Today has been a stay-at-home day – for both Aaron and me. Aaron slept late and when I went in his room to check on him, he said his stomach hurt. I didn’t hear any seizures but knew that he didn’t feel well. Or did he just go to sleep late last night and so wanted to sleep in? I’m not at all sure about the reason he didn’t feel well, but I made the decision to let him stay home from his day group today. The decision was easier, too, since I was going to be home all day, and so I didn’t have to rearrange my schedule in order to be here with him.
He was delighted to hear that he could stay at home – and with Mom! He did feel the need to confirm over and over to me that he really was a little under the weather. “Mom, I don’t feel well.” And a minute later, as he followed me into my bedroom, “Mom, I don’t feel well.” Down the stairs to the kitchen we went, and once again, “Mom, I don’t feel well.”
Aaron, I know you don’t feel well. You really do get to stay at home today.
Then I told him that he needed to get in the shower first thing. Aaron doesn’t particularly like showers……..or baths………..or any form of working to keep clean. He heard the news that he had to still shower and said, “Are you sure that will be good for me?”
Yes, Aaron, that will definitely be good for you……….and VERY good for me. Now go!
He showered and then drank his freshly brewed coffee, seemingly unaware of how blessed his life is at times like this. I took the opportunity to remind him that he needed to eat something, but his stomach was not yet ready for that. I took the further opportunity, since we were discussing food, to talk to him yet once again about how he needed to eat right and make wise food choices when he is out with his group. “Aaron, what did you buy yesterday with your money when you went to Quik Trip?”
He answered, “I bought a 52 slushie and 4 Hot Tamales.”
Good grief, Aaron! For those of you who may not know, a 52 slushie means a 52 ounce slushie. The biggest……….the largest………..the extra grande………..the one that Aaron always buys.
“Aaron,” I asked. “What other sizes do they have?”
“They have a 52…….a 16………and a 32,” he replied.
So I told him that a 16 would be far better………as would ONE box of Hot Tamales………NOT four!
“Why is a 16 a good size?” he wanted to know.
Because a 16 is plenty, Aaron. A 52 is WAY beyond plenty!
Aaron continued to talk as I worked around the house, following me from room to room. For instance, he informed me of a visitor at Paradigm that used to work there. “Mom, that lady that used to work at Paradigm came for a visit with her baby!” I tried to narrow down just who this person was – pretty sure I know – but to help me out Aaron clarified, “She’s that white-skinned lady!”
I smile. No matter how many times we tell Aaron not to refer to skin color, he invariably comes back to that – or some other – physical feature to describe someone whose name he can’t remember. We worry about him being offensive………a concept he does not grasp nor does he care to.
I went outside to work in the garden and to trim some bushes. I enjoyed the fresh air, the birds, the sound of the wind………….and then, “Mom!” There stood Aaron, wondering where I was and what I was doing. I invited him to come out to join me and to talk…………not believing those words were coming out of my mouth! Aaron does not need an invitation to talk. He manages that very easily, like breathing. Yet on this morning, as Aaron came back outside with his shoes and socks on, carrying his trash can…………..he did not talk. He busied himself in the dried leaves and grass and twigs on the back side of the garden. When he absorbs himself in this activity, he is lost in thought………….relaxing in his own world. This is one world that we are not a part of…………….a place where only Aaron goes. Even my comments about the beans or the clouds or the wind or the lady bugs did not elicit a response of more than a grunt or a word or two.
I was lost in thought, too……….thinking of prayer requests from friends and family; thanking the Lord for recent answered prayers; thinking of those whom I love facing major decisions and challenges; learning lessons, as always, in my garden. Soon I asked Aaron if he wanted some lunch………….some chicken pot pies. This brought his head up quickly! “Yeah!” he answered. “How many?”
One, Aaron. One is plenty. Not a 52, or 16, or 32…………or 4, like the Hot Tamales.
Once in the kitchen, he waited patiently for the microwave to cook his one pot pie. I told him that soon it would be ready and that he could let it cool. And he said, “After that, we’ll pray.”
Simple, yet profound. He remembers that we pray before we eat at home, and when we are out. I am reminded of the teaching that we as parents or grandparents or friends or teachers carry on with those under our care. That consistent, daily teaching…………and how sometimes we wonder if any of it is sinking into their inner being. Oh yes, it is!
So as we continue to live our faith, and teach our children no matter their age, we pray that what they are seeing and learning will reside in their souls and their hearts forever. We pray for our Andrea as she begins graduate school far away in Texas. We pray for Andrew as he finishes his last year of college, that he will seek and know God’s will for his life. We pray for our future with Aaron, for his safety and for our wisdom and patience.
Yes, Aaron. After that, we’ll pray. Always pray.