Friday, January 5, 2018

Autism Answer: We Used To Live Here

We Used To Live In This RV

We used to live here. For a little over a year, this RV was our home.

And what a year!!

Life was getting heavy. My four special needs brothers were learning nothing in school except what it feels like to be bullied by teachers and peers. They were also deciding whether or not they wanted to be the kind of men who hide from or become bullies themselves. I was a single mom of two, pregnant with my third, and trying to work enough to pay some bills (while living with my mom and brothers) but not so much that I couldn't be with my children. Also, I was in the USA without a green card or visa or any other legal way to work. My mom was deeply loving all of us while trying to show us how to live healthy, happy, successful lives. 

So, she pulled my brothers out of school and invited me and my small sons to join her on an adventure of epic proportions!

Armed with ideas and a used RV (purchased for us by a friend of mom's as a donation to our cause) we purged our belongings and kept only necessary items (interestingly, that included a trampoline which we shoved into the non-working bathroom) and climbed anxiously and excitedly aboard our new home. Eight of us living in a small RV.

The heaviness of life immediately lifted. 

Mom and I worked together to teach my brothers the important things that school was not teaching. Social skills and academics were learned rather quickly when my brothers were not being pushed around in an education system that made a small amount of sense on paper but was entirely unfit for real people. We drove around the country, financially poor but freedom rich, stopping often to soak in new sights (and work on the problem of affording fuel).  

My mom had also purchased timeshares from a company that had several resorts we were able to visit. It was brilliant! We had a place to go where we always felt welcome and fancy. That's one of the main jobs of hotels and resorts, and so we took clever advantage! A family like ours was unused to feeling welcome or fancy, but after that year we began to believe we deserved it. 

And, of course, we did! 

I have no idea how my mom managed to pull off that year of vacation style living. Sure, we were living a life of minimal expense and simplicity, but it still cost money. Food isn't much available for free (no matter how willing you are to forage) and gas, timeshare fees, camping grounds, etc. had to be figured out. So my mom worked from the road. Offering her services as a freelance comedian, therapist, writer. She made it happen. Still, I don't know exactly how. I do know that my entire family was able to grow healthy, strong, and smarter because of all the things it taught us. 

Not least of all: that my mom found a way to pull it off! 

Always, when my mom feels strongly that a thing is right to do, she does it. Even if it's impossible. Me and all seven of my siblings are freaking lucky because of that.

Of course, it also leaves us little room for excuses. Me and my siblings know that we're lucky there too, having learned to get busy creating answers rather than collecting excuses. But, darn it! Sometimes we just want to use excuses! tee hee!

Eventually, just after my third son was born, my mom found an affordable home, hiding in the woods in the middle-of-nowhere Texas. Again, it was perfect! (Again, I don't know how she pulled it off.) We had freedom, hidden away from neighbors, but we also had a community. A place to practice the skills we'd been learning on the road and where we could grow some roots. 

It worked. My sons (I now have four, and met my husband of seventeen years here!) grew up in this small Texas town. They know it as home. 

But they have also learned much from the life we lived in the RV, even though they don't truly remember it and some of them weren't even born yet. They have learned because I bring to our family the things I learned. 

This was our home in the woods. My sons lived here for most of their childhood. It was wonderful!

Choose your life, friends. Don't be afraid to make seemingly strange choices. Not if they feel right for your family. And remember that a big choice brings big lessons, but doesn't have to last forever, though the lessons will. 

When it doesn't feel right anymore, shift. Change. Do something new. 

And when you feel like making excuses, remember my mom. Remember that she always finds a way to do the impossible if she believes it's right. 

Then, go ahead and blame her for that annoying knowledge that you can do it too.

Then, thank her. 

And do it too! 

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

My mom is now an international brain change expert and renowned speaker. Her international reality series FIX IT IN FIVE with LYNETTE LOUISE aka THE BRAIN BROAD airs on The Autism Channel and can be purchased via Vimeo on Demand. 
Visit my mom's websites:

Lynette Louise (The Brain Broad)
Brain and Body

*Mom sold the RV to a local mechanic and it's still there now. I took the above picture after picking my youngest son up from high school yesterday.