I just finished reading Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up by Tsara Shelton. This book is not like most of the other books we write about but Tsara Shelton’s collection of stories will give you lots to think about. This author is my daughter’s age but she seems to be wise beyond her years. Her life experiences are are so different than anything I can ever imagine. However Tsara explains it beautifully when she wrote, “Remember, it takes all kinds of personalities to make up a functional and exciting world! Just because we don’t understand one doesn’t make it wrong or bad, just different.”
In 2013 we reviewed the books Miracles Are Made: A Real Life Guide to Autism by Lynette Louise aka THE BRAIN BROAD and Lynette Louise’s rhyming picture book starring a girl with disabilities – The WingMaker. Lynette Louise is the single mother of eight now grown children. Six of her kids were adopted, four boys came from abused homes, and four of the adopted six came with a myriad of challenges, including being on the spectrum of autism.
Tsara’s mother is Lynette Louise and she hired Tsara as her PR person, writing emails, articles and press releases. Tsara had the role of go-between for her mom and Special Needs Book Review when we wrote about Lynette Louise’s books and interviewed Lynette Louise twice. When we learned of Tsara’s book, Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself, we were looking forward to reading it.
Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself is not a special needs parenting book but Tsara writes about growing up with family members on the autism spectrum and raising her four children. As the oldest of eight children, she discusses in detail her childhood in Toronto, Ontario, and how she learned to live thanks to her brothers and her mother–all on the autism spectrum. One of her stories is titled “My Autistic Brothers Taught Me Empathy”.
In a post about her boys she says, “My two youngest son’s are still colored with autism. It is a beautiful part of their personalities and a gift that has been a catalyst for learning and laughing in our family. A gift that we are going to continue to unwrap together.”
Pregnant at 18, her children have always been her everything. She writes, “My husband is black, and I am white. When we met I was a single mother with three kids, two of whom were half Arabic and one of whom was the poster child for Caucasians. Together my husband and I have had a child adding another color to the mix. We really look more like an ad for diversity than a typical family.”
I am a Canadian white woman with a tree hugging granola crunching soul, married to an older black man who has never gone camping and thinks orange soda is healthy.
My husband wants them (kids) to say no to peer pressure. I want them to say no to self-doubt and yes to their hearts.”
If you want to learn more about the life and thoughts of Tsara Slelton read Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up and follow her blog and web site. In a recent blog post written while on vacation with her grown boys Tsara Shelton wrote: “I don’t care how old you are, how happy you are, how healthy you are, what color you are, what size you are, what religion you are, what political party you’re a fan of, we ALL like to be wanted and loved.It’s powerful to remember that!”
Amazon.com has, “Written from a life lived on the edge of society, Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself, by author Tsara Shelton, offers an insightful and powerfully uplifting collection of ideas and stories. She shares writings on a range of subjects spanning several stages of her life with topics including women’s issues, marriage, prejudice, abuse, mixed-race relationships, equality, culture, and more. Shelton–a mother of four–opens up about the difficult elements in her past, but offers a positive, realistic perspective on those events…”
Excerpt from Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up
Page 114 WHAT HE ’S GIVEN ME , AND WHAT I STRIVE TO GIVE HIM
Before Jory was born, I dreamed with all my soul of being a mother. Never was there a doubt in my mind that I would be good at it, that I was born for it! I’ve known from an early age that what I wanted more than anything was to be a grown-up, a writer, and a mom with happy dirty barefooted kids. In all honesty, I never imagined anything else for myself. This dream fit me perfect and always invited comfort.
I knew I would be a great mother because I was gifted with one of my own. I was certain that not only had I learned from the best, but that I would be even better! After all, I wasn’t a certified weirdo like my own mother, nor would I be expected to do it all on my own, as she had been. So on December 17, 1993, after the pain and the vom- iting and the pushing and the tearing and the fear that I wouldn’t be able to do it, I held my firstborn son in my arms. I was immediately amazed and in love. And then quickly I was shocked and confused to feel my first—of what would become many!—terrorizing moments of mommy fear. This tiny little boy with wrinkly skin and black hair looked like a stranger. I was comfortable and proud to hold him and sing while he cried, but utterly confused and at a loss when my love didn’t comfort him. There was not a moment when I worried that I didn’t love him, but there were many, many moments when I worried and wondered if that was enough.
Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself – Book Trailer
About the Author
Tsara Shelton is a writer of musings, sipper of coffee, and addict of anything story. Having learned life exploring the edges of society, through storytelling she finds her footing in the world—as a mom, wife, daughter, and citizen. Shelton, her husband, and their four children live in both Texas and California.
Now that her sons are all mostly adults, and her husband has retired, she plans to spend her days writing, reading, writing, phoning her boys, reading, listening, dancing, and writing. Books, songs, screenplays, articles, blog posts, that’s where you’ll find her. In truth, that’s often where she finds herself.