Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Friends’

Immigration From My Perspective

Do you remember when I blogged about marijuana?  I told a story that only I could tell.  I told a story about what I have learned about marijuana from the people in my life who have used marijuana.  I didn’t pretend to know the right laws to pass, and how to proceed in the  bigger world.  I just said that what I have witnessed is the destruction of bright, talented teenage boys who have decided they love marijuana enough to marry it.  Or, at least, trade it for their future.

I said that maybe legalizing marijuana will do what some folks say.  Maybe all sorts of problems will be solved when legalizing marijuana happens.  That’s how I’ve heard the story spun.  So be it. Maybe those pro-legalization folks are right.  But, I can’t change what I have seen.

I will continue to tell my kids that even if they see marijuana Twinkies on the shelves at Wal Mart, don’t be fooled.  (And, really, you shouldn’t be eating Twinkies anyway.)  Marijuana puts exciting, adventurous, productive young lives at risk.  I’ve seen it.

My viewpoint on immigration is also colored by my own experience.  Really, do we have anything else?  I’m not impartial.

It’s interesting to me that my thoughts on immigration have also been formed by taking part in the lives, and building friendships with teenage boys.  I should thank my husband for bringing these kids into our lives.  I’ve learned a lot from them.

I’ve been trying to listen to the larger immigration debate.  I’ll tell you straight up, I don’t have a handle on it.  I don’t know all the issues, and I don’t know who is right and who is wrong.  I can’t imagine being in a position of having to sort it all out.  It’s a lot.

My personal stance on immigrants is that I love them.  Or, at least, I love the immigrants I know.  I never realized these kids I know are immigrants.  I just thought they were awesome kids.  They are just kids I like with fewer privileges than most, and  kids who work really hard.

One day , Scott asked me if I could give one of these young guys a ride home from wrestling practice.  This boy usually rode his bike to practice in the early morning, and home at night.  I assumed he lived in town.  He didn’t.  He lived eight miles away.  Morning practices start at 6:30.  Wrestling is in the winter.  In Wisconsin.

When I dropped this boy off, I could see that our modest house was luxurious in comparison with where this boy lived.  After I dropped this boy off, I  had a rare experience.  I had no words.

Later, when I was freaking out and telling Scott how amazing this kid was for riding his bike to practice, Scott said he knew.  He also told me that the gears on this guy’s bike weren’t even working properly.  The bike was stuck in a high gear, making the hills on this boy’s route even harder.

We found that boy a better bike after that,  and made sure he had rides (in a car) as often as possible.  Because really, how many Americans don’t have extra bikes in the garage? Not many.

My kids were young,  and in the car with me when I gave that boy a ride home.  On the way home,  after my words came back, I started wishing I could make that boy understand that my kids were better people for knowing him.  I was grateful to him for teaching my kids and me about how to work harder and be more appreciative.  I was hoping I could some how pay him back for that.

This boy is just one of Scott’s many friends who came from, or who had parents who came from Mexico.  We’re lucky to know these people.

Most of these guys we know through wrestling.  Many times, these boys end up having to quit the team before their senior year.  These boys apologize, and tell Scott they wish they could stay on the team, because they love it.  But, sadly,  they can’t.  These boys have jobs, and families who need whatever income these boys can provide.

Some of these boys have made it to their senior year.  Some how their families were able to sacrifice the boys’ earning potential, and allow the boys to have this American wrestling experience.  I’d like to get to know the parents of these boys better, and hopefully be friends.  But, I don’t know most of these parents, because I never see them.  These parents work 7 days a week cleaning offices and hotels, and working in factories.

We have received thank you gifts from one single mom, for helping her boys.  Jeesh.  I’m embarrassed to even write that. Can you believe it?  I want to tell that Mom this, “I know you are as fiercely devoted to your children as I am to mine.  I know that you would do anything to protect your kids and help them succeed in life.  I know that you would love to watch your kids wrestle, if you could.  But, you have to make a choice to feed and shelter your boys over watching them wrestle.   I’m sorry that I get to watch our kids while you work.  That isn’t fair.  I hate to ask anything of you, but could I ask you to PLEASE just let me be the one who is grateful?

I’m grateful to you,  because you inspire me.  I hope that if I was in your situation I would have the grit and determination to do everything within my power to give my kids a good life.  I hope I wouldn’t feel sorry for myself, but I think that maybe I would  I see what you are doing, and I love you for it.  We are the ones who owe YOU a gift.  We owe you a gift for the lessons you’ve brought into our lives.  Valuable lessons are worth more than any possessions.”

I like living in my world.  I like a world where my kids get to be friends with people who speak a different language, and who can teach them about another culture.  It would be excellent if our family had the resources and time to travel to other countries and see families living in other cultures in person.  That’s NOT our life.   Our life is here, in a small town in Wisconsin.  So, I thank God for finding another way for us.

One boy from Mexico brought this home to Scott from his last trip to Mexico.

Hello! I’m El Chavo

This is a popular cartoon character in Mexico.  His name is El Chavo.  A large plastic version of this guy sat proudly in our living room all summer.  Scott, finally took him to his classroom.  I’m not gonna lie and say I was sad to see him go.  He was a little out of place with our current decor.  But, he was fun, and we loved that our friend shared part of his world with us.

I heard an American politician on the radio this week say that he was only in favor of keeping immigrants who were highly skilled.  He thought the rest should be sent back.  I heard and a I listened to this politician.  He certainly has a right to believe what he believes, and he has the right to express himself.  He’s probably a good guy.  But, he is NOT speaking for me.  There isn’t anything about his statement that fits my experience.  Truthfully, I am repelled by his sentiments.  Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like him as person, but there it is.

I was thinking I’d better speak for myself.

I know there should be laws to organize immigration, but, if you ask me what my opinion is, I will tell you ALL are welcome.  If it were up to me, I would tell immigrants that of course you can live in the  United States, if you’d like.   We gotta be organized about it, but we’re glad you came.  And, honestly,  I didn’t realize the permission was mine to grant.  The United States isn’t really mine, you know.  I don’t own it.  This is just the country where God decided I should be born.

One of the boys  from Mexico that we know is becoming an adult now.  He’s going to a trade school full time, and working full time too.  He is working and going to school 7 days a week,  trying to make a better life for him and his little brothers.  I’m not sure if that politician I mentioned would consider this young man a “highly skilled” person,  or not.  But, this young man is my friend.  We watched him grow up, and helped him understand all the things you could do in the United States to make a better life for yourself.  He’s doing everything Scott suggested he do, and more.

I would like to embrace opportunity, and work as hard as this young friend of ours.  I don’t think he’s been given anything that he hasn’t returned with interest. I want to live in a world with guys like this, and in a world that welcomes them.  And that’s just what my life has taught me about immigration.


Life and Complications

My early morning walks with Reggie are my favorite. I get to look like I’m being a responsible adult; I’m walking my dog.  Truth is,  I need these walks.  I love these walks.  Being outside always inspires me to believe I can face another day.Over the years,  Reggie and I have seen some some stuff.

Sunday’s walk was strange.  Reggie and I  always see squirrels.  Sometimes when we see squirrels, we chase them.   I want Reggie to remember he’s an animal.  I worry that he might be confused.  Reggie might think he’s actually my human son. The main reason I think that is because, you know, that’s how I treat him.

When we chase squirrels, Reggie’s on a short leash  (literally, not metaphorically), and when I think I’m sprinting hard, I’ve been told I’m actually doing some kind of trot thing.  So, I don’t know how much these chases help Reggie connect with his primal instincts.  At least we look awesome when we’re doing this.  I am at least sure of that.

This past Sunday’s walk was strange because we saw two squirrels mating. At first I thought they were just playing.  Then, I’m like, no.  They’re mating. Those two squirrels are definitely mating.  I told Reggie to look the other way.  But, Reggie’s about as rude as you get.  He was totally all up in their business. I was hoping they’d break it up when we got closer.

I yelled, “Be decent you guys.”

They didn’t care.

Then, I started to get frustrated.  I said, “You two want us to light some candles, or turn some music on?  Don’t you have a little squirrel room you could go to somewhere?”  Nothing.  They ignored me.

Squirrels are disgusting.

Right after we  made it through that atrocity I thought I heard loud music.  Then, I’m like, no.  That’s yelling.  That’s a GIRL yelling.  Or, screetching, actually. Then I saw the young women.  She was  stumbling drunk. She was sobbing, and yelling, “You don’t love me!” She was walking  sideways through the Walgreen’s parking lot.

There was a young man following her.  I couldn’t hear most of what he was saying. He was trying not to attract our attention (too late). I do think I heard him say, “Please, get in the car.” He appeared sober. I felt sorry for this girl; she was hysterical.

Then, I thought, maybe I should be a counselor. Then, I thought, maybe not.

I would meet with this young girl and say,  “Stop doing things to make your own life more complicated. Would you like to make an appointment to see me again next week?” She might expect more from her counselor.

There are literally thousands of things that you don’t do on purpose, that will make your life complicated.  The same morning I saw hysterical, drunk gal, I swallowed cold coffee left on the counter from the day before.  I’m pretty sure I swallowed a bug. We have these gross bugs in our house lately.  They throw wild parties while we’re sleeping.

I am almost certain there was a bug in my coffee.  I felt it. Now it’s in my stomach.  You and I both know that bug has diseases that are now coursing through my veins, and will soon render me helpless to care for my family.

That’s what I was worrying about and planning for when I came across hysterical/drunk girl. I should have told that girl that if she wants a reason to walk sideways through town, sobbing her eyeballs out, try swallowing a bug.  THAT is what you call a complication.

For sure missed my calling as a therapist.  It’s too bad; I could have helped a lot of people.

On the way to church that morning I told my family about all of my adventures so far.  It was a busy morning.  I thought my family would be really surprised about a drunk girl at Walgreens at 6 in the morning. Turns out drunk people and bug swallowing aren’t even close to as shocking as squirrels mating in public.  After all of my  stories, the only thing Scott said was, “I’m just really surprised squirrels would do that.”

I have a friend who is renewing her vows.  She and her husband have been married 19 years.  Her husband is fighting cancer.  This is going to be a sweet celebration.

This past weekend we had a “bachelorette” party for my friend.  You want me to tell you a secret?  I have only been to one bachlorette party before.  I went to my sister-in-law’s bachelorette party quite a few years ago.  Possibly, one of the most fun nights of my life.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-laws and me dancing the night away.   I love my in-laws. I love dancing. That is a great memory.

That was my one and only bachelorette party experience.  Scott and I got married kind of young.  We were married in the era when you did your own hair and make up for your wedding. I had never heard of a bachelorette party back then.  I think that weddings are a way bigger deal now.

I’m not sure if being married in a different era is why I didn’t get invited to any bachelorette parties, or if it’s because I’m not a good candidate for an invitation? When my friends think wild and crazy night on the town, I guess my name doesn’t exactly float to the top of the list.

My friends probably think, “Oh, we’ll just meet Miki for coffee the next morning.”

That’s cool.  You guys are a bunch of snobs, but that’s okay.  Because it really is your loss.  I am TOTALLY fun.  I’m wild AND crazy.  I  know how to parTAY. ALL.NIGHT.LOOONGGGG….

You’re right.  I’ll see you in the morning. We’ll have a Bible Study.

All of us 40 something/50 something friends of the “Bride” started talking about this bachelorette party.  Some ideas were thrown out that (I won’t lie) scared me a little.  I started thinking about what kind of illnesses I could expose myself to right before the party.  I needed something that would knock me down just for a night.  Not the bug swallowing thing either.  That’s something I’m going to be dealing with for the rest of my life.

Turns out  all of the “Bride’s” friends were fooling themselves.  A lot of things you think are fun when you’re in your twenties, are also fun in your 40’s.  Fun in theory.

Instead, we cruised around the lake all day in a luxurious pontoon boat.  Ate dinner in front of a sunset.  Laughed until our sides hurt. And, ended the night with a dance party by the fire. That is actually the same bachelorette party I would have planned for myself when I was in my 20’s.  I guess I’ve always been old.

The dancing is always my favorite.  Some people need alcohol to dance.  I need music.

I think I left my friends speechless with my dance moves.  I’ve kept my 80’s moves fresh and sharp.  Those moves are always a requested attraction at our get-togethers.  I kindly oblige. My friends are a little bit in awe.  And, if we have to be honest, there’s probably a part of them that’s somewhat jealous too.  They let their moves get rusty.  They haven’t had the dedication I have, or put in the time.   I can’t help that.  I tell them, “You get out what you put in in, ladies. Champions aren’t made in a day.”  They appreciate all that advice.

I asked Scott to help me do this move for our friends one night when we were at a campfire (Who does that crap stone cold sober?  Me. I do.):


I’m not sure if it was Scott’s poor timing, or the fact that I have a more solid bone structure than “Baby”, making me slightly heavier; our move didn’t exactly turn out like what you see in the picture. Our, move turned out more like my forehead slamming Scott’s chest.  I knocked him off balance, putting us pretty close to landing that move in the fire.

I think I might actually be more of a solo act.



Nobody puts Baby in the corner.

How to Deal with Paparazzi and Other Things You Need to Know

These are the people who read my blog: friends, relatives, friends or relatives of my friends and relatives.  Catch that?  What I mean is that most of my blog readers are connected to me socially,  one way or another. It’s a very little blog.

Lately though,  things have been getting a little Key-RAZY! Lately I’ve been hearing from people I don’t know.   I have this one  person I didn’t know who has been commenting on my blog, like, literally,  once a week.  Who’s got time to read all that?

I told Scott it may be time to switch up the game plan.  Where do you go to hire a publicist and personal attorney in a small town?  What about bodyguards?   Should I wear a disguise?  It’s just a whole knew world, and I have a lot of questions.

I thought I might pick up the phone and give Oprah a ring-a-ling.  I’ll ask for some pointers.  She can probably hook me up with a lot of this stuff.  I’ve never talked to her, but what are the odds that she hasn’t read my  blog, and already knows who I am?   I agree.  Slim to none.  She’ll get it.

I was chatting with my unknown commentor this week.   She is funny.  I was amazed that a clever, funny stranger liked my blog.  Then, she told me she was a friend of an old friend.  Wait.  She wasn’t a fan/stalker/paparazzi?  She’s a friend of a friend????!!!  I just wanted ONE decent stalker.  Is that so much to ask?

As long as you’re so anxious to talk about people who read my blog, let me tell you another thing I’ve been thinking about.  Let’s talk about people who are very literal.  Sometimes I have conversations with people who have read my blog, and I realize they have taken me literally.  I feel badly when that happens.  I don’t feel badly for myself, I feel badly for confusing someone.  I like people.  I feel honored that they’d spend one minute of their life reading something I wrote.  I take no pleasure in confusing them.

I have my serious moments, but mostly I can’t resist nonsense.  I thought maybe I should put a disclaimer before each blog to help literal people out: “Caution: what you are about to read is generally utter nonsense.  This information cannot be verified, and serves no real purpose.  Read it at your own risk of confusion.”  Do you think I should include that?  I might.

This isn’t a new problem for me.  I’ve had this problem since before the invention of the interwebs and blogs.  The first years of our marriage, Scott and I were adjusting to each other.  When we were with people we didn’t know, he’d often give me the subtle thigh squeeze, or kick under the table.  Later he would explain why.  He would tell me that when I’m meeting new people, they don’t necessarily know that I’m a screwball.   He suggested that it wasn’t ALWAYS appropriate to use sarcasm.  He said I could possibly hold  off on  full scale jokery until I get to know people better.

Wow!  Hurt much?  That was a little bit of the cold, hard truth from my Amish husband.   After I nursed my hurt feelings for a bit, I admitted that he may have a point.   Over time, he changed his stance some too.  He realized that there’s really  just one version of his wife.  He learned to suffer through some awkward moments, trusting folks would eventually learn his wife means no harm.

Do you remember when I told you about our small bathroom?  It’s a half bath.   Scott and I use this bathroom.  We share the shelves in the medicine cabinet.   There are three shelving units in this medicine cabinet.  Scott has told me multiple times that he wants one of the three units, and one shelf in the middle.  I guess lately my stuff has been encroaching across his borders.

I know that SOUNDS like a fair agreement.  But, is it really?  Do you think it’s a simple process to look as good as I do on any given day?  NO.  It takes some effort, friends.  It takes lots of bottles of  spray and lotion and wax and oil.  Okay?  It does.  Scott needs soap and a toothbrush.  So, I’m not sure his deal is so fair after all.

The other day I decided to examine his side of the medicine chest a little more closely.  I saw that I was wrong.  He actually did have a couple more things than I had thought.  Like, a bottle of Aspen Cologne. Have you heard of it?  Oh, you haven’t?  Maybe that’s because the last people to wear it came over on the Mayflower.

I didn’t even know he wore cologne.   He said he wears it on special occasions.   That green bottle of  Aspen Cologne was given to him as a graduation gift…from high school…28 YEARS ago.  There’s about half a bottle left. I told him that seems kind of wasteful.  At this rate, he’ll use up that whole bottle  by the time he dies.   Then what are we supposed to pass on to the grand kids?  Because I’m pretty sure they’ll be counting on some Aspen.


Speaking of dying.  I had a little bit of a close call.  Don’t be alarmed.  I’m going to be okay.  If you want to send me flowers and cards with money in it though,  who am I to argue?  Sometimes it’s just a blessing to give.

I’ve had this spot on the bridge of my nose.  I didn’t think much of it, but then one day I realized it really should have gone away by now.  Then it clicked.  I have skin cancer.

I did what I always do when I’m dealing with a life or death emergency.  I consulted with my associates on Web MD.  I looked through the pictures on their website and tried to find something that looked even a tiny bit like what I had on my face.  I didn’t find a perfect match, but I thought I found something close enough.  I called the clinic to make an appointment.

My appointment was after work.  When I took the kids to school I asked myself if I should tell them that I had skin cancer yet.  No.  Not at the beginning of the day.  That wouldn’t be fair.  I would bear this burden on my own.  Let them enjoy their childhood for another day.  I started getting choked up thinking about all the sacrifices I make.

I saw the doctor in the afternoon.  She took a look at this spot and started yammering on about eczema, viral infections and who knows what other nonsense.  I said, “It’s skin cancer, right?”

She answered, “No.  That is not skin cancer.  That is definitely not skin cancer.”

I said,  “My dad had skin cancer.  I was a life guard.  I have a lot of moles.  Are you getting the picture here?  Plus, I don’t have what you’d call a “medical degree” (I used air quotes for emphasis)  but I do read quite a bit of information on WebMD.  My associates there agree that it could be skin cancer.”

She turned away.  Did I see her roll her eyes?  She did.  Well, isn’t she a little punk.

She turned back and said, “I am 100 percent certain that you do NOT have skin cancer.  100 percent.   We can swab it to see if it’s some kind of viral infection, if that will make you happier.”

What did she mean, “If that will make me happier”?    Like I asked to have cancer?  Like I ASKED to be caught in this nightmare?

I said, “Sure.  Do that.”

The test came back.  It isn’t cancer or a virus.  I guess it’s just dry skin.






How to Raise Unspoiled Americans: You Can’t

This past weekend we had a Saturday with nothing scheduled. My daughter and I were home alone. On Friday night I was a little giddy with the anticipation of unscheduled time ahead. I got carried away and made the mistake of telling my daughter that maybe we could go shopping the next day, but then we didn’t.

You DON’T do that. You don’t mention the possibility of shopping to an almost 13-year-old girl, and then not go shopping. That’s like telling a heroin addict you’ve got heroin, but you’ve decided not to give it to them. Those jokers will shoot you down.

I woke up on Saturday and it was sunny. Sunny enough for me to see we were living in a sticky, ratty raccoon’s nest. I just picture raccoon as not being very good housekeepers . I’m not sure they deserve that.

I needed to clean. My daughter needed to help. That’s fun news to break to your almost-13-year-old daughter. I wish you could have been there.

“Ahh, good morning, Sweetheart. I am sorry, but I decided that we are NOT going to go shopping after all. The good news is that you DO get to scrub the toilets.”

I like my daughter. For real. I’m sad for her that she does not have any sisters, but happy for me. She’s my best friend. We have tons of fun together. I have told Scott that I think we won the baby girl jack pot when she was born. She’s nice. She likes to follow the rules. She’s not very sassy, and she seems to have a pretty soft heart. But, she is almost 13. Sometimes she can act like it. Sometimes almost 13-year-olds can act like sweet, precious, fuzzy little hellcats. Especially when you back out on their shopping trips.

That morning I started to think about all the shopping trips my daughter has taken. She has friends who’s mothers are saints. I.AM.NOT.KIDDING.YOU.SAINTS. These women have demanding jobs, busy husbands, multiple, busy children AND they take their daughter and her friends to the mall to browse around all day. They all walk around looking for bargains. These moms usually spring for ice cream, or some other fun treat. My daughter adores these moms. I do too.

So far, Scott has hosted one of these mall browsing outings for the girls, but I have stayed away from it. It sounds just so painful. I’ve told my daughter and her friends, “Listen, I don’t think I can actually take you to the mall all day, but we COULD do something more fun; like run over my foot with the minivan.” No takers so far.

Let’s be truthful with each other. I’m not staying away from the mall because I’m standing on moral high ground. I’m staying away because it sounds super boring. I’m selfish. That’s it.

But I do have to wonder what my daughter needs at the mall. What do I need at the mall? Both of our closets are full. Do we need shoes so that we don’t have to go barefoot to school and work? No. We probably have 40 pairs of shoes between the two of us. Do we need belts to hold our pants up while we work? No. We probably have 20 belts, and we don’t do really hard work. Do we need coats to keep us warm? Nope. There are dozens and dozens of those in our house.

I tried cheering my daughter up on Saturday with a little mini sermon. She really looked that gift horse in the mouth. I tried explaining to her that like many Americans, we misuse the word “need” every day. We do not know what “need” means, because every day when we wake up in a warm house, with food to eat, clothes to wear, school to attend and freedom to say what we want and to worship whom we please, all our needs are met.

When all our basic needs are met, we make up new ones. We say, “I need another pair of leggings; I need a new hair cut; I need a new painting for that wall.” We add layer after layer of things around us. All of our stuff surrounds us. All of our stuff is insulation that protects us from ever having to feel the pain of a real need. If we don’t ever have to experience real need, then we can’t help being spoiled. It isn’t really even our choice. It’s geography. It is cause and effect. But we can at least acknowledge we are spoiled. We can do that much, right?

My daughter broke in right about there and said, “I’m going to go clean the toilets.”

I think I totally inspired her. I know it wasn’t because she just wanted me to stop talking. There is no way an almost 13-year-old would do that.

I’m being a little silly. This video is not silly. It’s sad. I found it on a blog I like to read:

I pray for peace.

Why I Think I Have ADD Do You Like My Sweater?

My mom recently posted this picture on Facebook:


I have been thinking about that little upside down hanging girl ever since I first saw her. I totally get her. She looks like she’s having fun, right? I mean, what’s not fun about hanging upside down and swinging like a monkey? That’s a good time.

I’ll tell you what’s not fun about it. What’s NOT fun are those four little punks standing next to her. What a bunch of goody two shoes. They’re paying attention to the teacher and are going to know exactly where to put their arms and feet at the dance recital. They’re going to make poor little monkey girl look bad; she’s going to just have to stand there and wave at Grandma to try to distract folks from realizing she doesn’t have a single idea what she is supposed to be doing. You know how I know that’s going to happen to her? Because I AM her.

On one of our many, many trips to the Doctor over the years, I remember a conversation with a Pediatric Neurologist. I would guess that about 95% of the Doctors we have spoken to in search for Eddie’s cure have been really terrific. Just the tiniest portion of them, in my opinion, have needed a gentle throat punch. This Neurologist was one of them. She was crabby and condescending. I knew right away that I wasn’t going to be her fan. One reason I knew that was because she told me that I probably had ADD.

Really? You’re going to have a 15 minute conversation with me and tell me I have ADD? I told her that I was pretty sure she had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Just based on my initial tests, which I gave her magically, with my brainwaves. You can’t diagnose someone with ADD without some kind of official test, right? I didn’t think so.

But, do you remember that I’m a bit of a hypochondriac too? I couldn’t just let her suggestion sit there without pulling out all my medical journals and taking all the on line tests to figure it out for myself. Here’s what I learned. I am on the ADD spectrum. Here’s how I feel about that. A lot of other people are too.

I think many of the people I know have some ADD and OCD tendencies. I know that ADD and OCD can become debilitating, but for a lot of people (like me) it’s just a nuisance, and something you have to try to manage. And, I guess, sometimes, in a weird way, those gene mutations (that’s the scientific explanation that I made up) can occasionally help you succeed as well.

After my conversation with the Neurologist, I started figuring a lot of things out. Do you realize how useful this ADD knowledge would have been to me when I was younger? I drove my parents crazy. I was a disaster. And now I KNOW that is because I have a MEDICAL CONDITION!!!! A medical condition, people! How are you supposed to get your homework done, keep your room clean and remember to go to piano lessons with a medical condition? Now I have proof that all that stuff wasn’t my fault. My parents were just being cruel to me and my medical condition.

I remember many times being the only one in my grade school class to forget to return important papers. I also have some vague memories of teachers making a fuss over me in first grade. I was given some special testing, and there was some talk about moving me ahead a grade. Then they spent more time with me. They changed their minds. They decided reading well wouldn’t help me in the next grade if I couldn’t actually remember to do my work or bring my backpack to school.

I also remember when I graduated from high school, I came home from the graduation ceremony in my cap and gown. I was so excited! I pulled in to the drive way and my dad came out of the house and said, “Go back to school. You have to return your cap and gown. You were the only one in the class who didn’t understand that is what you’re supposed to do.”

That stuff didn’t bother me at all. It happened all the time. It was part of living with my brain. I almost always didn’t hear instructions, because I almost always was hanging upside down, thinking about something else when the instructions were being given.

I started thinking about my life as a young mother too. When my children were pre schoolers, I would meet my friends with our children at McDonalds every Wednesday morning. One morning, our 3-year-old little girls were up in the slide for quite a while. They were especially quiet. When they came down, all of them had lipstick on their lips, cheeks and faces. Olivia had given them makeovers.

One of my friends was a super mom and drill sergeant. She was mad. Her girls NEVER played with make up. She wanted an explanation from me. I said, “I’m sorry. Olivia really likes lipstick. I gave her mine this morning.”

She said, “Did it ever occur to you that just because your kids want to do something, doesn’t mean they always can?”

I said, “No. That hardly ever occurs to me. But, I’m going to try harder.”

My ADD tendencies have certainly affected my parenting. It’s soooo hard to keep track of other people, when you can’t keep track of yourself. I mostly think kids are awesome, funny and clever. I’m very weak at discipline. It’s tedious.

I recently ran into another mom from my children’s preschool days. We lived in another town then. We were laughing and catching up. She said, “I was just talking to some of our other friends the other day. We were wondering how you are surviving without us to manage your calendar.”

I told her, “Not very well, at first.” It did take me a while to adjust when I moved away from those ladies. They would just tell me where to be and when to be there; story time tomorrow at 10:00; park at 3:00 this afternoon; Karen’s house for lunch. I think it’s called enabling. I love enablers.

When I started thinking about having ADD, I started feeling sorry for Scott. What kind of a joke is it, to have someone with ADD tendencies paired up with someone with OCD tendencies? Maybe it happens a lot, because you’re attracted to people who have strengths where you are deficient. I like that theory.

Scott and I had some decent challenges in our first 5 years of marriage. Now I know why. He wasn’t fond of the way I started sentences and didn’t finish them when I became distracted with my own thoughts. Or, I would start with one thought, and then abruptly move to another. Sometimes I would start in the middle of a thought. I’d say something like, “…he isn’t going to need the car on Friday.”

He’d say, “What is that supposed to mean? Who’s he? What car?”

It’s always the third degree with him. He likes information, and he wants to know the details. Every painful, boring, mind numbing detail. I hate details.

I was always thinking, “Jeez, do I have to spell it out? Can’t you just figure out what I mean, without me having to say it?”

He can’t. It doesn’t work. I have learned that you actually have to say the words that you mean for people to hear. It’s super annoying.

It was kind of nice to figure out why my brain has been sort of fogged over my whole life. It also made me feel badly. I don’t like having malfunctioning parts, especially if I have passed them down to any of my children, and I have…to at least one.

I knew there had to be something positive in this new information. There is. You know those drill sergeant, super moms? They’re not very flexible. I’ve been on committees with moms like that. They’re good. They’re really, really good. They are organized. They follow through. They are reliable, but they find compromising to be more difficult. They have a hard time switching gears. I don’t.

Oh, you want to change the color of the decorations? Sounds good to me. What’s that you say? You want to have the event on a different day? Sounds good to me. Oh, you don’t like the venue. You have a better idea? Sounds good to me.

I’ve been in the middle of conversations where more than one woman is trying to enforce her agenda, because she’s really attached to it. I pretend to get what all the fuss is about, but I really don’t. Because it all sounds good to me.

Let’s also not forget that a person with ADD has the ability to hyperfocus. When you want to accomplish something at warp speed, get someone with ADD to get excited and engaged about your idea. A lot of folks with ADD do not know how to pace themselves when they’re excited or engaged. They will get something done in a fraction of the time it would take a normal person to do the same thing. What is strange to me, is that Scott actually told me that I had this trait many years before I read about it in a book, or knew it was related to my “Medical Condition”! Oh, you know I love a good medical condition.

The other positive is thinking about how I have developed strategies for coping over the years. I wish I could have learned some management techniques 35 years ago. I didn’t. I had to figure things out on my own.

One of my best strategies is right in that picture up above. It’s those four little girls who are NOT hanging from the bar. See how they’re all looking at the teacher? They are listening and learning what they’re supposed to be doing.

I was just kidding when I called those cute little girls punks. They’re actually super sweet, and they’re going to save their upside down friend’s butt…again. They’re going to whisper in her ear at the recital and tell her when she needs to run out on stage, when she needs to point her toes and when she need needs take a bow. They are so nice to her.

Plus, that little upside down girl is going to be watching her four friends. She sees how nicely they act. She likes the way they take care of their things and do things in a nice, logical order. She knows her brain doesn’t want to do things the way they do, but she is smart. She can watch them, and copy them. When she does copy them, she realizes their orderly ways are good. She likes order; it helps her relax.

So, thank you to all my sisters and friends for paying attention while I was upside down. You didn’t even know how much you were helping me, but you were. Who needs medication, when they have sisters and friends like you? Because I really think I have ADD do you like my sweater?

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