I'll start with my mom, international mental health therapist Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD. It makes the most sense to start with her, because all of the fantastic in our lives did. Undiagnosed and autistic, my mom was drawn to adopting a bevy of challenged children. All together there were eight of us kids--I am the oldest--six adopted and four on the autism spectrum. Only one of my brothers still retains that label and remains dependent. My mom calls Dar her slow moving miracle. And I tell ya... we do see miracles with him consistently! It takes a very long time for him, but is always worth the work and wait!
All four of my brothers (who all grew up with labels and supposed limitations) have helped my mom spread the word about the power of acceptance, believing in, and persistently trying, by agreeing to share their stories in video format on YouTube. For your viewing pleasure, I'll share one here!!
I encourage you to check out my moms websites. This one is filled with fun, our story, music videos, interesting insights and beautiful pics: www.lynettelouise.com
And this one is filled to bursting with autism, neurofeedback and play information. If you have a moment be sure to peek at the testimonials. I love my mom so much, and get such a huge kick out of reading the huge numbers of others who have been blessed by her unique style and wisdom as well!! www.brainbody.net
I can't help but feel excited to share this music video here as well. It's about autism, and my brother, mom and son are in it! Oh ya. And some celebrities.
My Amazing Brothers!!!
As I mentioned, all four of my brothers were adopted. They were little and cute and absolutely crazy! Well... they were muti-diagnosed and labeled all kinds of things, having come from much abuse, malnutrition, and more, it's not surprising. Fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, mental retardation, and more. My mom, however, always saw adorable boys with hard lives and challenged brains. And she always believed in believing in them, teaching with kindness, and raising the bar.
Dar: Terrifically sarcastic, barely verbal but always trying. His patience and love for family unequaled.
Cash: Quiet and strong, willing to work and believe in everything he wants. His silly side is one of his favorites!
Chance: Brave and supportive, proving nay-sayers (including himself) wrong by becoming what they said (and he worried) he could never be.
Rye: Insightful and trusting, always hoping to discover a scheme that will use his skills and make him rich!
I owe my brothers so much, because while my mom believed, I questioned. Everyone said they were a lost cause and could never learn. I'm not proud to admit, I often chose to believe everyone. But my mom and my brothers proved over and over and over that, not only was everyone wrong, but everyone was making a dangerous and cruel choice by opting to see anyone in such light!
All four of my brothers are great friends of mine now. Three of them live independently, and one still lives with mom. But none are a lost cause, and I owe so much of my happiness and value to them. I wrote a bit more about it HERE.
|From Left to Right: Back Row: Jady, Brandessa, Tsara, Khiya, Lynette|
Front Row: Dar, Cash, Chance, Rye
I have four sons. They are all teenagers now, ages 13, 15, 17 and 19. They are amazing men who I adore and am so totally impressed with daily. Goodness knows I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time as a mom, so I've gotta give them lots of kudos!!!!
My two youngest sons had many symptoms of autism when they were younger. They still have some today. However, neither one was ever diagnosed, and I still sometimes wonder if my fifteen year old should be. As of yet, though, I just don't see how it would benefit him. For a bit more on my boys and their beautiful autism, have a peek at this: http://www.opednews.com/Diary/My-Boys-and-their-Beautifu-by-Tsara-Shelton-110601-212.html
I won't spend too much time chatting about my boys here since pretty much every post I publish will be about them, but suffice it to say that it is because of them that I have chosen to grow as a person and become an advocate for humanity. It is because of them that I have taken time in the silence to hear my thoughts clearly, so that I could truly know myself and my own direction and value. It is because of them; because I want it for them and expect it of them.
My children have saved me from a life of trying to impress. Fearing judgment. Resisting change. Giving up on finding comfort with myself. They have given me a most beautiful reason to engage with the world. Share ideas. Learn from others while trusting myself.
Oh, you lucky reader you! I just decided to share this video of my fifteen year old son dancing!
Oooohhhh.... I know! One more video! I love this one because it's a great example of what fun we have together as a family. I don't like it because of my cellulite messy house and unfortunate singing voice. But my youngest son is so awesome, so I still like to share! Enjoy!
Okay, let's chat about my sister.
So, my sister (who is three years younger than me) is my best friend. With her I always feel comfortable and free to explore anything I am, without fear or embarrassment Though... perhaps she sometimes wishes I wouldn't! She loves my children, her nephews, with a passion that is different than my own, but equally infectious. Her daughters--and she has four--are blessed with a mom who explores their interests with curious intention and listens with an open mind. Of course, both my sister and I did learn momming from the best!!
My sister hires me and my sons often as models, production assistants and glorified babysitters. Offering us opportunities and connections.... and money! In turn I do my best to earn that kindness. We are a good team. We are lucky!
INTERESTING ASIDE: I have four sons and my sister has four daughters. We grew up in a home with eight kids: four girls and four boys. That little gift from the universe has given us much happiness!!
And now, my gift to you. This video of my sensational sister and two of my lovely nieces singing together. I promise you, it's worth a listen!!
And now, a bit about my fabulous husband.
We have been happily married for thirteen years. When we met I was the single mom of three boys, and after we married we had our fourth.
We are the most drastically different two people who have ever loved so much! He is black and I am white. He is twenty-three years older than me. He has lived his entire life in small town Texas while I've lived all over Canada and the US... embracing the nomad in me. I love travel and he fears it. I love people and he worries that they are going to take advantage. I want to give our children freedom (though it's frightening!) and he wants to hold them tight to keep them safe.
All of these differences were evident on the day we met. I wrote a fun post all about that day here:
In the end, we are the greatest combo of mom and dad that I could have ever hoped for our children!
|The men I love the most!|
My hubby and our boys!
|My hubby and me!|
Oh ya, and in marrying him I got myself four more kids. Two of my step-daughters are older than me. My step-son is nearly my age and my fourth and youngest step-daughter is five years older than our oldest son.
Basically, what I'm saying, is we are an eclectic group to be sure!!! And there is so much more!! While you read my posts you will learn that there is no end to the diversity and fun our family represents!
And it truly is this diversity, and our comfort and passion with it, that is why we are as happy as we are!
Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)