A kick to the face…

I have been planning to write out my feelings for a while. This journey called life is a jagged little pill, and I thought some blogging would provide a cathartic release as well as provide me an opportunity to support others. See, when I tell people the reason 2019 was the hardest year of my marriage I get a lot of quizzical looks, a lot of shaming in the form of “Well at least he didn’t _______ (fill in the blank – I have heard it all)”.

ADHD. AD Effing HD. Oh spoiler alert I use lazy words. I will refrain from dropping the F bomb unless absolutely necessary. But…you’ve been warned. Read on at your own peril.

Where was I? Oh yes, 2019. We knew before last year that my husband had ADHD, and don’t worry I will give you the full backstory another day. Today I really needed to get out my feelings about today’s FACE KICK.

There I was pulling into the garage after another fabulous haircut and color from my rockstar hair artist/stylist (aka Kelley Molinari), beating the bus home by about 10 minutes…Only, hey, that’s the school calling me on my cell. I answer with my stomach dropping. See, I have general anxiety so I go to worst case scenarios faster than Mjolnir zooming to Thor’s beefy hand. Don’t worry we will talk all about my brain on another occasion.

The school informs me that my children needed to be picked them up. It just so happens that while on the bus my daughter had kicked my son in the face. Literally. *Face palm* So they got kicked off the bus. (See what I did there….???) Bee-tee-dubs, this is super ironic because my daughter got bullied on the bus on multiple occasions just last month, one of them including physical violence. I end the call with a big ol’ Fuck. I knew this moment mattered, my response was going to set the tone for how my daughter thought of herself. I sent a quick text bomb to my hubs including said F bomb and a quick polo to two of my good friends who help me to descend in an awful spiral of shame. (We’ll have a whole blog post on the brilliant Brene Brown as well. Buckle in, we have a LOT to go over together.)

My 3 minute drive gave me a chance to breathe and think about my response…as I passed the freaking school bus they could’ve been on if the driver hadn’t had to take them back and drop them at the school. That train of thought was NOT helping me calm down. More deep breaths. I asked myself, “How would I feel in my daughter’s shoes?” She is probably expecting wrath, fire and brimstone as I can be an explosive person. (Hey…yeah you! No judgment. Just like you, I am a work in progress.) So let’s give her the opposite, because my anger monster would squash her with buckets of shame which will have a lasting, negative impact. And I bet you $5 she already feels bad because she is not a combative, defiant person. She is fun, kind and loving…She is also crazy sassy too, hence a kick to the face wasn’t a total shock.

By now I am calm, I pull into a parking spot, and head down the stairs of shame to the front office. My son comes out the door swinging. “What?!” he hurls at me. (Insert side glance at him.) Guilty, much boy??? Obvs there is more to this story than just her randomly deciding on a kick to the face. I decide to deal with him later. My daughter sees me and runs off to hide. See? $5 would totally be mine. The principal talks me through what will happen next. Might be a suspension, might not. We have to wait and see. I let the principal know that we got my daughter’s ADHD diagnosis just the previous Friday. “Oh I heard all about it from both of them,” she tells me. Awesome said my sarcastic voice.

I can see her pink crying eyes from across the room, so I sign them out and we are free to go. She cleans up her tissue mess, throwing them away in the nurse’s office. I ask her if she needs a hug and she breaks down crying again. I try not fall down as I lower myself on to the cot so she can climb into my arms. “See?” I tell myself, “It wasn’t that hard not to screw up this moment. Give her the compassion you wish you had when you made a mistake.” This wasn’t hard but it took a LOT of intention.

Now I am sure someone out there will be leading with “WTF?! She kicked him in the face and she gets a hug. SMACK that child!” To you I would counter with a resounding, “Eff off. There’s the door, this blog is not for you.” I think this world needs a heaping pile of empathy, not a emotional beating from the people who have authority over us. And let’s be real I was so mad I couldn’t think of a decent punishment. The punishment that makes logical sense is not riding the bus…but that affects me and my work schedule, so that is not the answer. I still haven’t figured out the punishment two hours later. She keeps coming to check and see what if I have the answer yet. See, she knows there will be a consequence and hopefully, big hope, I am teaching her to respond rather than to react. I hope she is gaining insight into shame and learning there are ways that we can hold boundaries for one another without shaming someone else into respecting them.

Well that’s great Kylee…but what the what does this all have to do with apples, pcs and ADHD???? I am glad you asked that very question. It all came to me one family dinner last month as I tried to help my 10 year old understand the neurodiversity of ADHD, which both his father and sister have. I am a visual person so coming up with analogies really help to paint the picture in my brain. This analogy was the perfect depiction for our family: We are two Apples and two PCs. We’ve got two creative suites and two task oriented work horses. Both operating systems can pretty much perform the same tasks, but there are definitely some advantages to using one over the other for specific tasks and both have different ways of accomplishing those tasks.

Like I said earlier, people do not understand why living with ADHD is so difficult. “Just give them a schedule.” “Being spontaneous is fun!” “You just need to lighten up and roll with this!” My goal is to try and help you understand that like most neurological conditions, this is not just a take a pill and things will be fine. It’s exhausting, complicated and has no one size fits all solution. It is not always an obvious diagnosis, and it’s effects are not usually seen by those outside their close friends and families. So let’s use this blog to grow together in a deeper understanding of this branch of neurodiversity. Maybe a glimpse into the chaos of our lives, into the beautiful and strong minds of my Apples, will help increase our empathy for those who experience ADHD, for themselves and for the people who love and support them.

I make no promises on how often I will post. I mean as I was writing this I had a screaming match with my daughter. Life is 90% hard effing work. So go, get to it, and may you find yourself chasing after the things that make you happy and bring you peace.

Legal Disclaimer: I will never claim to be an expert on anything other than my own life experience. I will give you scientific evidence when I can, and it will be peer reviewed to boot. My writing is not meant to replace medical advice from someone who went to school to diagnose and manage mental health. So remember that, mmmmkk?

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