Thursday, November 16, 2017

Autism Answer: One Step Removed

My boys

Another one of my sons is getting married.

My oldest son is going to have another baby.

My youngest son is finishing up his last year in high school, applying to colleges and deciding on the order of his future.

Another of my sons is focussed on finding work while actively being an amazing, babysitting, video making uncle.
My oldest son with is wife and daughter

My husband and I are often snuggled in bed talking about and smiling about and reminiscing about these fabulous sons of ours.

Rarely, though, are we able to do things for them.  

It feels strange, and new, and important, and discombobulating. Who are we now? My husband is retired. I'm thinking about stories. We're physically far away from most of our loved ones.

When the boys were younger they talked often with me about my role. We have always lived life right on the poverty line, sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other but always within view. I would ask them if they liked having me so available, or if they would rather I work, get a paycheck, buy them shoes. Always, without hesitation, they agreed that it was more like a rich life having me around than having new shoes. So, I was available. I was a "yes" mom. Can my friend come over? Yes! Can we go to the park? Yes! Want to watch this movie with me? Yes! Can you read a chapter of this book with me? Yes, yes, yes!

Although I could rarely say yes to requests for THINGS, I could almost always say yes to requests for ME, my time.

Me with my second youngest son at the theatre
But my sons are older, they are men. My baby boy is seventeen and my oldest son will be twenty-four in a month. A married man with a daughter and another child on the way. All of my sons are living their lives and creating their homes and setting up shop for their futures.

I am still readily available to be a yes mom, but they don't really have requests for me anymore. Sure, they love me and have updates to share. They call me (EDIT: they answer or return my calls) with news and ideas to share, asking - always - that I share it all with their dad. (My husband is chronically uncomfortable with social calls or being on the spot.) They incorporate me and my husband in their lives and I doubt they even feel like our roles are much different from in their childhood.
My youngest son and my husband

But I feel it. I feel it big time!

This is not at all a sad thing. I'm beginning to truly, truly love being one step removed. I've worked hard and done a wonderful job of loving my sons. Sure, I made types of mistakes that I can barely understand, knowing how badly I wanted to be an amazing mom. But, still, I chose even more loving actions and words that I can be proud of. And, I am!

So my husband and I get to snuggle and know we are still a part of everything that happens next. We are more than part of it, we are a foundation things are being built on. And we, ourselves, exist on the foundation of our people.

I am still a yes mom and am learning what that looks like now that I'm one step removed. It's easier, more fun, and less frightening. Although, of course, it is also legitimately necessary and important.

My husband and I have earned this role of one step removed and are eager to take it on with pride and passion.

I love that!
My second oldest son with his fiance

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