Marriage

For My Sugar Daddy


I am tempted to just write the lyrics:
 
I’m your lady.
You are my man.
Whenever you reach
for me,
I’ll do all that I can.
 
But that would just be cheezy.

And we know you only call me lady when you are rebuking me.
 
But I am your lady.
And you are my man.
And whenever you reach for me,
I have done all that I can.
 
It was the times that you didn’t reach for me that were painful.
Because I couldn’t do anything to help.
 
Here are some old photos from that fun date-night at The Velour
when we went to see The Hinckley Brothers.
Doesn’t that seem like years ago?
Oh yeah, because it was.
 
I am catching up on all my old blog drafts and when I found this one this morning it made me smile.

One hundred percent of my best memories include you Mr. Gold, I hope you know that.

I can’t wait to make many many more….including the more recent one from last night, when my pants didn’t fit and you hugged me while I cried and told me I was beautiful just the way I am. You are the best.
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If Only Mileva Einstein Could Have Slipped The Genius Some Ritalin #2

Who wouldn’t want to married to Justin Timberlake or Will Smith? What if someone told you that if you married them you would also automatically get a big old dose of rejection, loneliness, feeling ignored, frustration, anger, exhaustion, and a sense of hopeleness? (Read here.) I know from experience that all of these emotions are part of being a spouse to someone with ADHD.

The first of my series is here where I share some of our story. It also explains my opinion that Mileva Einstein may have been able to save her marriage also if there was Ritalin back in the day. A lot of good people are getting divorced because of ADHD. Even this renowned psychologist/author just thought her hubby was a deadbeat. My hope is by sharing our story we may be able to help save some struggling marriages.

IMG_4170Dr. Oz says that 75% of the eight million adults with ADHD have gone untreated. He admits that there are a lot of spouses out there feeling like they are raising another child. I highly recommend his online series on ADHD and marriage.

In the beginning of the series Dr. Oz interviews a really smart doctor with an Ivy League degree who wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD until after graduating from medical school. (Just like my hubby wasn’t diagnosed until after plowing through law school) I loved this quote by Dr. Hallowell when he explained why he made treating ADHD into his life’s work.

“The struggle can be turned into a victory.”

From personal experience I know that this quote is true. That is why I started writing this series. I wanted to share my experience with supporting my hubby. I wanted people to know the coping strategies not just for the individual with ADHD but for the marriage.

So, if you are having any or all of those above negative feelings, your first step is to identify the problem. You might think the problem is just laziness, addiction, trustworthiness, inability, or even just plain stupidity but it’s more than likely not any of those things…it could very likely be ADHD.

My first two suggestions, echo this great article.

1- Get educated. Go over and evaluate. One important part of ADHD evaluation is that someone close to the diagnosed also includes their opinion. Often ADHD people are not even aware of their symptoms or are in deep denial.

2-  Seek optimal treatment. There are three equally important parts of treatment. First – Get medicated. Second – Make behavioral changes. Third – Changing the way interactions occur in the marriage.  All of these parts require some professional help. Don’t think you can do it on your own.

brain on ADHD

Stay tuned for the next post in the series where I will talk about our favorite parts of the second and third leg of treatment.

Home is a Feeling.

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Last week I just got done with the final unpacking. While making dinner Alison Krauss was playing over the portable CD player when LG wrapped his arms around my waist from behind and kissed my neck. The air smelled like apples from my Scentsy lamp but then LG’s familiar man-smell permeated my nasal passages. I took a long deep breathe. Two of our girls were happily playing Rummikub at the nearby dining table and the other two were sitting on the couch watching T.V.

I stirred whatever it was that I cooking on the stove and then turned to LG and gave him a hug and kissed him. The kiss became a longer kiss and then a really long kiss. The girls all started to murmur in objection to our public display of affection. “NO PDA allowed.” We laughed and whispered to each other that we would finish this later in private. I went back to cooking. LG stood close by trying to be helpful but mostly just supporting the cook with his presence.

I observed, “It feels like home.” LG questioned, “Which home? The old one down the street or the one we left in Tennessee?” I thought for a minute and said, “Both.” I pondered on how the feeling was the same even though the surroundings were so different and further communicated, “You know LG, I think home is a feeling, not a place.” He agreed.

No wonder why this is one of our favorite songs.

“There is a certain kind of yearning for home we should never want to lose. Home should be an anchor, a port in a storm, a refuge, a happy place in which to dwell, a place where we are loved and where we can love. Home should be where life’s greatest lessons are taught and learned. Home and family can be the center of one’s earthly faith, where love and mutual responsibility are appropriately blended. Thinking of home with its pleasant and happy memories can make us stronger during our present and future days here upon the earth….

When we have a yearning and don’t know what it is for, perhaps it’s our soul longing for its heartland, longing to be no longer alienated from the Lord and the pursuit of something much higher, better, and more fulfilling than anything this earth has to offer.

After Joseph, youngest son of Jacob, had been reunited with his brothers, he asked them to return home to Canaan to bring his father, Jacob, to him in Egypt. As the brothers were preparing to depart, Joseph said to them simply, “See that ye fall not out by the way.” (Gen. 45:24.)

Might our Heavenly Father have given us much the same counsel as we departed his presence to begin our earthly sojourn?

May our yearning for home be the motivation we need to so live that we can return to our heavenly home with God our Father on a forever basis.”

~Marvin J. Ashton, Oct 1992

Check out this inspiring story of some Mormon missionaries in the Philippines who thought they would never again go home, but were miraculously saved.

If Only Mileva Einstein Could Have Slipped The Genius Some Ritalin #1

My husband has ADHD. It’s true whether or not he feels like admitting it today. After the insistence of our marriage counselor he finally went and got back on drugs. Thank you Joyce! Four days later I can already tell a huge difference in him. The bags under his eyes aren’t as palpable, the deer in the headlights look is completely gone, and I would even argue that he is more emotionally engaged.

I’ve been feeling a little guilty that not only did I not recognize completely how his meds helped him, but that I didn’t insist he stay on them. Back in 2011, after a really bad couple of years in Tennessee, LG and I were grateful for a new start in Utah. With our newly acquired health insurance the first thing LG did was go to a doctor. He was really motivated to be amazing at his new job and he welcomed help from his ADHD prescription. However, over time, he got cocky. He felt like he didn’t need them and didn’t want to deal with the side effects. He also didn’t want to spend the money so he went off of his drugs. Slowly, over time, the old non-functioning LG was beginning to resurface but it was so gradual that I didn’t pin-point it. Once again the marriage counselor came to the rescue.

She had a really frank talk with LG last week. “LeGrand, do you understand how it effects you and everyone around you when you don’t take your ADHD prescription? There is not only a direct correlation but a lot of research to support the fact that your ADHD is feeding your other issues? You need it to be treated and you can’t wait another day.” Then she challenged him to get into the doctor last week, which he did, bringing me to this post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about living with Einstein for the past sixteen years. My husband is genius. I am not kidding. He is one of the smartest people I know. It is not surprising to me one bit to know that Einstein is a poster figure for ADHD. I am married to him. (I also have a daughter who is him in his female reincarnated drop dead gorgeous form.) My husband (and daughter) could not only figure out how far infinity is but once he knows the answer he could also quite simply explain it to anyone else who needs to know. When other people would have lost the patience to teach me after an hour of explanation, my husband always finds another way around explaining it (and another, and another) until I understand. When anyone has a question, it must be answered to everyone’s satisfaction. There is no way around it. Knowledge and wisdom are his guiding light.

My husband would also get to the other end of infinity and realize that he forgot his keys to unlock the door, and the pen and paper to write down the formula, and then he would make a mental note of about 800 things to do when he got back and proceed to forget every single one of them.

In short, it is extremely challenging to be married to someone with ADHD. If you don’t believe me, check out this article about Einsten’s personal life.

IMG_3619 einsten

Let me help you understand what it is like.

  • My husband is on his 7th or 8th wedding band since we got married. It was really sad the first time it happened, and the second, and the third, but now I am not even sure if 7 or 8 is an accurate number. We quit counting a long time ago.
  • My husband struggles with major self-esteem issues because of his ADHD.  No matter how much confidence I try to instill in him, years of under-functioning with ADHD have robbed him.
  • When my husband doesn’t know the answer to something (like fixing anything) he will avoid it indefinitely.
  • His keys and wallet are in one form or another of lost at all times. (One of LG’s favorite sayings is, it’s only lost if he’s looking for it.)
  • The man needs constant stimulation. Constant. I am not talking about sex, (although that works) stimulation comes in all forms…reading, texting, gaming, watching TV, fidgeting…doing all of these at the same time.
  • He literally cannot remember insignificant tasks like taking out the trash, complimenting his wife, planning ahead farther than one day.

The list could go on and on, but honestly all you have to do is read up a little on ADHD to understand the challenges I’ve faced in my marriage. Perhaps one of the hardest parts of loving a person with ADHD is their inability to connect emotionally. Here is a great article that explains how marriage is effected by ADHD. I really get the resentment mentioned about being the spouse who has to do everything. I am sure if you asked Mileva Einstein, her and I would echo succinctly.

As I was just researching for this post, I came across this article with this accompanying picture. I have read a lot about ADHD but this is the first visual that has brought home the reality of ADHD being an inclusive disorder. ADHD takes pieces from the rest of the disorders. For the first time, my husband’s ADHD also explains his tick of constant blinking (that in others would mean Tourette’s), his social anxiety, and some of his OCD tendencies such as never having dirty hands and always wearing socks with shoes.

670px-Cope-With-Adult-ADHD-Step-1

This post has gotten quite long and so I think it’s time to split it into two. Coming next will be ways that we have successfully navigated through ADHD. The simple answer is we have remained loyal to one another, have sought out professional help, and never stopped loving one another, but stay tuned for some more specific helpers.

You Make Me Smile

It’s been that kind of day. Actually it’s been that kind of week.
I am tempted to say that it has been that kind of life, but that would just be stinkin thinkin.

I just switched over from the laptop as just to be in sync with the universe it has decided to crash every 30 seconds. At least I had enough patience to get this awesome photo uploaded first.

I really really love my husband.

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He makes me smile.

When I am having the kind of week when the pressures just keep mounting: I am in the middle of searching for a new place to live that seems impossible to find, dreading the goodbyes with current friends and even the beloved family pet, crying over my phone camera breaking, having a car that repeatedly won’t start, and figuring it all out on a drained savings account (and these weeks seem to happen too often), I can always count on my man to be my calm in the storm. He’s the apple of my eye, the beat in my heart, the light of my life and he always knows how to put a smile on my face.

How could I ever want for more? When I have my perspective right, I let it all go and just watch him sleep. I try not to worry about where I will watch him sleep in the future or the fact that we will both sleep permanently one day. Right now I just let him make me smile and the smile is enough.

My ManBoy

My latest read is Rules of Civility by Amor Towles.
I don’t know if it could really be considered a book about happiness,
but it is definitely a tale of how NOT to be happy.
I’ve enjoyed it. It must have been so liberal for its time.

IMG_3467

I’ve been having a lazy day with Caroline finishing up the last 50 pages
and the above quote was such a beautiful way to explain
what I love most about my husband that I had to come and write.
I haven’t even finished the last few pages yet.

Being married is the best thing that has ever happened to me in this life. It is also the hardest thing that I have ever done. Staying in love takes a lot of work, but it is the best kind of work that I make myself want to do. Funny the other day a lady at church came up to me to tell me that going to marriage counseling was unnecessary. It was almost as if she thought I had crossed some line of impropriety. Meanwhile she lives in a loveless marriage. I tried to explain to her that marriage counseling is a wonderful tool that my husband and I use to both get what we want. I am so grateful to have a really good counselor. LG and I both have never been healthier or happier.

Back to the above quote. Reading those two short lines brought back a flood of images of times when I observed my husband with such great love I thought I would burst. I didn’t realize when they occurred that those moments were so special because they were when his boy and his man collided. One of the most beautiful parts of sharing a life with a partner is knowing them better than anyone else in the world. Knowing their self in the present and the past and therefore the future also. Knowing where they’ve come from is sacred but knowing what they will become is the most powerful. Being with my man in the past and present is my greatest privilege second only to the future of guaranteed togetherness that lies ahead.

So, I want to write those moments before I forget them.
The moments when my husband was perhaps the most beautiful to me, when his man and boy were both present:

  • Riding bikes along a trail together. (He used to love to fill his backpack and leave for a whole Saturday with his Vienna Sausages)
  • Building fires. (Whenever I see him build a fire I think of him as a ten-year-old Cub Scout)
  • Playing video games. (Thank heavens this doesn’t happen very often like some men who stay stuck as boys)
  • Nerf Gun fights. (There’s just something about a man and his gun)
  • Watching Lord of the Rings, Avengers, Superman, Batman, etc. and hearing him name the villain as they show up on the screen. (He has a photographic memory for those old comic books and fantasy novels)
  • When he plays The Entertainer on the piano. (It’s as if he shrinks by 150 pounds right before my eyes)
  • Listening to Sarah McLachlan. (His teenage crush cannot be hid)
  • Singing along to John Denver. (We share this childhood memory)
  • Watching him play basketball. (He bites his tongue and its just so cute)
  • Picking beans and shucking corn. (The lyrics to a great song that I love but also something LG did a lot of as a kid)
  • Listening to bluegrass. (Always makes me think of the first time he promised to someday take me to Dollywood with his slightly detectable Southern accent)
  • Rollercoasters. (He always recalls that Dollywood used to be Silver Dollar City)
  • Watching him plunk away at random instruments. (He has this love and interest that he cultivated as a kid)
  • Hearing him say Mama. (When we first met he always called his mom Mama)
  • Watching him use his Priesthood. (I always think of his little 12-year-old self passing the sacrament)
  • When he cleans. (His mama taught him good – he is especially meticulous – just like her – with folding clothes with perfection)
  • When he doodles his L’s and G’s in 3D form. (A little bit of mindless habit)
  • Mowing the lawn. (Um yeah he did a lot of that as a kid and still does)
  • When he ties a tie. (It’s a talent that I love to admire)
  • When he’s immersed in a novel. (That man loves to read)
  • When he helps the kids with their math. (I’m pretty sure he could do calculus in elementary school)
  • When he eats a bowl of cereal. (We used to love to watch Saturday morning cartoons naked with our cereal when we first got married, I watched him more then the cartoons)
  • When he plays with the guys. (One of my most fond memories was watching LG at about 28 with his two best friends Scott and Conan. They had made up a game with a ball and a electric wire.)
  • When he held our babies. (I could just imagine him as his mama’s oldest child helping her so sweet and gently with all his younger siblings)

I am sure there are so many more. I could write all day, but I will stop myself there. Perhaps the most intimate moments are too private to share, but when a grown man can cry and share with you moments when as a kid he was scared, wronged, ashamed, lonely, and confused it is such a beautiful vulnerability. Those sad moments are just as important and touching as his paradoxical times of love, happiness, pride, and joy.

I married a wonderful man. I just happened to get a pretty great little boy in the deal, and I don’t even have a single son.

Saving Ourselves and I’m Not Talking about Premarital Sex

saving yourselfA while back our marriage counselor said this,

“There is nothing that will make an individual sexier than for them to take care of themselves instead of looking outside themselves to be saved.”

We were discussing my ability to stay under budget and something that my husband needed to do for himself – I can honestly say I have no recollection of what his homework was. That’s a good sign that I am rightly focusing on myself.

She continued, “Alice, you need to understand that when you are staying under budget, it is a real telltale sign to LG that he can trust you to take care of yourself. When you do what you need to do to be financially secure, he will look at you with a whole new-found respect.In fact you will not only be trustworthy but sexy.”

Last night I screwed up. I didn’t go over budget. Yeah for me! I did let my husband down by not really knowing what to do once he was vulnerable in telling me his fears. In fact I totally floundered.

I just sent him off an e-mail – sometimes communicating through writing is so much easier than words. I tried to apologize and I also tried to explain that I need to feel the security that he can take care of his own problems. After I hit “send” I went over to Pinterest wasting time until preschool starts this morning and this pin came up.

This says exactly what I was trying to say in about 300 words less than I did. It also spoke to me as if from my husband. Ofttimes I go directly into save mode when people don’t need saving. I have a huge flaw in thinking that everyone needs saving and I mean EVERYONE. I can’t fathom the idea that people can actually manage their own lives. This incorrect principle at my very core makes it very hard for me to have healthy relationships with people.

Saving ourselves is so much more empowering than waiting for others to save us and yes it’s even sexy. If I can convince myself that the only person I need to save is me then my job responsibility just went down by 99.9%. When I look at it that way saving myself seems simple. I’ve gotten a lot better at saving myself. I now just need to learn how to not only let other people save themselves but also how to best support them while they do. It’s a whole new world that I am navigating.

My Man Reads My Mind

 

marriageLast weekend our family attended a local safety fair. There was a variety of booths where we stopped and discussed different parts of safety for the whole family. We learned about being safe around the railroad, the hazards of smoking, wearing our seat-belts, having a fire escape plan, eating healthy, and touched on internet safety. One of the girls’ favorite object lesson was wearing the drunk goggles and trying to walk the yellow line. It was quite entertaining.

We happened upon a veterinarian’s booth. We discussed safety for pets (don’t let your dog drink anti-freeze) and then they gave us a free measuring scoop with a handle for dog food. I thought it was pretty cool as I have always just used an old cup. I asked the lady about how much food was the right amount to be feeding our 16 pound dog and mentioned that she seems to be gaining weight. The lady answered my questions and then went into her spiel about what other services their vet clinic offered.

LG was standing close by watching the interaction. As the lady mentioned that the clinic offered laparoscopic surgery, my interest was piqued. I started busting a gut and said, “I can’t believe there is such a thing for dogs. That just cracks me up.” The lady looked puzzled. My husband came to my rescue. He knew exactly what I had thought and completely understood why I was l laughing hysterically. The joke inside my mind was pretty dang funny. He was chuckling at me and my funny joke. He then burst my comedic bubble as he put his hand on my shoulder to shut me up and calmly said to the lady, “Excuse my wife, she confused laparoscopic surgery for gastric bypass surgery.” The lady then laughed along. I looked at LG in utter amazement that 1 – he knew the joke in my messed up mind, 2 – he thought it was funny too, and 3 – he had come to the rescue of this ditsy woman who confused her vocabulary once again.What could have been a totally humiliating moment became extremely entertaining.

I apologized to the lady through my snorting. The whole thing had put me into hysterics. I could not stop laughing. I gave my husband of 16 years a kiss after coming up for some air. He shook his head at my silliness. I stood amazed at our twin-like intuition. We are in sync! Marriage is a beautiful beautiful beautiful (and hysterical) thing. How blessed I am to have such a wizard of a man.

Family – Hinckley Style

While living in Tennessee, we got to know a wonderful family
who also happens to be extremely talented musically.

I have always loved this song which has a beautiful parenting theme.

Yesterday I discovered one of Derek’s most recently written songs and it brought me to tears.
It has such a true message about raising children,
the sacrifice of it, but most of all, the rewards gained.
It made me even more grateful to be a mother.
I hope it does the same for all of you.

And here is an added bonus.
It’s two of the Hinckleys singing one of my favorite love songs
for a TN local talent show audition: The Nashville Star.
This song describes perfectly the love that I share
with my extra quiet hubby. “When You Say Nothing At All”

Lessons from the Trail: Desire and Effort

desire

Last week the marriage counselor gave LG and I a big challenge that we’ve been trying to acheive. LG is to be in charge and do everything that I normally do and I am supposed to learn how to quit being in charge and follow LG in a support role. When she gave us the assignment last week I lamented, “You don’t understand, I don’t do well when things go wrong. You just upped the possibility of things going awry by about 400%.” She understands perfectly. She’s good at what she does. She wants to help me learn to let go and stop trying to control everything and she also wants to help LG to conquer his fear of screwing up which I have exacerbated for 16 years.

She explained, “Alice, you will be fine. Just remember you can’t judge people by outcome, you have to judge solely on the principles of desire and effort.”  “If LeGrand goes to the store and brings home all the wrong stuff, just know it isn’t the end of the world. He can fix it. He can return whatever was too expensive. When he gets home with not even one thing that was on the list, you can be happy because he has the desire to partner with you and he made the effort to do it. ” I tried to breathe. She was totally right, but for some weird reason, I have the hardest time letting people make mistakes. I’m still trying to understand it, but I committed to do better even without the wisdom of understanding my irrationality. I took out a pen from my purse and wrote the words DESIRE and EFFORT in about a 34 font on my left hand. I needed all the help I could get to remember, especially when things went wrong.

So, all this was on my mind as I headed out onto the trail on my bike yesterday. With the ink residuals on my hand, I could no longer read the words but I had memorized them after a few days. I watched the other people on the trail, like I always do. I was in the middle ground of cyclists. I have a mountain bike that I push to the max. I do about twelve miles per hour and get a good workout aiming for at least 15 miles per ride. I am always somewhat astounded when the “real” cyclists go whizzing past me with their fancy road-bikes and padded shorts with matching bike jerseys. They must be doing about twenty-five mph.  I off-set my disappointment in my slower self by passing up the even slower more relaxed riders on beach cruisers and tandems.

It couldn’t have hit me harder yesterday if it was an alien ship landing right on top of me. Everyone on the trail, no matter what their speed or clothing or bike or size had a desire to ride. And if they were on the trail, they had put forth the effort.

We were all winning! No judgement needed. We were all riding. We all had desire and we all had put in different levels of effort. Yes, some of us had a much greater ability (WHY CAN’T I HAVE THE GREATEST ABILITY?) but we were equal in desire and had all exerted effort. Yeah for us!

Now if I can just translate this lesson from the trail onto things more personal I know I will be much happier. Others’ cycling abilities don’t really personally affect me, but when they don’t remember to take out the trash it does. I am still trying to figure out how to handle those more personal moments of disappointment. How do you give someone an A for effort when they forget and there really was no effort at all? I guess at that point I should just hand out an A for desire and give the ADHD members of my family some serious grace.

Some scriptures on desire and effort.

Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to they name, and to the remembrance of thee. ~ Isaiah 26:8

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby ~ 1Peter2:2

Some Mormon doctrine for my LDS friends.

Behold, I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in the their sickle to reap. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world. I am the same who came unto mine own and mine own received me not. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that as many as receive me, to them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe in my name. Amen.  ~Doctrine and Covenants 11: 27

And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good. ~ Alma 41:3

Here is some good food for thought I just enjoyed on the subject of desire. And here is an address by the intellectually advanced Neal Maxwell.