That certainly lends itself to influencing growing minds now doesn’t it? And hey!  I sometimes do wear gloves…and come to think of it, I scrub in many times a day!

i have a rock in my pocket…and i’m NOT afraid to use it!

We all have giants…things that we face (or totally choose not to face) that may seem daunting, looming, sometimes too big to look at. Sometimes it is too overwhelming to think about. I am a rock collector…I prefer smooth rounded stones that I may hold in between my fingers. I love the ones that I find on the beach…the ones that have been crafted by the power of the mighty ocean. I read once (long after I had begun carrying my smooth, carefully chosen stones in my pocket) that doing so was a means of changing the energy around you.  The article stated that stones were said to absorb negativity. There is much talk about which stones work and which do not…I don’t get into that.  I use the stones I find.

Perhaps I took this concept and applied it to my ADHD self and made it my own.  I coupled it with my connection to David.   I have a kajillion smooth stones at home hidden in various jars and such…in my bureau drawers, in pockets.  The stones I carry hold great significance for me…they are my beloved and trusty stones…like Davids’ stones that he confidently carried as he faced Goliath head on.  I sometimes forget that this is a strategy for me.  It really works well as long as I remember.  It grounds me, focuses me…reminds me of my unshakable foundation that God is for me.  To quote one of my favorite songs by Casting Crowns, ‘I’ll take a shack on a rock over a castle in the sand’.  It is nice to have the stones in my pocket and when I go through tough times or interactions, I have my Ally McBeal moments when I just whip those stones out and throw them at the person who is giving me such grief!  Quite satisfying…

So how do you face your giants?  With ADD/ADHD these giants could be getting the dishes done…making a difficult phone call…showing up in a social situation…anything that causes you to hesitate, start to worry, isolate, avoid…small things can be big AND as I have found with my stones…little things can be POWERFUL!  Equip yourself with the little things you need.  Build a firm foundation and no matter the giant this foundation will remain unshakable!

Copyright K Mngqibisa 2011