Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Autism Answer: Gratitude Without Words - A New Adventure!

Backyard fun with family.

"Thanks, Tsara. That was really fun. I guess you were right. You don't need to get out of town to have a good time."

"Nope," I smiled, parking my car in front of my brother's apartment building. "You just need to spend time with people you like. Oh, and who like you."

Rye - my youngest brother - agreed. Climbing out of my car into the dark spring evening he came around to my side, an extra bounce in his already bouncy step. "What a great night," he announced to no one in particular. He gave me a fun, awkward hug through my window and headed up the walkway to his apartment door.

Driving away I reached over to my son and gave his hand a squeeze. A fun night with family has a way of making me feel emotional and almost annoyingly loving.

My son knows me well and gave my hand a kiss before placing it softly, but with finality, on my own lap.

What a wonderful way to complete our spring break!

Driving back to our house, barely more than a mile away from my brother's apartment, I thought about how nicely the day had unfolded itself.

I woke up, brewed and sipped coffee, and called my brother. "Hey, Rye. I don't know if we're going to be able to go to the movies in Corsicana today."

"Bummer," he offered, somewhat unconvincingly. I easily picked up on his true want. Life in a small town can get a little bit boring, but going to the bigger towns generally means spending money on doing something. Not because you want to do the thing so much as because you want to feel fresh and new.

Rye spends a lot of his time trying to feel like he's doing something interesting. He's not very good (yet!) at seeing adventure when it isn't wearing bells and whistles.

So I invited him to come over for a backyard fire, hot dog and smores provided by me. That tickled our adventure bone a little.

We spent the evening laughing and reminiscing. "Remember driving all over Canada and the US? Performing in prisons? Remember Disney World? Or the time we took the train from Toronto to Winnipeg?" Planning and imagining. "I like to picture myself traveling for work. I'm going to take myself on a vacation to another country. I don't know how yet, but I know one day Shay will own some kind of dragon."  

"Man, we do a lot of really cool thigs," we could both be heard saying often into the night. Sometimes we said it under our breath with wonder, and sometimes we declared it to the world like a promise.

We gave the adventure of being alive bells and whistles last night!

I tell my brother often how lucky I am to have him. How much value I get from spending time with him, particularly when he's willing to let conversation get a little bit farther than only about him.

Last night I felt that gratitude and connection strongly again. But instead of bringing it up, instead of thanking him like it was a great favor, I allowed it to just be. I chose, with purpose, to honor it by taking it for granted.

I think that was the right choice.

Giving gratitude is a great gift; for the giver and the receiver.

But holding back an attempt at giving it the right words in order to allow the gratitude to stand for itself can be a gift, too.

My brother and I enjoyed the gift of gratitude in a new way last night. Without me trampling all over it with words and explanations.

It was a wonderful adventure! 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)