How is it that Natalie's ADHD permeates our whole household? And where the heck is that last batch of Christmas cards hiding?
by Kay Marner
If you're one of those people who found the time, energy, and organizational skills to send out Christmas cards, I salute you. I haven’t managed to send Christmas cards for several years.
If you are one of the kind folks who sent a card to my family, thank you -- and I’m sorry. I hope to find it and read it sometime before next Christmas.
No, I do not have ADHD. My daughter Natalie does. Although she’s the only person in the family with ADHD, she generates enough chaos throughout our home to create the illusion that ADHD is a family-wide trait. If you walked in our front door, you’d be convinced that even Smokey Joe, our fat gray cat, must have it.
This year’s Christmas cards have gone the way of everything else that enters our house, which is to say: they’re everywhere. It’s not that I don’t have a designated spot to display them—I do. I have a nice green basket on a table in the dining room. You’d think it would be simple enough to get the cards out of the mailbox, through the front door, and into this basket. You’d be wrong.
The card from Don’s cousin Deb and her family flew right past the dining room and came to rest in the bathroom. Natalie made an emergency pit stop when we got home from work and daycare one night. I set the mail down on the counter next to the sink while I helped her, and it’s still there. I managed to at least read the return address — Denver -- before following Natalie to her next crisis. For several weeks I wondered when Deb’s family moved to Colorado without me hearing about it, but I kept forgetting to ask Don. I found out at Christmas with Don’s family that they didn’t move to Colorado — they’re living in Denver, Iowa.
Pat and Tracey sent a gorgeous card with red flocking and a little jewel-type embellishment on the front. It was so beautiful and fragile that it had to be hand-cancelled at the post office. Inside was a great black and white photo of her three kids. I admire it every time I walk up the stairs. It’s still sitting on the bottom step--right next to the bill from daycare and the overdue library books-- where I dropped it in a failed attempt to catch Natalie as she ran through the house in her snow boots, tracking snow across the living room floor. So much for: “handle with care”.
I gathered a whole handful of cards from around the house one day last week, and sat down at the kitchen table to open them. The sounds of Natalie in a rage in her room reached me before I could read -- before I could even open -- a single one. I have no idea where that pile of cards is now.
So, if you sent a card this holiday season, forgive me for not reciprocating. Forgive me for not commenting on the lovely picture, the newsy letter. Apologizing is the story of my life -- my life with a child with ADHD.