Archive for May 2015
May is by far my favorite month. “Of course it is, Becky,” my family and friends say. “It’s when your birthday is!” Still, even if I were born in a different month, I would like May the best. The weather is perfect; it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold. The winter is behind us, and the entire summer is ahead of us. The days are long and they keep getting longer. So many of beautiful flowers are in bloom: colorful tulips, fragrant lilacs, dainty bleeding hearts, elegant roses, bell-like lilies-of-the-valley, and my favorite flowers: the azaleas.
If you’ve read my book “Distracted Girl,” you know that the front cover has a picture of me as a little girl standing in front of an azalea bush in bloom. I clearly remember the day that the picture was taken. I was in second grade, and it was just a couple of months after I had been diagnosed with ADHD and started therapy and medication. I even included a description of that day in “Distracted Girl,” which is as follows:
May 17, 1986
It’s a beautiful Saturday morning. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and when I read the thermometer in the kitchen the way Mrs. Whitman taught my class earlier this year, I see that it was seventy degrees Fahrenheit.
“That means it’s warm enough for you to wear shorts!” Mommy says to me and Lisa.
“Yay! Summer’s here!” I say. I put on a red t-shirt, red and white striped shorts, and red jelly shoes. I go outside, and feel the warm sunshine on my arms and legs. It feels so refreshing after so many months of cold weather and being stuffed into heavy layers of bulky clothing. The bright pink azaleas are in bloom, and I stop by the bush to admire them before going into the backyard. I run around on the emerald green grass, as if I were letting go of everything that has been cramped up inside of me all winter long.
This spring brings not only a new season of warm weather and the rebirth of the plants and the earth, but also the dawning of a new phase in my own life. Ever since I’ve been taking Ritalin and meeting with Vance, I haven’t been getting in trouble anymore and I’m doing better in school.
The Ritalin doesn’t magically make me feel different or anything like that, but I have noticed that I don’t feel an urge to get up and walk around in the middle of class, and that I’m able to sit still and control myself. I keep remembering what Vance said about how some behaviors that are appropriate in some situations aren’t appropriate in others. Before I do or say something, I try to stop and think about whether what I’m about to do is appropriate or not.
It’s also easier for me to pay attention in school. I no longer make as many careless mistakes on my tests and I am getting A’s in spelling and math like I did at the beginning of the year.
After Lisa and I have spent a few hours playing on the swing set and climbing trees, Mommy calls us inside for lunch.
I have always remembered the joy I felt back in ’86 when I stood in front of the azalea bush, and every May when the azalea bushes bloom; I am filled with joy again in anticipation of summer and all the wonderful times the season has to offer.
To me, the azalea has always symbolized hope. No matter how cold, snowy, and treacherous the winter is (and believe me, it was extremely treacherous this past winter in Massachusetts), the snow will eventually melt, spring will come again, and the azaleas will once again bloom.
I like to think of it as a metaphor for the difficult times we go through in our life. Though we experience pain, depression, and loss; nothing lasts forever, and someday, we will experience happiness and rejoice, just as I rejoiced in the warm sunshine and the beautiful azaleas blooming in May of 1986.
Excerpt from Distracted Girl by Rebecca Rizoli, copyright 2014 ©