Raising three daughters as a single dad is a challenge. Doing it with attention deficit is an ADDventure.
by Douglas Cootey
Life with ADHD can turn ordinary events into an adventure. This is especially true when something throws you off your routine. That can happen every other moment when you have ADHD. That is why I place my keys in the kitchen drawer, my eyeglasses on the shelf in my bedroom, and my wallet in my bureau -- always my bureau. So where was my wallet?
The day was already hectic. I moved bedroom bureaus around since my twelfth-grader went back to live with her mother. That was stressful enough, but I also had writing assignments to finish, and my fifth-grader was excited about a birthday party she had been invited to.
So I rearranged furniture while my fifth- and eight-graders did the Saturday chores. Then I got busy writing while they finished up. I had put the finishing touches on an article with only a minute to spare for the party when I discovered I didn’t have my wallet.
I ripped my apartment apart looking for it. I checked my old bureau. I checked my new bureau. I checked under the couch cushions. I checked in the car. I checked in my pants. I checked in my new bureau and I checked in my pants -- again. All the while the fifth-grader was complaining how late I was making her. Finally, I took her to the party, sans wallet, and dropped her off.
Then I retraced my steps from the day before. I walked along streets for at least a mile. Using a flashlight to help me in the evening darkness, I kicked at snow banks, thinking the wallet had been shoveled into them. Knowing I’d have to pick my daughter up soon, I went home. And there it was, in the old bureau. How did I miss it? I had moved all the contents from the old drawers into the new drawers. Yet miss it I did, even when I checked for it.
When I told the eighth-grader where the wallet had been hiding, she laughed out loud. Routine is important, but so is slowing down enough to take the measure of your surroundings, something ADHD adults aren’t always good at.
Instead of being upset, I went to the store to get chips and salsa, ice cream, and some fancy soda to celebrate the return of the prodigal wallet with my girls. I made sure to get the right kind of salsa -- not too hot, and just the right size. Too bad I forgot to buy the chips.