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Frank's an ex-TV writer, now sandwich-generation ADHD homemaker with a wife, two kids, a dog, and an eighty-something mother-in-law in a house that won’t stay clean. He writes here to try to figure out what’s going on there.

posted: Sunday March 23rd - 10:24pm

Dog Is My Co-Pilot

poodle doodle
Going on midnight on a Tuesday night in the middle of last December, I’m rubbing my eyes, scratching my head, and doing that neck-rolling stretching thing to try to stay awake and focused. Sitting next to me in our living room, her feet propped on the edge of the coffee table, my 18-year-old daughter Coco flips through her textbook on the cushion beside her, checks something on...
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posted: Monday March 17th - 1:43pm

Caution: Road Work Ahead, Part 3

In the wake of my father's death, facing up to her loss, my mother needed me — obsessive, distracted me, in all my imperfect weirdness.

Support
“We can’t, it’s not right...,” my 91-year-old mother wailed between sobs. I held her in my arms as this harsh rogue wave of grief rolled through her heart, splintering the careful defenses she’d built up stick by stick since my father died last March after the three years of his mental and physical deterioration that nearly killed her too. Still sobbing against my chest, her wails began...
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posted: Friday January 3rd - 11:03am

Caution: Road Work Ahead, Part 2

On this family trip, I'm tailed down the highway by my old companions of the road: anxiety and grief.

packing for a road trip
Recap: It’s last July. My wife Margaret, my seventeen-year-old daughter Coco (who, like me, has ADHD with extra-sharp temper and impatient, edgy edges), and I are in our mini-van heading north from our home in Georgia to spend a three-week vacation at my 91-year-old mother’s house. My dad died last March and now Mom needs help going through my dad’s stuff. Plus my brother Rob is...
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posted: Friday September 20th - 10:47am

Caution: Road Work Ahead

I bucked my attention deficit and mapped out this road trip well — but even the most detailed plan wouldn't let me leave grief behind.

View from the car on the road
About a month ago, I had it nailed. My wife Margaret, my teenage daughter Coco and I were driving up to Delaware for a two-week vacation. We were going to stay with my 91-year-old mother and help her clear out my dad’s study and closets that she hadn’t touched since his death last March, so it wasn’t a carefree poolside resort holiday. My brother Rob, his...
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posted: Monday June 24th - 10:06am

Pushing through Panic with ADHD

Gardening, Wheel barrow
It’s Memorial Day weekend and I’m at the bottom of our hilly Georgia backyard, raking up piles of dead leaves, pulled weeds, tree-killer vines, and trimmed branches and piling them into the wheelbarrow. Full load, so now back up the hill to add to the mountain of dead vegetation at the front curb. Hope to God I pulled the gate closed after the last load or...
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posted: Friday May 24th - 2:39pm

Career Day: I'm a Writer, and I Have ADHD

Open Book
It’s Career Day at the middle school where my wife, Margaret, teaches. I’m here to tell these sixth, seventh, and eighth graders what it’s like being a writer for a living. I’m standing at a lectern in an empty classroom waiting for the first group of students to file in and I feel the sweat soaking through the back of my shirt. I fiddle with the...
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posted: Sunday July 8th - 9:37pm

Running on Empty: Part Two

In last month's Part One post I was down in an insomnia-fueled, no-joke, no-metaphor, black hole of depression so deep, so wide, and so all-encompassing that there seemed no possible way out. As an ADHD guy who can sometimes make hyperactive look like standing still, I didn't stay holed up in my bed with my dark hopeless thoughts brooding by myself. Heck, no: I brought them...
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posted: Tuesday June 5th - 9:58pm

Running on Empty: Part One

In last month's ADHD Dad post I dug a hole and put a tree in it. This month, I woke up to a much wider and deeper hole in the floor beside my bed. It's Saturday, the morning I get to sleep in, but I ruined that by staying up most of the night reading, so even though it's 10 AM, I've only gotten my normal...
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posted: Wednesday April 4th - 7:07am

Digging Deep for Peace of Mind

With every grunting swing of the pick, I dig a hole deeper to bury my ADHD — my worry, my anxiety, and my memories of a life that never happened, but should have.

I swing the pick down harder than I need to and the head buries itself into the hard-packed dirt with a dark, gratifying thunk. I get a deep satisfaction from this. It’s like I’m stabbing some beast in its thick, vital gut. Swing it down, thunk. Pull it up, and the rip of the roots being torn from their home makes it sweeter. Down and up again,...
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posted: Wednesday February 29th - 5:08am

That's It - No School for You!

"I let her down, believing my ADHD daughter had her school work under control because it was easier for me not to worry about it - father and daughter, tag-team procrastinating."

It’s 7:30 Sunday night when I tap on the bedroom door of my 16 year-old daughter, Coco. She looks up from the laptop on her desk, her forehead still furrowed in concentration from working on a PowerPoint project that’s due tomorrow and the thumb of her right hand twitching over her rollerball mouse. "What?" she asks, her blue eyes under black- and purple-streaked hair darting from me...
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