Thursday, September 8, 2016

Autism Answer: Never Stop Never Stopping (aka My Brother Got Married)

My mom sat in my youngest brother's apartment, surrounded by boxes and the musty smelling papers we had just carried out of her storage unit. This alone, according to many of the papers, should be impossible. According to adoption papers, school reports, and various other paperwork professionals had composed over the years, my brothers had no such future - with their own apartments and ability to invite mom over for the night - available to them. 

Of course, there were also papers surrounding my mom that insisted this future was indeed possible, even probable. All of them written by mom herself. 

I was exhausted and about to say goodbye, craving my bed but also hesitant to leave this moment of memory surfing behind. "I'd better get home," I explained for the benefit of explaining, "we've got a long drive to Vermont. We wouldn't want to be late for Chance's wedding." 

My mom looked up from her pile of pictures past and smiled at me from a time far away. "Never stop never stopping," she quoted. Her newest favorite line from the fun movie Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping matches her nature in an uncanny and perfect way. It is her ability to never stop never stopping that helped us get to this point, where everything she has said and promised and believed in is reality. 

Me and my brother on the night before his wedding. My youngest son is peeking over my shoulder.

Never stop never stopping is why we were planning a trip to my brother's wedding. My brother, who is a sergeant and, now, a husband. My brother, who offered to pick people up from the airport and feed anyone who needed feeding and do whatever it took to be sure we had comfortable fun. My brother, who has always imagined himself as a husband and important army guy, and who was encouraged by my unrealistic mother to aim his angry ways in a direction that might shift him from anger to passion. My unrealistic mother and my challenged brother worked together to make it real. Years and years and years my mom never stopped never stopping, and insisted he see his worth and use his intensity in healthy ways. And for years and years and years my brother never stopped never stopping, stuck in his own self he continued to find ways to make his challenges less challenging and to target his passion carefully and with purpose. 

Surrounding my mom like a fog our past was made present, and I could feel the impressive power behind never stopping. During our younger years my mom had no proof that it would work. Everyone told her that my brothers were beyond such possibilities and she had no real way to prove them wrong. What she did have, and what she did rely on, was the knowledge that giving in and giving up because possibilities might not be possible was not a better way. Better to never stop never stopping in the direction of a dream than to never stop never stopping in a dark tunnel with few desired goals. 

My brother, the one getting married, knew what he wanted and who he wanted to be; so, my mom chose to believe in him. Sure, it seemed far fetched and unrealistic. Sure, people rolled their eyes and clucked their tongues. But they were doing that anyway.

My sister and my brother before the wedding ceremony.

So I kissed my mom and left her there on my little brother's couch, the little brother who was supposed to end up unable to take care of himself. The little brother who had instead never stopped never stopping and bought his own plane ticket to our brother's wedding and was excited about the upcoming adventure. The little brother who told me: "You know what I noticed? I'm not at all jealous that Chance is getting married. I'm just happy for him." 

My mom, my brother, and my new sister in law!

Heading back to my own home and leaving mom and my brother behind in the mess of paperwork and memories, I reminded myself to never stop never stopping. No matter what we want in life, no matter what our kids and spouses want in life, it's truly that easy to make it happen. And that hard. And that chaotic. And that simple. 

My brother is a married man with a beautiful wife and the job of his dreams. It was unrealistic until it was real. 

Mr. and Mrs. Shelton

Go ahead and have unrealistic goals, friends! Encourage your loved ones to do the same!

Have fun with it,
and never stop never stopping!

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


*Have a peek at this video my brother and my mom put together. He talks candidly about some of his challenges and the value of never stopping. Oh, ya, and he uses a lot of profanity. So.... language warning!