My thoughts automatically turn toward our children, after I realize…

I’m still alive! I just absorbed the hardest hitting punches possible that land flush on my face, nose, chin, eyes, head, stomach, ribs, and even a few below the belt. Amy fights differently than me. She fights dirty, but tough, even relentlessly.  In my mind, I’m not her enemy or opponent, but in her’s, no doubt, I still am. 

All a person has to do is a little research on ADHD to learn we’re not the easiest people to be married to, and I’m no exception.  At the same time neuro-typical people are no easier for us to live with! 

We don’t understand holding grudges; it’s not in our nature.  We’re so used to failing or falling, that getting back up or being resilient is our second nature.  So we don’t understand fear of failure.  

Fear of making the wrong decision doesn’t keep us stuck in the intersection of indecisiveness. Being wrong or making mistakes is what we’re told we’re doing our entire lives.  

It’s virtually impossible to offend us and it’s difficult to find people more wiling to try and change or who try harder.  

Bottom line, as hard as it is to accept, believe, or understand, ADHD brains genuinely don’t get why so many people have such a hard time with us, you know, all you neuro-typical brains out there.  Oh, we understand that we lose it in the moment, have occasional fits of anger, or say things before they’re appropriately filtered, but what baffles us is why it’s such a big deal; why it’s taken so personally.  

When someone explodes and says really hurtful, mean things to us (which has been the lot of our entire life), we think, 

“Well that person still has some things to work on and overcome JUST LIKE ME.” 

It’s encouraging for us in a real non-typical sort of way. And it’s easy for us to forgive them because of how much we are constantly needing forgiveness ourselves.  

Just the other day, someone said,

“Jeremy, you’re yelling.”

I’m 40 something 🙂 years old and have been working on this my entire life, and still I’m shocked when someone thinks I’m yelling at them.  In my mind, I’m not yelling at all, I’m just being emphatic or passionate or just, you know, forcefully trying to get my point across.  

It’s nice when someone calmly brings it to my attention.  What sends us ADHD brains into a fit is when someone clearly is yelling at us, then we yell back, and the next thing we know, we’re being accused of yelling as if we’re the only ones.  ADHD brains have almost no coping mechanism for dealing with that level of a double standard. 

OK, so that was literally an ADHD tangent:)

Well, back to things at hand.  The truth hurts, but accompanying it is peace.  At least there is no doubt now that what I figure Amy feels and thinks is confirmed with no lingering questions. I’m left with somewhat of a feeling that I’m fighting all of hell to reach her and my family and she’s doing everything she can to prevent that.  Why?  

In my mind, she doesn’t want it to work out, at least right now. To her, I think it’s just too hard and painful.  She’d rather be on her own or start fresh with someone else.  

My thoughts return to our children, particularly our second batch, Ashlie, Anson and Samuel.  My heart aches for them.  What are they being told?  Have they turned against their father?  Erased him from their lives?  Do they think I’ve abandoned them?  Have they forgotten all our talks, excursions, and experiences together?  Are they laughing, having a great time and have accepted someone else as their father-figure?  Now that it’s clear where Amy stands, all the unknowns about our children rise to the surface. 

I’m sitting on a black couch.  It’s perfectly quiet, except for an occasional car I can hear driving by.  I hear the soft noise of the refrigerator running.  I’m the only one here. My mind drifts off as I re-live various scenes of one on one’s with each of our children. I lose myself in the imaginations of the moment.

They’re asleep in their beds.  I first open Ashlie’s door.  To no surprise her blankets are all twisted and less than half her body is covered.  

I quietly step in noticing her fish or baby birds or ducks, her pictures on her walls.  I love this girl.  I approach her bed and just look at her face for a moment.  Then, I just start ripping all her covers off her which flips her over a time or two.  She grunts and makes some noises, but I can see the slight smile on her face.  She knows exactly what’s going on.  I then layer each blanket on her in the order she has trained me to do it.  Now, she is toasty and can peacefully sleep.  I lean over and give her a soft kiss on her forehead and whisper in her ear, “I love you, precious.” I can feel all her nerves calm. She feels secure now and can peacefully sleep.

Then I enter the boys room.  Anson is asleep on his back on the top bunk, with his favorite brown “blanky” over him (which he stole from me by the way).  I whisper his name.  Startled, he immediately sits up.  He’s half asleep.  “Anson, it’s dad,” I whisper.  He gets a big smile on his face.  Before I can say anything else he just wraps his arms around me, gives me a kiss (making sure it is on the lips), and tells me he loves me.  He is such a tender-hearted boy and very affectionate.  I whisper I love you in his ear and something like, “you’re awesome and the best baseball player ever to walk this planet.”  

Before I even get to Samuel on the bottom bunk, I hear, 

“Hey Dad!”  

“Yes, Samuel?” 

“I love ya.”

“Love you too, bud.”

It’s tender, but also much more macho. 

Well, most nights are like that, but then there are the bad days. 

There are even days I promise to be up shortly and forget.   Do they only remember the bad ones? 

As if in another place in time and space, I abruptly awake to reality and find myself sitting on the same black couch having no idea where my three younger children are. 

It’s too painful to think about so I choose to believe they dwell on the good and not the bad.

I hope they know each night I go in their room in my mind and tuck them in bed. I envision Anson leaping up, giving me a kiss on my lips and a big hug and telling me he loves me.  

I hear Ashlie’s final words as I walk out of her room, “make sure you turn my fan on, oh, and leave my door cracked open, and oh, make sure all the lights upstairs are off.”  She’s always been daddy’s girl.  But what now?  Have I disappointed her?  Does she even want to talk to me?  

I stop.  I realize my questions are mostly selfish and self-centered.  My concern should be more about them and less what they may or may not be feeling or thinking about me.  Plus, if I have to wonder, deep down I must know my behaviors at times have contributed to hurting them or setting a bad example.  That hurts the worst.  My fear is everyone is piling on, having a hay day making the bad seem to far outweigh the good.

I wonder.  What message would I have for them if I had the chance?  

I close my eyes and imagine I’m with them. They’re eyes are glued to mine. I’m calm and can feel the words given to me,

“Children, much has been done to block me from you.  Just know this, if you will only focus on all the good memories we’ve had together, you will feel how much I love you.  If you’ll hold fast to that which you’ve known to be true in the past, you’ll realize it still is, in fact, as true now as it was then.  

Believe in miracles.  Believe that miracles are happening on this end that if you were aware of would make you so happy and hopeful.  God is in control.  God gave you one father and that will never change.  Although I suffer immensely from missing you, I trust in God’s ways and timing.  More is going on than you could possibly know.  

The time will come when you will have all understanding.  Until then, believe.  Have faith, hope and charity.  Each of you, even you Samuel, are so remarkable.  

Remember how to cast darkness from you. Trust in the power of prayer.  Believe in your father regardless of how things seem in the moment and watch how the powers of heaven work once again to bring about miracles that are impossible to know or see at this time, but will happen as sure as the sun sets and the rivers run to the sea. 

Keep anger, resentment, or unkind feelings toward anyone far from your hearts.  Honor both your mother and your father.  I love you and know how to fight the real enemy in ways where he simply cannot win. 

The secret?  First, you must know who the true enemy really is.  Second, you must understand that there is only one weapon and one weapon only that defeats him every time, and I just happen to know what that weapon is.

Ready? Because I’m going to tell you.  

It’s personal repentence.  

It’s focusing on your own faults, not the false accusations that sometimes are leveled against you, but the faults you know you own. 

How is this fighting?  I’ll tell you.  

Jesus Christ beat Satan by using the same weapon we now have access to because of Him. No, not repentance in His case, He was perfect, but His atonement.  He beat Satan through His atonement for our sins.  When we repent, we gain access to His power that comes from Him completing His atonement for us.  His power then fights our battles for us.  His victory becomes our victory.

His light and grace then fill us and where light is there can be no darkness. That light, the light of Christ, then, by its very nature overpowers darkness, defeats it every time no matter what.  That’s why I have no fear. That’s why you shouldn’t either.  

Here’s some fatherly counsel that you need. Do not under any circumstance succumb to pointing out, dwelling, or counting the faults of anyone other than yourself.  Stay far away from blaming.  When talking about someone else, make sure it’s in the most favorable light possible, and always, always give others the benefit of the doubt. 

If you do, you will make Heavenly Father so happy and you’ll cause the devil to have fits as he is forced to flee from you.

One last thing,

Never tell a lie or attempt to deceive, even if it is to try and catch someone else in a lie or even if you think it is for a justifiable end.  The Lord condemns that diabolical strategy. It stems from a lack of faith and trust in the Lord that he needs no help from us in accomplishing His purposes, especially deceptive help we wrongly think we are doing in His name.

Just as I begin to feel an incredible amount of relief from finally communicating to my children what, as their father, is in my heart to share with them, it again dawns on me that nothing I just wrote and imagined has done any good for them.  I, again, snap out of it and find myself alone on the black couch.  

One day soon, I tell myself, the message will get through.

As for now, it’s time to get to work and once again, consciously and willingly give my children to the Lord…for the time being.

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