Sunday, March 23, 2014

Autism Answer: Top Of The List!

My friend has a step dad that was never good to her. In fact, he was pretty bad. A few days ago he had a stroke and is struggling. He's going to survive, but it may be years before he's like his old self, if ever. 

So, my friend got in the car and drove from her home in Colorado to her mom's home in central Texas, an eighteen hour drive. She has been at her mom's side, who's been mostly at her step-dad's side, since arriving. Today she confided. "I'm worried that I'm a bad person. I'm here for my mom, I'm concerned for my mom, I'm thinking about how I can help my mom. My step-dad isn't top of my list, but he's the one that's sick."

I suggested she let go of her guilt. "Your step-dad will be top of the list for the people that he earned it from. He never earned it from you, but your mom did. Besides, I'm sure your step-dad wants someone to be there for your mom. So, it's something that you're doing for him as well."

She seemed to feel better.

And I admitted quietly to myself that I was there for my friend. She's top of my list. 

As I traveled with my friend, along with her sisters and her mom, to the hospital so that I could babysit the wildly adorable nieces and nephews, leaving my own children and responsibilities to others who love me, I knew I was doing it for my friend. Not for her mom, not for her sisters, and not for her step-dad, though they are in my heart, I was doing it (gladly!) for her. 

One of the gifts autism has given me is a willingness to be honest about my list. I reflect, I pay attention to communication and love that is offered to me in various forms and creative ways, I make sure to share my own love and communication comfortably and with an excitement about going above and beyond when I can, and I let go of the guilt when I know that I can't.

I have been gifted with enough on my plate, so it doesn't seem necessary to offer my time and commitment to those who haven't earned it from me. I trust and believe in their ability to earn it elsewhere.

We can't do everything for everyone, and it's pretty self important of us to think we should! Instead, believe in everyone and know that they are on the top of someone's list, or know that they can be.

Supporting people means going out of our way and exhausting our talents, so don't feel guilty when you only give that kind of support to the folks that are top of your list. 

And forever be open minded and honest about who deserves to be up there! 

People support us in many different ways, don't forget to see it when a friend or loved one exhausts their talents and goes out of their way for you often, even when it's a little harder to see. A gift is a gift, some you must unwrap yourself.

Hugs, smiles, and love!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton

My friend and I.
Hanging out in Colorado!