What a difference a day can make! We have all experienced how true that statement can be. We can wake up to dramatic differences in the weather, in how we feel, in our mood, in the news headlines – so many changes in a short time. It’s certainly true with Aaron, as I’ve pointed out before. How can he be so happy one day, and the next day be a terrible grouch? He went from being so cheerful yesterday to being a real meanie today. It’s as if he’s stuck in perpetual adolescence! That thought is sobering, to say the least.
It’s the same old song and I’ve totally lost count of which verse we’re on. He didn’t want to get off the computer………..he said he was tired…………that he didn’t sleep well………….that no one cares……………that he didn’t want to go to Wal-Mart with Paradigm today……………..that Mom, in particular, doesn’t care. So I matter-of-factly told him that I had poured his coffee, that his wallet was ready with extra money for Wal-Mart, and generally tried to encourage him with as few words as possible. Too many words only further aggravate him. And the more he is aggravated, the more my words may change from being kind and patient to being every bit as grouchy as Aaron is being. It’s hard to win in this situation, though…………because while too many words aggravate him, too much silence from me only confirms to him that I don’t care, and off we go down that path again.
It’s quite a balancing act and I never exactly know where we will land. I can read Aaron very well, but his frustrations are sometimes erratic………..even to Aaron. Oh, how I wish he could sit down, look me in the eye, and describe how he’s feeling and why! Just have a good old heart-to-heart with Mom. That’s unrealistic, though, for me to expect that from Aaron. I have to reach into his heart without any expectation that he will do likewise with me. Try to understand, try to resolve, try to defuse, and try not to enable bad behavior. I don’t feel wise enough for this job some days! Am I doing all I can? Am I helping or hurting? Could I have done things way in the past that would have made today not happen? But those are defeating thoughts, surely not from God. I can only capture this moment and ask God for wisdom……….and a slow, deliberate tongue that doesn’t speak what I am sometimes thinking. Do I always succeed? Absolutely not! But the only moment that I have to try to do right is this very moment and so this moment is what I concentrate on now.
I went to the kitchen and without saying a word, I got out the celery and peanut butter. Aaron watched closely while pretending not to care. Yet I could see that he was calming down, relaxing, talking softer………….all the while wondering what Mom was doing. I washed the celery pieces and spread the peanut butter on each one, and then set it on the table for Aaron to eat. He didn’t thank me verbally, but I know he thanked me deep inside that amazing brain of his. I left him to his happy crunching as I finished getting ready, and later we got into the van for our drive to meet Cody, his Paradigm day group staff. Aaron was mostly quiet, but as we waited for Cody to come, Aaron noticed my new key chain…………..a cute little sparkly shoe. Aaron notices so many little details that most of us miss. Does he notice how much we care? Does he relate celery and peanut butter to my love for him? I don’t really know. He will probably never be able to tell me that. But I know and God knows, and that’s what matters the most.
On the way home, I passed a big semi-truck full of huge rolls of sod. Two cars were behind this truck as he drove very slowly down the road. The second car was easing out, seeing if he could pass, in a hurry to get around this impediment that was slowing down his progress. But the car quickly changed his mind and jerked back into his lane as he saw that coming toward him was another huge truck. He would have been in worse shape if he had passed the truck that was slowing him down. Better to just be patient and take his time, arriving safely at his destination. I am sometimes like that car, wanting to hurry around Aaron’s behaviors and not deal with him and how his attitudes can change my day and alter my mood…………..not for the better. Yet I have a choice to make. I can slow down and deal with the issues as best I know how at the moment, allowing God to give me His grace to handle the frustrations that Aaron brings. We stand a far better chance at arriving at the place that we both really want to be, a place of love and understanding. Or I can barrel around the trying moment, attempting to hurry through it out of sheer impatience and anger…………..but if I do that, I know I’ll have a head-on encounter with a greater trouble. I’ll damage Aaron and I’ll be acting in sin, which will also damage me and hurt my relationship with God.
I wish I could say that I have always done that…………..slowed down and reacted wisely. No, I surely haven’t done either, more times than I care to say. For every meltdown that Aaron has, I have the temptation to be angry…………..and I sometimes am just that. But the impact of that anger is more hurtful than just staying behind the situation and driving slowly and choosing my words wisely. The moment will pass…………..it always does……………and Aaron moves quickly on to the next conversation and the next interest and the next meal………whatever………..and I ride along with him, praying to arrive safely at the end of the day – with one of his side way hugs and a quick good-night and one last conversation about whether it will rain tonight.
After all, there are some things that NEVER change!