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This is a personal “update” post that intersects with ADHD.

This is the first time in my life that I have not wanted to travel. Well, I suppose that’s actually not true. I remember when I was a kid, I did not want to travel, did not want to go anywhere new and did not want anything new coming into my life. As a kid, I wanted to be blanked in the known, surrounded and comforted by the familiar.

My parents took us anyway. My brother Dana didn’t protest or grind his teeth over it all the way that I did; he was easygoing and didn’t get stuck over his pain the way that I did. Over time, I got used to traveling and I suppose that became my new familiar. Change was my constant.

Over the decades, travel and the thrill of adventure fueled my dopamine-craving brain. I loved landing somewhere new and figuring it out. I’d explore new streets, markets, foods, marvel at different ways of living, and delight in meeting people. I even enjoyed the process of figuring out how to communicate when we didn’t speak the same languages.

After I had kids, I kept the ball rolling, nudging us all on the Pan Am Overland and the driving trips to Mexico.

I got us all going to Vietnam

Thailand,

that water was so warm

Cambodia,

you lay in a hammock before/after your meal – GENIUS
traveling with a child with Down syndrome
bangkok bound

Germany, Hungary

meriah nichols and kids by the castle in budapest overlooking chain bridge
children on round swing
langos
kids in art museum
walking in budapest
on the night train to budapest - the european sleeper train with children - image description: three children stand in the budapest train station with a train in the background and luggage around them
night train from budapest to krakow: a little girl looks in the mirror on her bunk at herself

Denmark

she made her own Viking boat
legoland in denmark

the Netherlands

two children in a play center in a supermarket with another child with a child cart full of food looking at the other two

Poland

3 kids in the main market area

and of course, Sweden

I took my kids on countless trips all over California

Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, even to New York City.

I love traveling with my kids. I can’t speak highly enough of their stamina, humor, creativity and curiosity. I adore the sides of them that come out when we are in different spaces and places, and I deeply appreciate their willingness to do stuff like wake up at 3 in the morning for a flight. Or sleep any which way sleep may be had.

This summer we were going to go back to the San Francisco Bay Area to visit my mom, who has moved back there from Hawai’i. Mom had super generously pre-paid our way. But at the end of the school year, so much started to hit the fan.

I have realized that my entire family has ADHD, starting with my mom and possibly her mother. My mom has it, I have it, and I am quite sure all my kids have it. At this point, Micah is the only one of my kids with a definite diagnosis.

I scraped by for so long because I am the queen of masking. But there got to be a point in which my inability to focus was absolutely excruciating. It was when this happened that I went down the route of diagnoses and later, medication.

Medication is not the end and all, but it has definitely helped me. I still have issues with my executive functioning skills, I still have issues with a myriad of other symptoms of ADHD. All of this simply takes consistent work – as long as I do the work every day, things are fine. If I don’t, they blow up.

Which brings me back to travel and the end of the school year.

Things blew up.

I had not been paying enough attention to each one of my three kids. Yes, I was homeschooling Mack and yes, I had just been working through Moxie’s completely revamped IEP (with generous and gracious help from my friends). But no, I was not checking up on Micah’s homework and or his school situation. I mean, Micah was basically born a professor. He thinks MATH is easy and has fun with science things I can’t pronounce.

The problem isn’t his knowledge of content; the problem is his ADHD and ability to play the game by its rules: like, write his name on the top of a test. Remember to hand in homework. Simple stuff that you’d think wouldn’t break his grades but do. Added to that, I can see him procrastinating then pulling through on the last minute by dint of his smarts and the rush of pressure – a perfect recipe for future burnout.

And that’s where we are.

At the beginning of our summer, kind of tired and very ready to have better systems figured out and in place. Ready to make some plans that will benefit all 3 kids – not just the younger two – as well as help prevent my own burnout.

Which is why, for the first time in a long, long time, I don’t want to travel. I want to stay right here and rest and figure this out.

PS

Cute photo of Mack, making his own trip way back when

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