Thoughts Escape Like Butterflies
When my husband fails to replace the shampoo, the soap, the towels, and even the whole under-construction bathroom, it’s not because he’s selfish. He doesn’t expect me to do it. He isn’t even too busy. He just forgets because he has ADHD, and I’m working on not taking that as a personal insult — because it’s not.
I married my husband 19 years ago. We have 4 children together and every single day we survive, so I guess you could say we are winning. My husband is my best friend. He is humorous, intelligent, loving, fun, and an amazing provider and father. Not a day goes by that I don’t reflect on how lucky I am to live in this world with him.
When we first started dating, I mistook his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD) for an endearing, mysterious quality. He was a rambling man unlike any other man I had ever met. I have a ton of stories about our ADHD marriage but I’d like to share the most recent because, after all these years, we have learned that laughter is often the most healthy response.
That said, I will admit it is still frustrating and exhausting being the primary family organizer. But one thing has changed: I no longer get resentful. I have learned to stop and think before jumping to conclusions. I have learned what I need to do without question and I have learned to pick my battles.
Yesterday, while out on a much-needed date night with my husband, I was reminded how far we have come on our ADHD journey. About 15 months earlier, my husband decided to remodel the kids’ bathroom. He started off with gusto by upcycling our vanity, but life got in the way and the bathroom was still gutted and non-operational a year later. Finally, I hired some people to help with the remodel because 6 people, including 2 teenage boys, sharing our master bathroom was a bit complicated. We finished the remodel two months later.
Last night, while we were eating our meal, my husband says to me, “So what have you been using in the shower for soap?” I quizzically look at him and flatly reply, “I have been using the new hall bathroom. Haven’t you?” A surprised look crosses his face and he says, “So I’m the only one using our bathroom?! I couldn’t figure out why all the shampoo bottles were empty and I haven’t had soap in weeks. I’ve been using shampoo for everything. Come to think of it, all the towels are dirty, too.” We both burst out laughing.
It’s taken many years to get to this point. In the beginning of our marriage, I thought he didn’t care or he expected me to do everything for him. Now I know that it’s because he forgot. He forgot to get new soap, a clean towel, or buy new shampoo because, by the time he got out of the shower, those thoughts had escaped. He is only reminded of his shower necessities the next time he steps into the shower, and by then it’s too late. This Father’s Day, I put new shampoo, conditioner, soap and clean towels in the bathroom and wrote Happy Father’s Day on the door. He laughed and, in his smile, I knew he was tremendously grateful.
I wouldn’t change a thing about our complicated lives. My children are a lot like him and, when my worries about their ADHD get to me, I look to my husband and I know that we are going to be alright.