Charred Noodles with Cheese

Summers are the worst! For all ADHD Mom’s dealing with summer and food and kids who are always hunger.

...because healing spreads

I Kiss Better THAN I COOK

I’m jarred into the moment with a shrillness of a blaring fire alarm.  Holding my ears, I rush through the kitchen, switch the burner off, grab billowing pan off stove, rush toward the back door to the deck.  This is not a rare event.  It’s at least a weekly one.  I can’t say I hate cooking.  I just like to cook occasionally.  I won’t say I’m a pyromaniac, no that’s not it.  I’d rather say I love to learn and think and write, and kids and husbands have to eat so often.  If I’m ever to think deeply, put something down in writing, struggle over an idea, it will get in the way of cooking.  So when I found this sign, I decided to proudly post the truth:)  The sign is me, not only because I can be forgetful about meals themselves, but because I’m lacking nothing in the way…

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Uniform Colors

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Chapel uniforms have been the same four years in a row for our school kids. For some reason I can not ever remember what they are. Navy and kaki, white and kaki, or the burgundy and navy. Humm… maybe it’s the navy with the white. Well, year book came home with the kids yesterday. Oh dear, picture after picture. Ribs started aching at the outlandish hilarity of what we were seeing. Butterfly – the only little Pre-K’er wearing a kaki jumper and white blouse under, kind of the centerpiece angel, surrounded by her entire class wearing burgundy and navy. All Mr. Business in his class picture wearing a burgundy shirt and navy pants… color was right amazingly, but the only one without a vest. Another picture – there she goes… Butterfly running for the fund raiser, rainbow striped shirt and hot pink pants, the rest of her class behind and before wearing the burgundy spirit-wear.

For Mom’s Day at school a month or so ago, All Mr. Business asked me what my most embarrassing moment ever in my life was. After listening to my story, I asked him about his most embarrassing ever in his life moment. He told me it was a few years ago when I told him to dress for spirit day… he showed up to school in cowboy attire, from boots to chaps to belt, bandana and the hat – only to find out it wasn’t spirit day… nor was it spirit week. I remember the day well. I drove up to the school end of day. Marching up to the car he swung open the door, plopped onto the seat, slammed the door hard and announced “I HATE SPIRIT WEEK!!” Making my way out of the Mom’s Day event, I stopped to tell the school “Mother” about this incident. It took her a bit to contain the howling, snorting doubled over laughter – catching her breath she said she remembers that day. One of the teachers came by to ask her why Henry wore cowboy clothes to school. “I don’t know. I guess he likes to wear chaps and boots. I wonder if he remembers he attends a school with uniforms.” The kids and I realized, laughing hysterically as we poured over the year book that we really missed having College Girl home this year. Didn’t realize how much she had helped our entire family keep our details straight.

Well here’s to College Girl home for summer, and the minimal clothing complications summer might bring:)

Amelia

Charred Noodles with Cheese

I Kiss Better THAN I COOK

I’m jarred into the moment with a shrillness of a blaring fire alarm.  Holding my ears, I rush through the kitchen, switch the burner off, grab billowing pan off stove, rush toward the back door to the deck.  This is not a rare event.  It’s at least a weekly one.  I can’t say I hate cooking.  I just like to cook occasionally.  I won’t say I’m a pyromaniac, no that’s not it.  I’d rather say I love to learn and think and write, and kids and husbands have to eat so often.  If I’m ever to think deeply, put something down in writing, struggle over an idea, it will get in the way of cooking.  So when I found this sign, I decided to proudly post the truth:)  The sign is me, not only because I can be forgetful about meals themselves, but because I’m lacking nothing in the way of hugs and kisses to whatever kid or husband will take them!  For the record, our fridge is always stocked with pre-made salad I put together, a pot of chili, home made bread (that’s Adored Husbands nightly ritual), nut and crasin packs, pre-boiled eggs, often a pot of soup.  The freezer almost always has pre-made smoothies, corn dogs… you get the idea.  It’s not that the family goes hungry.  It’s just that spending 10 hours a day in the kitchen gets on my nerves.

There are ideas that float around Christian Circles  -opinions sent through the “A Goldy Christian Woman would …” grid.  Ideas that sometimes stand my hair on end, because they are ideas, not God Speak, and dump a whole lot of guilt on people for no good reason.  Ideas such as a Godly Women will set aside who she for what the family needs “for a season”  until kids leave the home, because time flies by.  That particular idea is partially true for families who have 2 children, two years apart.  However the idea lacks any validity at all for families who have many children, or families whose children are spaced out! – And anyone who knows are kids will agree we have spaced out kids:)… (OK, the acorn doesn’t fall far from the trees – plural.)  We had our first (College Boy) when I was 26.  I will be 60 when Butterfly heads off to college.  Thirty-four years to be exact.  That’s not a season, it’s one year short of 3 and a half decades – and during my prime.  I don’t ever think it’s Godly to be selfish and so centered on what I enjoy that I ignore or neglect my kids and husband, however there is a fine line between caring for my family and loosing myself.  If I don’t at times write, sing, climb a mountain, think a deep thought and express it, take a photo, write some more, I’m just a walking shell – a robot Mother, not myself.  I’ve tried putting me on hold for years at a time, wondering why I’d eat for pleasure rather than fuel, struggle with a sense of meaninglessness, and experience frustration at the feeling of being a failure when it comes to being a mother.   To be honest, I have never been able to come close to competing when it comes to birthday party events, volunteering at school, even keeping the house straight with the world all day every day.  Age has given me the gift of easy does it…,  it’s becoming clear that Mom’s come in all forms – even somewhat intellectual and bookish at times.  Some Moms thrive on casseroles and wrapping gifts perfectly.  Some can make casseroles and wrap gifts, but the tasks drain them rather than give them a sense of accomplishment.  Just as some Dads will coach their kids sports, others may teach their child how to trade stock, how to pull an engine or how to think about Western Civilization.  People are unique… that’s Mothers, too.  When I embrace who I am, my children start to embrace who they are, their sense of value further develops, they become better servants, care for others on a deeper level by the development of their own esteem.  Okay, I shouldn’t be burning up dinner once a week.  This is true.  The important thing is that no matter what has me deep in thought, I’ll not run out of hugs and kisses – well, not permanently, anyway:)  My family might survive on peanut butter and jelly a long time, but wouldn’t last long without love.

Amelia

Random and Regular

 

If you don’t believe in ADHD, come follow me around for a day or two.  I will make you a believer.  I don’t mean to be random, I just am.  I spent a lot of my life thinking I was stupid.  Wondering why I couldn’t hear a word spoken, busy with a thought far away from whatever was being said around me.  Couldn’t sit still.  Sitting in the tortured stillness of church or school impossible unless I distracted myself by bumping my knee up and down, relentlessly doodling or standing up intermittently and pacing at the back of the room.  Or the forever late problem.  Loosing friends because of being late, forgetting what I said I’d bring, or forgetting altogether that I would be meeting them.  Getting lost going places I’ve been dozens of times.  Loosing things.  Paying bills late with plenty of money in the bank.  Having no idea it’s picture day for my kids because I didn’t remember they bring a backpack home, let alone remember to read the papers in their backpack.  Not remember its chapel day although it’s the same day every week every school year.  Not remembering names.  Not remembering to make lunches though kids eat lunch five days a week – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been called by the school saying my child has no lunch at all.  Not remembering to set my alarm.  Forgetting to buy groceries although we eat all the time.  When I do remember, carefully making a list, placing it in my pocket, having no idea about looking at a list when I get to the store, never thinking once that I might have a pocket – wondering around the store, no rhyme or reason, without a clue as to what is needed at home.  Showing up with items we already have a dozen of.  I am not kidding.  Ask friends who have come to visit.  I have at any given time 3 to 5 open mayonnaise, mustard, milk, peanut butter, jelly, butter, salad dressing and applesauce containers in our fridge.  See, folks with ADHD overjoyed with life and embracing the moment have lots of kids, and sometimes their kids have the same challenges.  Therefore the problem is compounded as many times as the children that live like their random parent.

There is no way to fake this problem.  One day at work I walked the nearly ½ mile in distance from our office to the cafeteria, got myself some salad, put it in a takeout container, set my clip board and phone atop the lid and walked the ½ mile down halls, up stairs, along the very long hall, a turn, more never-ending hallways, the code punched in, through the open door to finish the long walk down another long hallway to the office.  Once through my office door I set my salad and clip board down, plopped into my chair and started nibbling at my yummy salad while working on a chart on my PC.  A few minutes later my thoughts were disturbed by a loud knock on the door.  I walked over to open, and there stood three security guards with very pale and frightened faces.  “Are you alright?” one stammered?  “What?” I asked.  They pointed to the floor where there was a trail of deep red blood starting at my door and going down as far as I could see.  The guards said it started at the cafeteria.  They wondered what in the world had happened.  I glanced down.  From middle of my shirt to the bottom of my white pants was a wash of red.  The guards saw it too, and almost looked panicked.  Laughter.  Laughter until tears were flowing down my face.  Doubled over, howling, gasping for air.  No way to talk through the gasps.  I walked the guys over to my desk and opened the lid of my salad.  Beets.  Lots of them.  Now this could maybe happen to others that have no ADHD, but I have these situations constantly.  No two incidences are the same.

Just two weeks ago I was on a trip with my husband and kids.  I went to the local drug store to fill my ADHD meds.  The pharmacist said it would be 10 minutes or so.  I wondered around with the kids.  About 10 minutes later the pharmacist tracked me down in the store, held up some keys, asking me if they were mine.  Of course they were.  I would have been in such a mess if I’d lost them because they were the only set for our rental car , and of course my phone was dead, couldn’t call my husband, and he had no car to pick me up.  I had the car.  The pharmacist had a bit of a smirk on his face when he told me that he could see I needed my ADHD meds. 

Many people don’t understand that ADHD is not, first of all, a kids disorder, and secondly, a disorder created by ‘the drug companies’.  There are so many misconceptions about ADHD.  Many think it’s a descriptor of a person who cannot concentrate.  WRONG.  The brain wiring causes hyper-focus, which prevents focusing on the moment, the task needed attending to at hand.  Forever there has been concessions made for men with these characteristics.  The Mad Scientist and the Absentminded Professor.  People will talk about how men are not able to multitask like women.  There have been no allowance in culture for a women with these same characteristics.  I am all woman and can not multitask at all.  And even for men, comments have been often heard such as “He sure thinks he’s smart… that college education and all, but not a lick of common sense”.  Now that there are advanced ways for measuring exactly what is going on in a persons brain that has this make-up, it is known that what is happening in a brain with ADHD is radically different from a person without ADHD.  At last there is no denying the disorder is real, unless one has no regard for basic science.  Yes, there can be dozens of other causes for the symptoms mentioned, however when those many reasons have been ruled out, meeting all criteria for the diagnosis and can effectively be treated with medication, coaching and understanding, the diagnosis can positively change a persons life and future.

wasn’t diagnosed until my 40’s when our son was evaluated and diagnosed.  This happens often.  A parent seeks answers and treatment for a child facing challenges that are limiting their ability to win in life, and ta-da – Mom or Dad have the condition, too.  It has a strong genetic component. My scattered state has seriously affected our son who needed badly for Mom to help him order his life so that he could have a little hope with brain wiring that was causing him to not live up to his potential.  My chaos has caused pain to our other children, and pain to our marriage.  Everyone needs predictability and order.  Lack of order does damage.

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Most of us with ADHD marry someone as opposite and ridged as God makes em.  This, you can imagine, creates a lot of fun, and a lot of pain for both, and generous portions of shame for the always confused one – having a desire to be the most amazing husband or wife ever, and yet forever failing.  Don’t misunderstand.  A person with ADHD can transform the house into a work of art, cook an amazing meal, and can pay bills, they just have major difficulty sustaining these activities for any length of time.  And if they do those three things right three days in a row, they will completely miss other very important things like locking the door at night, feeding the pet, getting a cavity filled, or putting the washed clothes from the washer to the dryer in the same day. If the spouse becomes the one who reminds, they become a sort of parent, and there is no attraction in that… who wants a romantic relationship with your Dad or Mom?  YUCK!  So the challenge is taking on these impossibilities yourself, maybe with the help of a coach, but not expecting your spouse to pick up the slack for you. Choose to forgive your spouse for anger they feel regarding unmet expectations.  Own what is yours, stay vulnerable, yet never allow any kind of emotional abuse from your spouse (put downs, derogatory comments, taking control, minimizing your freedoms, etc..) even though you have provided an easy target for your spouse to justify their negativity regarding you.  Grieve for your unmet expectations of being able to live a bit more free and spontaneous.  Work at respecting your spouses’ needs without being the one to meet every last one, setting yourself up for failure and he or she up for dependency.  Your spouses natural internal stability and rhythm can be a great benefit to you if both of you are respectful and want to see each other win in life. 

The best part of being ADHD is that life is never boring.  If one never runs out of gas, one never get to explore out of the way towns, meet helpful people, and is never necessarily grateful for the seemly insignificant blessings like the times one hasn’t run out of gas.  Really, I only need to watch a few movies in my life, because they are brand new for me every time, even for the 35th time.  I know who my real friends are.  The fragile sort who can’t take my constant forgetfulness and have me pegged as a thoughtless flake last about a week and are gone.  The ones I have long term know they are truly loved by me in ways that may not be conventional, but are signals of love nonetheless.  ADHD allows me to think about an idea and go deep with what I’m thinking about.  Allows me to look at things through different lenses.  My life is a dance, a song, a twirl, a twist.  It’s an amazing collection of challenges.  I’m lucky I have ADHD.  Glad I have plenty to laugh at myself about.  What would life be like to do it all perfectly, with one rare mess up, the complete and total undoing of my image.  That would be painful. 

Life is getting easier.  The more grace I receive from others, and grace I give myself, the less impossible creating some pockets of order has become.  Routine is the key for me.  But very flexible routine.  If I find a system for laundry that works, but can’t get it done the day I choose for laundry day, I use the same routine the day I’m able to take the task on.  That sounds like daahhhhhh for most people, but for me it has been a brand new and exciting realization.  Less works better for me.  I provide myself giant margins in my life.  We don’t have our kids in sports, music, AWANA, Scouts, anything but school and church.  I’m not in choir, singing for a big band, in a women’s Bible Study, or on any boards.  We’ve done those before throughout the years, and will return to them once I get past the complications of this breast cancer, but I have to keep sanity, connectedness, stories, listening, and a crazy slow pace at the top to manage life.  When we do add in activities again, it’s one at a time for each of us.  I use alarms many times a day.  I even put my list on my phone alarm.  Like set the alarm so that when I think I’m going to be at the grocery store it will go off and remind me to remember I have a pocket with a list in it that I need to look at.  Our trunk is continually being filled with bags of give away.  The more stuff there is to manage, the more difficult life is.  I have friends that give me ideas, that sometimes help me organize, that help me catch up on life.  Friends that know me and my mess and love me anyway. 

If you struggle with any of these symptoms, go find a doctor who has respect and a broad understanding of Adult ADHD and ask to be evaluated.  If you don’t struggle with these challenges, love your friends and family that do.  And if you’re not a believer in ADHD, come on over.  If you still don’t believe, I’m sorry to inform you that you have a different disorder called PAHTHSLDFAE – People Always Have To Have Some Lame Diagnosis For An Excuse – also refereed to as AAKD (Arrogant All-knowing Dweebs).

Amelia