Thursday, January 29, 2015

Autism Answer: The Post-It Note Surprise

A few years ago I woke up one morning to see yellow post-it notes stuck here and there in our kitchen. On the dishes, on the cupboards, on the microwave, in the microwave, on the kitchen table, on my coffee maker. Each note was adorned simply with a different time. "3:13AM" "3:34AM" "3:44AM" "4:00AM" and so on.

I looked sleepily at my second youngest son, who was still awake and cleaning his roller-blades. Beside him was a yellow post-it pad.

"What's all this?" I asked, smiling and heading toward my coffee maker. Peeking curiously at the post-it note there I read "3:01AM".


"Oh, I cleaned all night, and left a record of what time it was when I finished cleaning each thing."

I turned away from my coffee maker with surprising ease and headed straight to my always-awake-all-night son. Sitting beside him I wordlessly took his hands from their roller-blade cleaning task, and wrapped him cozily in my arms. 

I spent the next few days telling family, friends, and strangers the lovely story. I spent the next few years craftily making callbacks and engaging with my kids in playful banter about the post-it note surprise.

Most sleepless nights my son would go through closets and drawers, making a creative mess. Or build a VHS tower of movies he wanted to watch, and then watch them all; one after the other after the other. Either way, most mornings I'd wake up to strange messes and a slightly cranky sleepless kid.

But my strongest and longest lasting wake-up memory is the post-it note surprise.

This reminds me that it's worth it, every time, to celebrate and enjoy and re-live those moments. The things we focus on most, the things we tell our family, friends, and strangers about most, are the things that live the longest and the loudest in our memory.

So, be an intentional storyteller! It's your life, and you have the power to create something pretty fantastical!!

Go ahead, stick that on a post-it note!
tee hee!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)