Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks! And know these accounts are true … without exaggeration!]
Fighting tears, Laura hangs up the phone. “Dad fell. Twice. Broke his arm. I’ve got to drive to the Cleveland hospital right now.”
I pull my beautiful brown-eyed bride to me, plant lips against auburn hair –
Plant lips so those amorous kisses climb her curls and caress Laura’s face all day? asks Screen Two.
– and reassure her leaving is fine. Bride gently escapes my embrace, anxiously asks, “What about them?” We look at the four young Montgomery family girls we’ve just absorbed into our modest home for the weekend. “The meals? Snacks? Abby’s eye medicine? Bedtime?”
“It’s OK, Sweetie. I’ve got it.”
Laura calls Travis, the girls’ dad, explains the situation and encourages him to continue the extended date. She then hesitantly leaves on the strength of my promise to update by text.
I face Miss Brianna, at 11 the eldest Montgomery daughter, who grasps why “Aunt” Laura is going but asks in trembling voice, “Who’s … who’s gonna cook for us?”
Chef Blackie, of course! replies Three, fancying himself a stovetop star.
Screen Five reads female fear and manipulates my lips. “We should pound delicious yogurts” – the girls whoop – “and head to Toledo Zoo.”
Bri’s face falls again. “Kind of tired of the Zoo. Can’t we do something else?” I point out her sisterly trio is ready to wander among (sleepy) lions, (Amur) tigers and (sun) bears.
You underestimate this warrior, cautions Six. Surrender is an unknown concept.
Three pressured sisters “concede” the Zoo is not for them. Screen Four swiftly suggests we head to a nearby school’s accompanying playground, one filled with swings and jungle gyms and giant slides. Once there, I send the girls’ parents a text: “To anyone out there … Aunt Laura left us alone with Uncle Blackie. We fear for our lives. Please come get us ASAP. Love, Brianna.”
A “smiley” emoticon zips back.
Things now go south, admits One, though you will not recognize that fact for several hours yet. Sneaking away with my phone, tech-savvy Brianna texts, “Mom! Please! Stop being so difficult – come get me!”
“I not the baby,” asserts spunky Eowyn, holding up four fingers.
– participates, though the concept of freeze tag escapes her. Each time I catch Eowyn (I never can corral speedy McKenzie, 7), she asserts, “I not playing.”
Meanwhile, whispers Four, look how well the older three avoid capture. Spooky ….
Fills in Five, You have seen their motions before. These girls harass you, and unfreeze one another as you chase, the way a wolf pack “worries” a bear into leaving its fresh kill behind. Watch yourself.
Exhausted and rarely successful, I load the wolf pack to return home for a lavish lunch of PB&Js. Screen Two reminds me to soothe my bride’s heart, lest it be overburdened by hospital AND husband: “Going great! Park fun. Meal done. Meds next. No tears yet … girls OK, too.”
“Uncle Blackie to the rescue!” Laura texts. But that’s premature, since we know not that pen-equipped Eowyn prowls while sisters play “Trouble.”
Barks Six. This magic-marking midget applies black to your red office chair, red to your black keyboard, green to the jeans of Miss Abigail, 9, even while Abby wears them!
At this very moment, my bride calls. Hearing the strife, Laura suggests I tell Eowyn, “You say you are not a baby, but you act like a baby when you color things that are not paper.”
Eowyn, however, is racing for the bathroom. Shouting, “Potty, potty!” she desperately wiggles, impatiently questioning why “Uncle” Blackie cannot remove in swift manner the two pairs of undies Eowyn has on.
Somehow, we five get through library time, church service – even dinner (“Can’t believe you know how to cook those ‘biscuits in a can,’ Uncle Blackie”) – and play a parent-approved movie. Phone rings, but Carol’s words – “Can I … can I speak to Brianna?” – neither identify herself nor greet me.
Strange, murmurs One, but I hand over the phone. An adolescent laughs wildly, whispers a brief explanation, and rejoins popcorn-pounding sibs on the couch. Smugly, she offers, “This morning I texted a fake ‘S.O.S.’ that Mom just got.” Brianna forgets to admit she also took personal photos AND changed my cellphone’s ID. (All of Monday’s workday texts are sent by “BreeeeeAnna!”)
Six rolls his eyes, no small feat when one is only a screen. Any other surprises, Black?
“Yes. My wife does not stay the weekend with her hospitalized dad but returns home the same day she left, finding four sleepy little girls groggily watching a movie at 9:50pm.”
Says Three, Never again will Miss Laura leave you tending four kids on your own.
I am wiser than I know.
Postscript: To set up these sleepover weekends, we always e-mail mom Carol Montgomery and ask, “May we rent four lively little ladies for a sleepover?”
This is exactly what we got back the last time:
“That is great ! I can get rid of them for a few days! Yes! You can have them over, but make sure that they go to the zoo and eat all the candy they want and beat Blackie up as much as they want !!!!!!!! Woohoooooo!”
The responder, we learn, actually is Abigail But this sweet, petite, party-on-feet isn’t done with her shenanigans. When the four girls arrive at our home, Abby and McKenzie disappear. About 10 minutes later, they exit the bathroom, laughing and congratulating one another.
Seeing me, Abby smirks and prompts her younger sister, “Show him what we did, ‘Kenz.”
McKenzie smiles, revealing a gap in her top set of teeth. I spin ’round to Abby, who proudly hoists a blood-spattered tooth and boasts. “Pulled it out!”
Gonna be a l-o-n-g weekend, exclaims Six, but – woohooooo! – not a dull one!
* * * * *
Blackie’s Weekly Wonders
Low-budget, high-laugh “Star Wars” trailer