My husband and I do not think alike. This is true. We both comprehend this fact. But I don’t think either of us actually understands what this means as it relates to how we relate to one another, nor do we truly realize how very differently someone with attention deficit disorder thinks when compared to someone without ADD.

The other day, I woke up in the usual way – to a messy house, left in the wake of my ADD husband. An open drawer here, a dirty bowl there, crumbs and something gooey on the counter, a hot pad and a spatula on the floor, last night’s supper dishes on the table, a butter knife sticky with peanut butter on top of the stack of bills, a calculator in the fruit bowl…you know, the usual…when I happened upon a tub of very gross, dirty dishwater in the sink and a wash rag marinating in the mix. Eewww!

We had had a discussion just the night before about not leaving the wash rag in the old dishwater and to just dump the tub of water when he was done washing something. It’s a discussion that, like all of our discussions, we’ve had over and over. And as usual, he swore up and down that, yes, he agreed that leaving the wash rag in the dirty dishwater was as gross as I found it and that, yes, he would remember to dump the water this time.

Until that point that morning, I was doing really good reminding myself that things left out by my husband that I perceive as easy to put away is due to his ADD. But looking at the rag saturated with the greasy, milky brown water, I had a flashback to a time when I wasn’t so understanding – a time when a word would’ve flashed across the window in my mind, a word that begins with the letter A and ends with the word hole. Not a nice word. But a common word used to describe someone with undiagnosed ADD. I quickly tried to push the word out of my mind, but the accusatory side of me was winning.

As I reached for a spoon to fish out the wash rag, to dump the tub, I had what people commonly refer to as an “aha moment.” A thought occurred to me: This was a perfect example of how differently my husband thinks compared to me.

I wish he was better at describing it to me, but while I’m able to think of countless things at one time and am able to take in multiple distractions but filter it to the one or two that I need to focus on at the time, he is not. My husband can only think of one thing at one time and only the loudest, brightest, or otherwise most noticeable distraction at one time.

So, while he truly meant to follow through on his promise to take care of the dishwater last night, since he didn’t do it at the time of argument, something else caught his attention right away and the thought to return to the dishwater honestly didn’t cross his mind again. After all, dishwater isn’t very loud, bright, or otherwise noticeable.