Last night was one of the best nights I've ever had. One of my best friends’ daughters became a Bat Mitzvah. And she was amazing. But - the best part - Bryce had fun. He had more than fun. He got a girl's number.
That may seem like a silly thing for a mom to be excited about, but not this mom.
Bryce was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at age five, and later with bipolar disorder and anxiety. I wasn't sure if my son would ever get to have that rite of passage of getting a girl’s number. He might not have a Bar Mitzvah - but for us, this was better. Seeing him smile, seeing his excitement that someone was paying attention to him, a girl, at a party, that he was doing what the other kids were doing, was what was truly amazing. “I am partying,” he told me.
It started like every other night. He wanted to bring a stuffed animal. We said no, it's not appropriate, to which he said, “I don't want to go.” It'll be fun, we said. Five minutes into the party, he ran up to me and said, “I hate this, I'm done,” and went and sat down with his video game. When I went to check on him, there he was, sitting with a nice girl who was talking to him while he played. Hmmmm, okay, I'll let him be.
Then he was dancing… with her. “I asked her to dance,” he told me in the morning. “I convinced her to,” he said.
Our friends and neighbors were there. They all saw it. Bryce is sitting with a girl, one friend told me. I know. Bryce is on the dance floor! What?? OMG, he is. Bryce is on the stage. What?? Bryce is taking pictures with her.
“Mom,” Bryce said, “she has to leave. Can I walk her to the door?” Of course you can, Bryce. And he did. Then he came back to the party, all on his own.
Not once did I worry about him last night. Not once did he tell me he wanted to hurt himself, or that his life sucked, or that he wanted to go home. He smiled, he danced, Bryce was just like all the other kids. I danced, I was able to relax and enjoy myself and my time at a party with my husband. We took a family photo. It was easy. Bryce is IN the photo, and better yet, he is smiling. I cried of happiness this morning. I can't remember the last time my son was that happy. And he is still happy today.
To our friends, thank you for having a Bat Mitzvah party last night. I will remember it forever.
The Greenberg family was featured in our Winter 2015 issue of heal magazine. Read their full story here.
Tracy Greenberg has become a strong part of the Sheppard Pratt community. She is mother to Bryce, who attends The Frost School, part of the Sheppard Pratt Health System. She gives her time as part of the Consumer Advisory Council, a group of family members, former patients, former students, and employees of the health system who are dedicated to improving our quality of care and enhancing recovery from mental illness and addiction. Tracy, an attorney, works as a supported employment outreach coordinator at Family Services, Inc., part of the Sheppard Pratt Health System, which develops and implements in-home and community-based prevention, early intervention and psychiatric rehabilitation services for children, adolescents, families and individuals.