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Day 14: The Ability to Say, “No”

Day 14 of why I’m thankful for autism:  It has given me the gift of the guilt-free “No”.  (Hence, the lack of Day 12 and Day 13.)

For the longest time, I thought I had to answer every call for volunteers, serve on every committee, and be in the thick of everything going on in and around our family.  I’ve come to learn that is not necessarily the best method of operation for me.  I go strong, very strong, for an extended period of time, but then I reach a point when I need rest and my body makes no bones about reminding me of this.  It enters self-preservation mode and I begin to find myself asleep on the couch or the chair, when the last thing I can clearly remember is sitting at my desk across the room working diligently.  I get confused, about everything and I cry about nothing, or maybe everything.  I have learned to listen to my body over the years, but especially since I’ve known autism.  Early on, I really just thought perhaps I was a whole lot older than I realized because doggone it, parenting the big three sure wasn’t anything like it was with Ben.  That’s not to say it’s better or worse, easier or harder, just different.  Each and every child is unique in his or her own way, but those on the spectrum take extra time, extra attention, extra understanding, extra patience, extra everything you’ve got to give them.  And it is so worth it, every extra you could imagine and then some.  It is truly one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever known, but I know I have to take care of me so that I can take care of Ben.  Part of that has been coming to grips with the fact that every single organization and committee does not need me.  They will do just fine with others like me, others who are willing, but also able to commit to the needs and missions of the group.  Another part is realizing that sometimes we just have to say, “No” even when we want to say, “Yes”.  Sometimes we have to pass on good things to protect and preserve something even better.  Thank you, Autism, for helping me to realize just how right a dear friend was when he told me, “Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just say, ‘no’ and stay home, relax, and get some sleep.”

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