I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…………life with Aaron isn’t always a walk in the park. He truly is as funny and perceptive and delightful as I portray him in the stories I tell. Yet there is also a flip side to Aaron. I’ve mentioned that fact in the past, several times. As I try to preserve Aaron’s dignity and respect yet share our real life with an adult child with Asperger’s Syndrome, I realize that I need to be truthful but wise in what I share in this regard. In addition, I don’t want to appear whiny or complaining.
Life for any of us is very real and raw at times. Usually we want to put on our happy face for the world to see, even when our lives are tiring or distressing. My happy face was rapidly disappearing this morning, believe me! Sometimes I really don’t know what sets Aaron on the path of anger, but he sure was trotting unhappily along that path as I was urging him to get his day started.
Here is the quote again from the article Understanding the Student with Asperger’s Syndrome: Guidelines for Teachers, written by Karen Williams. “Rage reactions/temper outbursts are common in response to stress/frustration. Children (or adults! – my words) with AS rarely seem relaxed and are easily overwhelmed when things are not as their rigid views dictate they should be. Interacting with people and coping with the ordinary demands of everyday life take continual Herculean effort.”
I wanted to use some Herculean effort this morning to toss Aaron through the window. Is that honest enough? All moms know that yo-yo pattern of good moments/bad moments which can completely overwhelm our reason and our ability to cope. With Aaron it’s very complicated because he often has such a hard time expressing to me just what it is that stressed him to the point of becoming enraged. I knew today that he was struggling to get off the computer; didn’t want to shower; then said he didn’t want to go bowling today, etc., etc.
Deep breathing on my part, talking gently to him with an even tone, watching the John Carter movie trailer, offering him pizza for breakfast………none of it was working very well to defuse his rising anger. His comments about not wanting to bowl and my assurances that he didn’t have to bowl but could instead do another activity were getting nowhere. He finally slammed his medicine container on the kitchen counter and pills flew everywhere. When Aaron is in a rage like this, he almost always wants to break something. My presence is important in order to keep that from happening, but my presence is often an irritant to him. This was the moment that I wanted that Herculean effort to be used in tossing Aaron out the window, but instead had to use it to remain calm yet firm. There is a balance there, so hard to achieve at times, but crucial if this moment is to pass without more slamming or breaking of things.
I turned away, prayed, had quite a few deep breaths, and turned again to sit at the table and talk to Aaron. We discussed what options he had for this day and I could see that he was emotionally coming down. He was talking with more calmness and reason as he began to eat his pizza, and then helped himself to the three remaining cinnamon bread sticks. Finally he was happy, talking like our typical Aaron, and completely unaware and furthermore, uncaring of the fact that I was emotionally drained.
Aaron was picked up by Cody this morning because I was unsure of the timing of a delivery here at home. I went outside to do something and when I returned, Aaron told me that as he drank his coffee his hand jerked. He dropped his coffee, a large container, and it went all over the family room floor, rug, and ottoman. Cody was in the driveway, so I walked out with Aaron, who was sorry about the coffee but very happy to be going with Cody. He had coffee on his once-clean, beige shirt but he didn’t care. Off they drove, and for the second time this morning I found myself on my knees cleaning up Aaron’s mess. He can’t help his jerks…………they often come after stress or after seizures. Still………….what a mess!
Yet once again God used this son of mine to draw my thoughts to Him. I find myself often serving Aaron in ways that can be frustrating, demeaning, insulting even. As I serve Aaron, though, I know that I am serving God. God has given us this boy, this Aaron who can one minute be making us laugh and the next minute be requiring our extreme patience. There will be consequences for his actions, but there must also be unconditional love. I drug the rug out to the patio to air it out and let it dry, and finished cleaning the family room. Life goes on………..I forgive and though I can’t forget, I once again will welcome Aaron home today and see that his needs are met.
God does the same for me, every single day of my life. He is ever patient and kind to me; He forgives me when I fail and sin; He always loves me; His Son even demeaned Himself to come as a human and die for me. He not only forgives my sin, but He forgets them! He doesn’t hold them over my head, even when I may have consequences for my actions. He welcomes and desires my fellowship, and meets every need I have. How can I do any less for my Aaron?
And there are always reasons to be thankful. I knew this morning that I could be thankful for:
1. The fact that this particular rug doesn’t show stains, including coffee
that have been left on that rug.
3. That it’s a warm day, perfect for airing out rugs.
4. That now I have a chance, or a reason, to clean under the rug………if I don’t see it, I don’t
5. That Aaron is with his day group and I have some breathing room…………and that I did NOT
throw him out of the window.
It is a good thing that we don’t have a big bay or picture window, though…………talk about tempting!