Husband Number One (and no, not as in #1—as in The First) comes home late from long day at work. He doesn’t want to ask. I know because I never want to ask when I come home from work, either. He finally does. He can’t ignore the anxiety rays I’m shooting in his direction.
“How was your day?” (Barely audible, from depths of closet.)
“Fine,” I attempt in neutral if not cheerful tone and pretend to keep reading. Self-control teetering dangerously.
“That’s good,” He almost cuts off my one syllable. I know what he’s doing: trying to make it downstairs—ice cream, tv, guitar, unwind—before I dare to elaborate.
I try. I really do. But I can’t help it. Self-control crumbles. N.G.
“Scouts was awful. McD—” (Blurted, anxiety rampant and obvious.)
“You can’t take him to Scouts,” Husband Number One declares flatly. Escape plan still in play.
“I know, but—” I could just say the truth: he’s right. Scouts generally disastrous. Bad idea. Worth sitter’s $20.
“You can’t take him to Scouts.” Definitely audible now and becoming increasingly so. “You have to get a sitter.” Escape plan about to activate.
Anxiety unleashed and bouncing around room. Don’t know what my argument really is, but just need tired Husband Number One to hear how bad it was. His refusal to engage or to listen causes anxiety to peak. Ability to communicate need to be heard and rationality evaporate instantly and simultaneously under anguish. Pursue pointless tack instead and ensure escalation.
“Yeah, but I should be able to take him to Scouts!” (Frantic.) Totally irrelevant and unhelpful and beside the point. But true: Cub Scouts filled with younger siblings every week.
“That doesn’t matter. You can’t.” (Extremely audible.) “It’s the same thing every week. WHY WON’T YOU JUST GET A SITTER??”
This is a Mars v. Venus moment. Why can’t he understand there is not always a sitter to be gotten on a Tuesday evening? That I can’t keep track of absolutely everything all the time? That I am often overwhelmed just trying to get the whole family through each day?
But that’s not exactly why I don’t just get a sitter. That much becomes clear.
“Because I shouldn’t HAVE to get a sitter! Nobody else has to get a sitter to go to [expletive] CUB SCOUTS to have FUN for an HOUR!!”
Around and around it goes. Again.
Husband Number One stalks out of room. “I just can’t listen to this every [expletive] week.”
“And I shouldn’t HAVE to get a sitter every [ditto] week!” Would love to throw lavender-filled stress ball at his face.
He’s right. I’m right. We’re both right. This is why the divorce rate is what, almost double? for parents of ADHD kids. There’s nowhere else to point the guns, as my therapist would say, but at each other. (Which, she portends, does not have a good trajectory.)
Perhaps studies are correct and surviving first eight years of ADHD kid does bring divorce rate back in range of national average? Then we’re a little more than halfway to having half a chance. Wonder how many more Scout meetings between now and then.