Good Bye Hawaii : Life with a child with ADHD

A humorous look at life with a child with attention deficit hyperactivity.

By Pat Linkhorn, author of Off the Fence : Disability Advocacy

I save everything. I think saving too much is a disorder in its own right, but I don't know what the technical term is. However, even dedicated pack rats like me have to throw some things out occasionally.

I just watched the garbage man drive away with enough broken parts to pay for a ten day, all expenses paid, fun-in-the-sun vacation in Hawaii for two. Those of you who live with children who are hyperactive or who have attention deficit disorder will have no problem understanding what I'm trying to say here. You probably have your own lost vacation.

My oldest, who has a diagnosis of high functioning autistic, has also been diagnosed at one time or the other as attentional defecit - hyperactive. She's eight years old now, so we've accumulated quite an impressive "collection" over the years. There are at least three pairs of cracked, scratched or broken contact lenses, thirteen tangled or broken necklaces, eight or ten containers with eye shadow that had been used as water colors and one broken figurine of a Doberman that my sister paid a bundle for. There are also four or five pairs of panty hose that were transformed into puppets before ever being worn, eighteen single socks, twenty-seven mutilated earrings, six boxes of broken crayons and fourteen unwound audio cassettes. Not to mention the 35 millimeter camera that she washed, or the brand new box of computer disks with the pancake syrup on them. Let's not forget the baby doll parts, the broken vases, the tom sheets or the cut up books either.

If I had thrown all this stuff out as it was destroyed, it wouldn't seem such an enormous amount, but I always meant to fix it or find alternate uses for the "halves". But somehow, I never got around to doing those things.

Even as I watch the garbage truck drive away, I catch a glimpse of my daughter swinging from the clothes line in my backyard. Hawaii would be nice, but she is worth it all. I haven't had to repaint any rooms for the last year. (Probably because all the magic markers have been destroyed.) The sound of breaking glass is heard less often and the progress she has made is remarkable.

Maybe I should encourage the artwork. She may grow up to be a famous artist and she may send me to Hawaii one day.

Pat Linkhorn is a professional advocate for families with children who have special needs. She is the author of Off the Fence : Disability Advocacy. She is also experienced parent and has two girls with special needs - autism and blindness due to prematurity. Visit her website.