A strange phenomenon occurs shortly after we all get loaded in the car and the engine starts. Like clock work Hannah (14 yrs old) speaks out loud and clearly, “Can we turn the radio on?” This is significant for many reasons not the least of which is that Hannah, when she speaks, which is not that often, is usually too quiet to hear.
Mariah almost pummeled a young man at church who asked her, quite innocently, if Hannah was mute. We had been attending there for about 3 or 4 months and no one had heard Hannah speak during that time at all. Mariah, being the defender of the under dog and especially of family was out for blood. Remind me and I will tell you later about Mariah and the caterpillar killer sometime.
When Hannah first started making this request I just thought that she was being more like a teenager than normal. I was pretty excited. Hannah (our only non-ADHD child) is very mellow and pliable; she rolls with the house and its intensity. When she was in the 4th grade she had a friend who looked at her one day and said, “Hannah, you are perfect and that is just not normal.”
I am often concerned that she is too willing to back down and let it all wash over her. Not willing to make some waves of her own. Consequently, we work hard to make her come out of her shell and stand up for the opinion we know is in there. So, when Hannah says radio I get kind of excited and say what channel.
Hannah has developed her own set of coping mechanisms to handle the stimulus that is constantly around her. For one thing, God has blessed her with an un-natural ability to block out the world. When she was little she was so focused on whatever she was doing that Mark would come say goodbye to her before work and give her a kiss; with in about a half an hour Hannah would be tugging on my shirt asking where daddy was.
Sometimes she and I sneak away for a non-ADHD day. A day filled with complete thoughts and uninterrupted conversation. A day to catch up on peace and balance.
What I didn’t realize until this week was that the radio is Hannah’s car coping mechanism. It is very hard to separate yourself from all the stimuli in the van, even though it is a big 15 passenger monster van.
When things start getting loud with multiple conversations, people touching each other, people mad because people are touching each other, Rachel singing, and Mariah on a comedic rant Hannah says…
“Can we turn on the radio?”