A.D.D., Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

ADD and What Needs My Attention Now?

My boss describes himself as A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder).

We were talking about his neighbor who accidentally burned down his 5M house. My boss said (about his neighbor), “He’s ADD like me. ADD people burn down the house.”

I’m not ADD, at least I have no proper diagnosis of it, and, though sorely uneducated on the subject, if I had to guess, I’d say I’m the complete opposite of ADD. I have a laser-like focus that keeps me on task to the point where I am hard to interrupt. (There is a caveat to this: If I am bored, or uninterested, then I appear to be the ditz of the universe, who, like Dory, sees all sorts of shiny things.)

A recent example: The house behind me, 2 doors down, 2 weeks ago, caught on fire. In my small town that’s an evening of excitement, so the entire neighborhood was standing in my yard watching the goings on. (All so engrossed with the dramatic event they missed my pretty my roses. Seems I’m not the only one with laser focus.) There were also several firetrucks with lights flashing parked in my yard.

I missed the house burning down.

I was lying in bed reading a newsletter from Blooms of Bressingham on the subject of their new perennials. I never heard the firetrucks, never saw the lights, or smelled smoke. I did hear voices outside, but that was not enough to interrupt my thoughts on the Moonshine yarrow that was introduced in 1950 by the Blooms, and is still the best yarrow on the market today, and to my thinking on that fated night, would make a great companion plant with my Walker’s Low catmint. It was only when I got up for a drink, that I saw the lights, and realized there’d been a fire. I missed the entire thing. People were heading home and firetrucks were backing out of my driveway.

Attention Deficit Disorder and What Needs My Attention Now, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Walker’s Low Catmint

Here’s what I said to my boss. “ADDs may burn the house down, but people like me? We don’t even know the house is on fire.”

Oh the analogies.

Why do folks with ADD get so much attention? And, someone please tell me. What is it we’re all supposed to be paying attention too, anyway?

I have a new granddaughter (she’ll be a month old tomorrow). I haven’t met her because I am working 24/7.  No, that is not an exaggeration. I work 7 days a week.

My best friend is going through the toughest ordeal of her life. Chemo and radiation are a daily routine for her, hoping to shrink the tumors in her brain. She’s an hour away and I work, worried if this next paycheck will be enough to pay the bills.

If I am not mistaken, every niece and nephew I have is graduating between the end of May and the middle of June. I will miss all of them.

My garden is divine right now. The roses are climbing over the white picket fence, iris are blooming, gaura is staring to bloom up their wispy stalks, and I know this because I see it as I drive by it on my way to work.

I’m burning down the house, and I’m not ADD.

When I was in the 5th grade my teacher scolded me, and called my parents for a parent/teacher conference because I looked bored. Oh man, did I get in trouble. Cinthia, are you not paying attention class? Why do you look bored? Because I was, and no of course, I wasn’t paying attention. But, to appease those who could ground me, I practiced the art of looking interested in the bathroom mirror. The moral of this story?

We may look like we’re paying attention, but are we?

I am unaware if my boss ever burned down a house. I do know that he has built a very successful garden center that rivals the garden centers of England. And, while I may have missed a few barn burnings, I am getting the idea, you don’t have to be ADD to burn down the house. Clueless works too.


Wow. My Cup Runneth Over.

Wow. I am hugely touched by all of you! So many of you reached out to me, letting me know that yesterday’s blog post spoke to you. You shared some of your truthful things with me, and one beautiful woman sent me her list of 7. I will always cherish that.

Here’s what I want to say to all of you: I love you. So very deeply.

Funny how that works, right?

We try so hard to be perfect, or at least, keep our flaws in check. We try to make sure no one finds out we’re crazy. (That’s my #8, truly terrified that I’m certifiably crazy.) Why? So, we’ll be loved.

But, life is one big dichotomy. We hoard our secrets close, and all that accomplishes is keeping people at arm’s distance. But, we tell our deepest fears, the things we don’t really like about ourselves, and it brings people closer. They lean in to hear us, because they hear themselves in our words. They have a list of 7 too.

But here’s what I’m not going to do.

I’m not going to say you’re wrong.

I’m not going to tell you that you’re brave when you said you were scared.

Instead, I’m going to honor what’s in your heart, and tell you that I’m afraid too.

But, let’s keep swimming. (Yeah, I love Finding Nemo.) I’ll swim with you. I’ll do the journey with you. And, I promise to be honest along the way, if you promise to be honest too. Because somehow, knowing I am not the only one with a list of 7 makes me feel stronger, a bit more sure, a little less crazy. It makes me think this life is do-able, after all. So thank you for that.

And here’s what else I promise you:

1. I promise not to pretend I have it all together.

2. I promise to be honest about my fears. (Like now, I’m almost 55, will I accomplish ANYTHING before I die. Does it even matter?)

3. I promise to encourage you, and please encourage me. Life is hard. Faith is hard. Sometimes, I hear a song about giving it all to Jesus (that Mandisa song), and all I can think is, exactly what does that look like? Will someone please tell me what that looks like? I just want to call her up and say, “Mandisa, what does that look like?” (And btw, Mandisa, you look fabulous with the weight loss. Really. Way to go, girl.)

4. Lastly, I promise to be your friend no matter what is on your list of 7.

I love you all. You are powerful, wonderful, devoted, godly women, who are living life fully. May I be like each of you. My cup runneth over.

PS I’d love to publish some of the lists of 7s (anonymously). If you’re up for it, send them to me. (It doesn’t have to be 7, it can be 2 or even 1). I think it would be great to see how similar we all are, how flawed and beautiful at the same time. You can send them to me privately, cinthiamilner@gmail.com, or do the hashtag thing, #listof7. and tweet it or instagram it, or whatever you do. (@CinthiaMilner)