A trait of Asperger’s that rears its head in various ways is the tendency to be very egocentric. Aaron often thinks that the world revolves around him. I can have a cold or a headache, be laying on the couch, and all Aaron cares about is what he will eat for supper if I can’t cook. Yet he shows more empathy now than he ever used to. My blog back in the winter, The Hug, was a story of how he hugged me one night when I had a fever. It was so unexpected and so sweet that it made me cry. But I waited until he wouldn’t see me – he doesn’t handle other’s tears well, either.
Saturday evening after supper, as we cleaned the kitchen, I cut my finger on a can lid. It really hurt and bled like crazy, but Aaron seemed totally unaffected by it. Yesterday the finger started throbbing, swelling, and turning very red. I ended up going to a nearby ER to have it checked, get a tetanus shot, some antibiotic meds and salve, and hopefully knock out the infection.
Yesterday was also a bad day with Aaron. He didn’t want to go to Paradigm and we had some words in the morning. He ended up staying home, but I didn’t say much to him all day. I tried to just avoid him, and he knew why. Sometimes he has such a hard time controlling his emotions, but I was having a hard day, too – and his actions didn’t help my emotional state at all. He doesn’t like to see me withdrawn and quiet, but doesn’t know how to repair the results of his actions. It’s really a stretch to think of him sitting down and saying he’s sorry, and then explaining how he’s feeling. He gets close sometimes but not in the way that the rest of us can.
When I returned home from the ER last night, Gary had just finished mowing the yard. I had dropped my prescriptions off on the way home, so he drove back down to the pharmacy to pick them up for me. Then he helped finish up supper, clean the kitchen afterwards, wash the dishes that didn’t go in the dishwasher, etc. It was all so sweet of him.
But what touched me the most during that time was what Aaron did. Aaron loves band aids, and because he always picks on his fingers he ends up slapping on a band aid here and a band aid there. He takes our band aids out of the bathroom to keep them in his room, and because it’s a losing battle to try to keep him from doing that, I just buy him his own box. While we were cleaning the kitchen, Aaron ran up to his room and then thumped loudly back downstairs.
He lumbered into the kitchen, held out a medium sized little band aid and said, “Here, Mom. I got you a band aid. It’s my last one but I got it for you to put on your finger.” I almost told him no, that he could keep his last band aid, that I would get one from our bathroom……………but then I realized what had just happened. Aaron cared about my finger! And he was also reaching out to me, trying to repair our fractured relationship. He was very pleased with what he had done. How callous it would have been for me to reject that little band aid! It would have been a rejection of Aaron and of his show of love and his attempt at reconciliation.
So I smiled at him, took the band aid, thanked him, and gave him a pat on his back as he quickly turned to thump back up the stairs to his room and his computer game. I waited until bedtime, and the last thing I did before I got into bed was to put on my salve and gently wrap the little band aid around my finger. I felt better already, but it was a sweet feeling in my heart. A rare tenderness wrapped around my finger and into my heart.