I first noticed I was different in fourth grade.
My parents said I was being dramatic.
They said I just wanted attention. I thought they must be right. But still, I felt different.
Maybe it’s true, I wasn’t trying hard enough. How could I not be able to do what everyone else was born doing? 100 years ago, if I’d been a poor farmer on the prairie, I’d have had to live with it. So why not be strong and live with it now?
So I tried harder. And I struggled with guilt and I learned ways to hide what I couldn’t do.
But I really wasn’t normal. I was flawed and it was becoming obvious, and I was going to have to admit it: for whatever reason, I just couldn’t do what everyone else could do easily from birth.
My daughter’s face, her earnest face — more woman now than child — studying me.
“And so I did it,” I tell her with a shrug. “I got glasses. I’ve worn them every day ever since. Blind as a bat without them. If I were a cave woman the wooly mammoths would have gotten me for sure. I’d’ve never seen them coming.”
“Momma. I think that may just be the stupidest story you’ve ever told me.”
That one-hip pop expression of disgust that somehow coordinates with a raised eyebrow, the same side or opposite of the hip I haven’t quite figured out yet.
“RIGHT?!”I say. “–So take the damn Ritalin and don’t waste another millisecond of your life reflecting on it.”
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to remember to take a pill every day when you are ADHD? I mean. Think about it.”
“How about I tape the pill to the front door so you see it on the way to catch the bus?”
“Because I may be blind, but I have excellent executive functioning skills.”
“I’d have outrun the wooly mammoths.”
“Honey, when you don’t take your pill you would freaking terrorize the wooly mammoths.”