family trees and being different

I walked into her first grade class and it hit me.  We were the only ones…

Hannah had been given a project of putting together a family tree.  So…I thought.  And looked on pinterest.  And gave her some options of ways she could do it.

Her choice?

Make an actual tree.

Why not?

We collected sticks, transformed an old wrapping paper stick and she made all the tags.  We even color coded families and linked the cousins to their parents so she wouldn’t get confused on who belonged to whom.  She was SO proud of herself and all the hard work she put into it.

And when we walked in today carrying her tree, I saw the nice, clean stack of 2 dimensional trees: my stomach dropped a little.

Here’s the back story: I’m ADD.

There are probably plenty of people that don’t know.  In fact, I was one of those people for approximately 22 years of my life.  Though no one knew at the time, school was TERRIFYING for me.  I remember my stomach drop every time that we needed to turn in homework and I opened my overflowing, unorganized backpack and rummaged through all the papers to see if I had put it in there.  Somewhere.  Oftentimes close to the pretty folders I had bought thinking this would be the year I actually used them.

And if I had, in fact, managed to have the homework there, there was a new question…  Did I do all of it?  Did I do it the way the teacher had wanted or did I misunderstand the directions – AGAIN.

Most days were filled with mini-panic attacks.  And intense feelings of inward shame – even though most of the time I had done the work, it was there and I somehow got a good grade.

So watching my daughter go through school is sometimes hard for me.  I actually cried like a baby on my way to her PRESCHOOL parent-teacher conference because I was convinced I was going to be told that I obviously wasn’t being a great mother and I kept forgetting the important things she needed and I had to get my act together.  (PS: Not the way it went down.  And the teachers were some of the most incredible ladies ever.)  I get nervous I’ll forget the important things.  (Currently working on systems to prevent that which is helping IMMENSELY)  I’m afraid I’ll misunderstand her homework and help her do it the wrong way.

So when I walked in and saw we were the only ones with an actual tree, my mind started to go into panic mode.

I even asked the teacher if it was okay we did it that way.  “Was it supposed to be on a sheet of paper?  I didn’t see that in the directions…”

She said it was great.

I stopped myself and it hit me: I’m that 3-d tree in a 2-d world.  So is my sweet little girl.  And though we’ll look quite different most of the time – I like it.  And at least we make things interesting.

May you go out and fully be your 3-d tree in this 2-d world…  We need you.


(PS: I forgot to take a picture of Hannah with her tree, but once I do, I’ll post it.  Pinky promise.)

  1. Katie Lynn Sue Bell Pieces says:

    Love this. Love YOU! Wouldn’t change a single thing about either of you. And count me among the 3D trees!

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