ADHD and Family Ties at ChristmasSo it’s Christmas but all I can think about is that it feels like it’s already over. And that’s not a bad thing: this year I’ve already received the two best gifts I could possibly think of.

No, it wasn’t two Chippendale dancers. (What’s the fun in that? They’d just unwrap themselves.)

I’m talking about the kind of gift that you don’t expect, didn’t ask for, but is something you secretly hoped for all along but had (almost) given up on.

Nope. Wrong again: nobody’s bought me a pre-paid year with an awesome ADHD coach.

Why I’ve longed for these gifts

When I was a kid, my childhood felt like an undiagnosed ADHD circus. A circus where all the cage doors had been left open, wild animals running helter-skelter trying to eat each other while the trapeze artists swung overhead, laughing.

I was the clown, elephant, and ringleader all in one. Or maybe ADHD was the ringleader. Whichever, it felt scary, unmanageable, and unpredictable.

There wasn’t any time to learn the niceties of social skills while I scampered to and fro along a fraying tightrope. I did my best to survive and tame the lion.

The circus disbands

Under these conditions, I suppose it’s no wonder that our family pretty much dissolved after my adoptive parents passed away (and before my ADHD diagnosis).

It’s not that I blame our drifting apart on my ADHD; but I’m pretty sure it didn’t help solidfy the bonds of siblinghood. Punching my sister out when we were kids probably didn’t help either.

Still, the dream to be part of a tight-knit family remained, even though we “kids” scattered to the four winds. I suppose that means I was meta-scattered.

The stars have aligned…or something

I don’t know if it’s due to cosmic alignment, the Mayan calendar, age-related mellowing, or for some other reason, but this year each of my siblings gave me a most precious gift.

Within a matter of days, one invited me to their home for Christmas, and the other, with whom I’d been estranged for several years, replied “I love you too” when I said “I love you” during a a brief social media exchange (hey, ya gotta start somewhere!).


A happy Christmas

So, for me, I’ve already received the two best gifts I could have (but didn’t) imagine.

I’m still going to visit the  sibling who invited me for Christmas, and look forward to that. We’d planned a Christmas together a few years ago, but due to weather or whatever, it didn’t happen. So – bonus – all I have to do now is wrap the presents I already bought for the Christmas that never was.

Better late than never.


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    Last reviewed: 21 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2012). A Most Unexpected Gift for Christmas. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from


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