4. Don't Judge: Kate likes every single person she meets. She does not care what you are wearing or what you do. She does not care if you have money or not. She does not care if you have a disability or if you've made mistakes. She is happy to be in your company. She routinely greets strangers with a big "Hi" as we walk around town. She is an equal opportunity lover of people. Lesson four: You should be too.
3. Be Sincere: Kate never lies. She never pretends to be something she is not. One of the myths of autism is that they cannot tell a lie and I do not want to perpetuate that myth with this lesson but at the moment she is as authentic as they come. For example, you can say: "Kate, did you put your banana between the couch cushions?" and you will get a "Yes, Mama." and a huge smile. You will always know where you stand with Kate. Lesson three: Be genuine to yourself and others.
2. Give it Your All: Kate doesn't hold back. No matter the situation she gives all of her energy and effort to what she is doing. To Kate, there is nothing she cannot do. She can tackle the gymnastic equipment without trepidation. She can (try to) jump off the boat and go for a swim (while it is moving!) She is fearless (which can be stressful for us, but a quality we understand to be freeing). Lesson two: Don't be afraid to go all out, whatever the task.
1. Live in the Moment: Kate does not regret yesterday or worry about tomorrow. She lives for today. She does not hold a grudge or dwell on the past. She does not fret about what will happen in the future. She is present in the moment. She does not live in her 'head' like some of us can get caught up doing. Lesson one: enjoy the moment you are in. Be present and be mindful.