I found my kindred spirits at the shallow end of the pool.
by Jane D.
For the first time in my life, I am faced with three- and four-year-olds who throw tantrums without telling me why, and without warning. Did I get a masters degree from an Ivy League to do this? As I watched them dissolve into tears, I thought, "my sentiments exactly." I, too, wanted to cry. Earning $16 an hour isn't easy.
Not to my surprise, I feel like the attention deficit disorder (adult ADHD) has emerged stronger than ever, too. The pool, where I work as a swim instructor, isn't divided neatly into lanes, and with noisy kids splashing about, I feel scattered.
My head and thoughts are simply all over the board. I require some level of structure and calm on the job, and this isn’t it.
"Quiet, listen to me!"
"If you say one more word, I am taking away free time."
These kids are big. The three-year-olds look like five-year-olds. The nine-year-olds look like 12-year-olds, and they have such a strong grip. I ended up shutting up half of them by giving them piggyback rides across the pool, while praying to God that they wouldn't strangle me with their grip.
The father and the friends contend that I lack common sense. The father says that I need to step beyond this Ivory Tower and funk, and learn how real people live. If I qualify for food stamps, then I should apply. If I want a full-time job, then I need to send resumes and network and ace job interviews.
I continue to tell him that it’s the ADHD diagnosis, but he chooses to blame it on himself. If he weren’t such a workaholic while I was growing up, he says, things would have been different.
I sigh and shake my head in disbelief at times. I cannot believe how close I was to achieving a comfortable lifestyle and life, and how it simply fell apart. At moments like these I wish I were a bratty toddler who could whine, scream, kick her legs, and dissolve into tears. If only I were three and not 33.