Friday, May 31, 2013

Autism Answer: The Dead Cow

One of my sons had a very emotional and sad moment last night. We were driving home when he asked me if it was okay for him to cry. I gave him comfortable permission and drove for a while to the sound of his hurt.

As we neared the house I got his attention by asking,"Hey, hon. You know that dead cow we're about to pass on the side of the road?"

He sniffled a bit, "Ya. So."

"Well, I have an analogy for you. Do you want to hear it?"


"Kay. Remember how the dead cow was so stinky and gross, and we had to roll up our windows and pass it while holding our breath and trying not to look because it made us uncomfortable to see death and vultures? And then after a few days we could still smell it a bit, but we became more interested in looking and talking about what we thought was happening and how long we thought it would take for the earth and other critters to be nourished? And then the smell was gone but the cow was still partially there, so we would get excited to see how much was left and we wondered if the vultures were taking bits and pieces home to their babies? And now we almost forget to look because it's been a while, but we still know and learned and it's become something that we all experienced, but now we're more interested in other things?"

"Yes." My son admitted quietly. His head was still buried in his hoodie, but he had stopped crying and was really listening.

"Well," I explained, "That's kind of like the situation you're in right now with your friends. What happened was hard for everyone, it was an event that everyone felt uncomfortable with and their feelings got stirred up and everyone did things before figuring out even what they wanted to do. And now, it's something that you will all learn from and can choose to discover answers that feel nourishing and will help you know what to do in similar situations down the road. And, like the dead cow, it's not bad or good--just part of life. Soon you won't really even remember it, and neither will your friends. But it will always have happened and always offer lessons and insights. Important ones, even. Does that make sense?"

"Ya, I get it."

My son sat alone in the van for thirty minutes after we got home. I heard him crying and talking to himself. Eventually he came inside and told me,"Mom. I figured out my lesson. When I have kids, I'm going to always ask them if they are comfortable going somewhere, instead of telling them if they should be comfortable or not. Like you do. I'm going to take care of my kids like you take care of us. That's my lesson."

I would love to go and thank that dead cow. He has nourished so much and so many, and helped me plant a seed that is already blossoming beautifully!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)

My darling boy.

This piece appears in my book, Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up, along with many more stories of forever discovering who I am while exploring my relationships with the people I'm surrounded by. I invite you to read the book while sipping coffee with the people you're surrounded by! It's totally a coffee and conversation kind of book. Hugs! ~Tsara