Guest Blogs

The ADHD Factor

After considering Natalie’s ADHD behavior, we decided to turn this family vacation into a getaway for just my husband and I.

This getaway vacation for two to Florida started out, in the dream stage, as a family vacation.

“Our younger child has special needs,” I’d e-mailed the travel agent. “In order for her to travel with us, we need a direct flight — no connections. And the shortest ride possible from the airport to the resort. We need a beach, a pool, and food on-site, so we don’t have to drive anywhere once we arrive.”

“I don’t want to take Natalie,” Don said, as our planning progressed. “If we take her, it won’t be a vacation. You know how hard it is to take her anywhere, even the two hours to Mom and Dad’s.”

Restaurants. School carnivals. Football games. Church. The grocery store. He’s right.

So, it’s just the two of us, Don and I, in Florida. Yesterday, we rented bikes and rode for hours, all over Sanibel Island. We stopped for a mid-afternoon drink at Doc’s Rum Bar. We walked the beach at dusk, seashell searching.

“Aaron would go nuts if he saw these sting rays!” I said, wading in the surf.

“Nat would play for hours in this sand!” Don said.

“Nat would love the biking.”

“But she’d keep stopping, we’d never get anywhere.”

“Aaron would love all the signs about alligators.”

“But Nat would run right in the water.”

We spent the day auditioning the island for ADHD-kid compatibility.

“This would be great for the kids,” one of us would say, “except for the ‘Nat Factor.'”

The Nat Factor: The propensity to over-stimulate. The ratio of fun time to time spent waiting. The degree of impulse control needed to navigate a setting safely.

Don was right. If Natalie were with us, this wouldn’t be a vacation. But every time I think of my kids, I feel twin tugs of pain in my stomach. I love them. Nat Factor or no Nat Factor, I want my kids with me…next time.