Saturday, January 2, 2016

Autism Answer: We Choose Each Other

My son when he was still dealing with Irlen, sensory issues, and seizures.

My nineteen year old son just phoned me here in Texas from his bed in California. The sound of sleep was heavy on his words and, while I sipped my first cup of coffee for the day, it made me feel closer to him. 

He was calling so early because he had woke from a bad dream and wanted to talk it out with me; shed that feeling and start the day fresh. 

We chatted, we considered the dream, we chatted longer and made giggle worthy jokes. Not quite awake enough or in the right head space for guffaws or boisterous laughter, we giggled, and he felt ready to start the day fresh. He chose me and I was able to help.

When my son was small, dealing with Irlen Sydrome and seizures and sensory issues, often dealing with it by being startlingly rude and self-centered, I loved him and believed in him and looked consistently for the paths he could take to grow happier and healthier in order to point out those paths to him. I never believed I could make him healthy or happy, but I always knew that I could help him find his best path toward it.

You know what?
I believe he has.
I believe he has found those paths. 

And I love that it includes phoning me when he's struggling with feelings. Good and bad. 

Let's believe in all of our loved ones, friends! No matter what their obstacles are, they do have the ability to overcome or re-purpose them. As my sons grow older and move farther away I see that truth consistently. 

And I'm given an unexpected gift. One that is so important to me. They don't need me anymore, but they choose me. Often!

We choose each other! 

If I spent too much time trying to be the one who makes them happy or makes them healthy or makes them, well, anything, we wouldn't have the space to choose each other and to grow authentically. I would have been far too busy trying "fix" their lives or brains or issues and they would have been far too busy pushing away from me or thinking they needed me. 

It was one of the hardest things I learned when my sons were small, that I can't get inside their heads and make them love themselves and learn skills and be happy. But once I accepted it and took on the role of curious guide, our lives--though still challenging and with moments of monumental emotional pain--became clearly our own. 

And we choose each other. Not in every moment, not for every need, but for the ones where we have built a story that includes each other. 

While my son told me his dream we both felt surrounded by the past and teased by potential futures. We both felt the fear that comes with change and the uncertainty that comes with caring about people so so much. We didn't have to say many words because we've lived this story together his whole life. I listened entirely, knowing that his dreamland is his own--a place where he figures stuff out and it's unrelated to me, even though I will forever play a role. 

Let's remember to build stories that include each other without thinking we have the responsibility of deciding what kind of story a loved one should live. When we let go and become curious guides, they will always surprise us. 

And sometimes, they'll also choose us! 

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

Me and my son (Tyran) now!