Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Autism Answer: Home Is Where I AM (aka Story Five)

*My last blog post was a collection of Story Snapshots from my recent trip to California. I love all my snapshot stories, of course, but the one I wrote and called "Story Five" is probably the most useful for others. Although it's about me and my feelings, it's also a Universal and common story, so I decided to publish it as a stand alone. I hope you enjoy the read and recognize some of the feelings! Huge hugs!! ~Tsara

Story Five: 

My first flight to California was seriously delayed and by the time we were able to board I was already late for my connecting flight. Landing in Salt Lake City, Utah, a group of us were given hotel vouchers and cute little overnight packs with toothpaste, toothbrush, razor and much needed (in my case) deodorant. 

At first I tried to find a new flight so that I could get to my sister and her girls sooner. I made phone calls and checked flight availability. In the end, though, I went to the hotel with a lively and fun group of strangers. We bantered and I told a story about getting pulled over for rocking out too hard in my car, insisting that the police officer really just wanted to get a peek at my adorable children. I don't know why I told that story, it's a lie. A friend of mine was pulled over for rocking out too hard in her car, not me. Oh, well. Strangers are a fun way to discover these things about ourselves. I remember thinking that if I said it was my friend someone might challenge the validity of the story and truly, I just wanted the story to be a vehicle to bring up how adorable my sons are, I was uninterested in a discussion of the story's likelihood as a destination. 

Anyway, as we got to the hotel and climbing out of the van I was delighted to discover snow surrounding us! My heart soared and I craved the company of my children. They would love to see the snow! Breathing in the crisp night air I suddenly felt young. My teen years were spent in Toronto, Ontario, walking and busing many winter nights to comedy clubs and coffee shops. Smoking cigarette's and singing to myself. Lordy, that was long ago! 

We headed carefully up the steps into the hotel lobby.

One of my fellow travelers pulled out a guitar and played quietly as we took turns handing in our vouchers and discussing our temporarily stalled travel plans. I thought of how many times I'd stayed with my sister and my nieces in hotels that were as nice as this one. When left to me and my pocket book I'm inclined to sleep in the car or grab a terrifically cheap motel. Not my sister. She and her family have always stayed in venues with coffee shops and fancy lobbies and rooms that offer expensive extras. I missed my sister.

I climbed the stairs to my room and entered, alone and exhausted. The room was too large for only me and so I dropped my sweater and bag and purse in different places, trying to make it look full. There was a fireplace that turned on with a switch. I turned it on and missed my sons again. They would get a kick out of that! I was oddly happy to be alone and missing all of my loved ones. Walking over to the window I peeked out at the snow again and heard it call to me. Leaving my sweater tossed on the back of a chair I picked up the room key and headed out. 

The night air tickled my arms and chilled my lungs. I spun in a circle and looked out at the city, not entirely blanketed in white but boasting a comfortable amount of snow. It looked used to it. 

My soul was excited, young, old, alone, lonely, complete, overjoyed, and lost. In short: deliciously overwhelmed! 

I had a moment of clarity. I missed my family. All of them, everywhere. Everyone is growing wings and choosing their own trajectories, taking flight and choosing different winds. I find it easy to encourage them, after all, I can't wait to learn from the things they do and the places they go! Yet my own home feels like it's getting smaller and insignificant. If home is where the heart is, and my heart is where my family is, where do I go? Where is my home? 

Looking down at my feet in the snow and embracing the deliciously overwhelmed feeling completely, I knew my truth. Home is where I am. I am home when I am authentic and comfortably me. When I embrace my strength and my vulnerability and explore my possibilities. 

Oh, friends!
There's no place like home!
Hugs, smiles, and love!! 
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)