Shakespeare or Schwarzenegger?

Recently, Aaron came into the kitchen where I was working and launched into his latest area of interest for that day.  “Mom!   Today John, Allen and I were talking about Romeo and Juliet.”  Well, this certainly is a switch, I thought.  He’s gone from his latest alien fascination straight into Romeo and Juliet.  I could tell that I was going to need to hang on for this ride.

Aaron continued, “Is this thing true about Romeo?”
 
What thing, Aaron?  “That poem………the one that………..oh, what’s his name?  Shakespeare?  Didn’t he write that poem about Romeo and Juliet?”

It wasn’t a poem, Aaron.  William Shakespeare wrote a play about Romeo and Juliet. 

“Yeah, and Juliet said ‘Therefore art thou, Romeo?”

Uh, something like that.  She actually said, ‘Wherefore art thou, Romeo?’

“So why did she say that?!”

Thus proceeded our conversation as I prepared dinner and had this stimulating conversation about Shakespeare and his poem, as Aaron kept insisting, called Romeo and Juliet.  Aaron wanted to know who this strange couple was and why Juliet was looking for Romeo and then he decided to fill me in on the rest of the story.

“Juliet said ‘Therefore art thou, Romeo?’ and she stood in the window of the castle.  Then she jumped out of the window of the castle!”

I realized that at this point we had a compilation going of Rumpelstiltskin and Tangled and who knows what else?  Interesting.  Fairy tales and Disney and Shakespeare, rolled into one.  I should send Aaron to Hollywood!

I tried to straighten this tangled mess out as I worked, but Aaron finished his informative conversation with me and thumped up to his room to occupy himself for the evening.  But the next day, at supper, he had fresh ears.  Andrea was there as well as Gary, and Aaron soon launched into his tale of Shakespeare and the poem he wrote about Romeo and Juliet.  As he continued, the three of us were exchanging side way glances and doing everything possible not to laugh loudly at Aaron’s version of Shakespeare’s poem………which we kept trying to clarify with Aaron that it was a play but Aaron has dubbed it a poem and so it will stay a poem.
 
As he excitedly talked about this great poem, and how Juliet was looking for Romeo by asking the famous ‘Therefore art thou, Romeo?’ question……….and how she was standing in the castle window……………and then how she jumped out of the window!………………Gary, Andrea, and I were chewing vigorously in an effort to stifle our laughter.

But the tipping point came when somehow Aaron mysteriously forgot who wrote this amazing poem and he asked, “Who wrote that?  Was it Arnold?”  Aaron paused to think for a moment and then continued, “No, it wasn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger from the Terminator.”

That was it.  I dissolved down into my chair, trying not to choke on my food as I laughed and then in my best Austrian accent, I just couldn’t resist.  I said, “I’ll be back………..Juliet.”  I know you had to be there, but Gary, Andrea and I totally lost it.  I had to leave the table as the tears of laughter rolled down my cheeks.  We don’t often laugh like this about what Aaron says, except behind his back, because at times he takes it personally and thinks that we are laughing AT him instead of WITH him.  Actually, at this moment we were laughing AT him and we just couldn’t stop.
 
Thankfully, Aaron was still stuck on Shakespeare and Schwarzenegger and didn’t seem at all bothered by  the laughter and choking and Mom repeating again, “I’ll be back…………Juliet.”  He then began to ask if Shakespeare was still alive.  “I thought Shakespeare was kinda still alive to write poems.”

Well, I’d say that at that moment Shakespeare was very alive and well at our house.  More so than he probably would have ever wanted to be. 

Or was that Schwarzenegger? 

And I seriously doubt that this is over.  I’ll be back……….Shakespeare!

An Auspicious Birth – Kind Of

It was a hot June 18 in Princeton, West Virginia, 63 years ago. Beth King was busy watching over her three children, ages 4 and under, as well as preparing for her parents to arrive from Florida. Her husband, Jack, was at work and so she busily got the house and dinner ready for her family to arrive. Oh, and someone else was getting ready to arrive, too. Beth was 9 months pregnant! And so in her typical hard-working fashion, she decided to tackle one more task that needed to be done. Grabbing the lawn mower, she set out to mow the large yard. She was barefoot – after all, this IS West Virginia I’m talking about!

After mowing awhile, Beth ran in to check on the dinner in the oven. She had made a specialty of hers – Cheese Souffle – and knew that she needed to watch its rising very carefully. Bending over, she slowly opened the oven door and received quite a surprise. Her water broke!! I don’t remember all the details at that point – I was the one about to be born – but I can imagine that there was much rushing around and changing of plans and phone calls and getting to the hospital! 

Dr. Pace had to be called in from a family picnic on this beautiful summer Saturday. I had no concern for other’s plans, only my own! Dr. Pace was wearing a very bright Hawaiian shirt and didn’t have time to change because I was in a hurry. Mother had green feet from mowing the lawn. And so I was born, looking at green feet and a bold Hawaiian shirt. Does this explain me to all of you? It should. 

And guess what my favorite meal is, the one that Mom always made for me when I would come home from college or from being around the world as a military wife? Cheese Souffle, of course!! I love you, Mom, for giving me life on this day 57 years ago – strange as it was!

Our Selfless Dad

As Father’s Day approaches, my thoughts naturally turn to my Dad more often than usual.  The other day, I purposefully kept my eyes from looking at the Father’s Day cards written for Dad as I perused the cards and made my choice.  Even now, over three years since his death, looking at those cards for Dads will certainly bring the tears.  I’m sure that Mary Beth and Bob, John and Jeanie, Jan and Bob, and Kathryn and Jimmy feel the same as Gary and I do.  We have so much to be thankful for………..many good years spent with such a kind and dear man rather than only a few, as is the case with so many others.  Yet I know that no matter how long he would have lived, the missing would never be any easier.  He was just that kind of man.

I think that perhaps the attribute of our Dad that made him the dearest was his selflessness.  This trait was evident in the way that he could laugh at himself and allow us to laugh with him………..or laugh at him, too……….without any hint of pride at all.  He also took time to talk to people and to really listen without seeming hurried or disinterested in what was being shared.  He looked for ways to reach out to others with a helping hand, a few dollars, a wise word of advice, a ride somewhere, a visit, a shared laugh………….always with kindness.  He wasn’t out to promote himself or protect his time.  He was all about others and about family.

I saw the greatest demonstration of his selflessness many times during the month that I spent with him and Mom before he died.  I’ve heard it said that the way a person handles his impending death is a real evidence of the person they truly are.  I can vouch for this statement when I think of Dad.  He was polite, and humorous, and gentle, and thankful even as he daily faced pain and uncertainty and the knowledge that he was leaving Mom.  I learned a lot from him during that emotional month. 


Dad was very modest………very, very modest.  During our childhood, we never saw him without a shirt on.  Even when he mowed the yard on a hot summer day, he wore a shirt.  If we happened to see him shaving in his bathroom with the door open, he was wearing a tee shirt.  And never, ever did we see him in a pair of shorts.  That would have been very out of character for him.  We didn’t think anything about it…………we just accepted this aspect of Dad’s character and loved him for it. 

All of us kids hoped that Dad would still be able to preserve his modesty during his final weeks of fighting cancer.  None of us wanted to see him have to face that loss…….that humiliation.  It weighed on my mind as I flew home to be with him and Mom before he died.  I was there to help, to minister to them both.  We children were all doing what we could, but now as he declined rapidly I dreaded what may be ahead.  He was getting so weak, I learned, that Mom had to swing his legs up into bed at night as he sat on the edge of the bed.  This was very difficult for her, physically.  On my first night there, as I listened in the other room, Mom told Dad that he should let me come in and help him into bed.  He surprised me by saying, “I will not!”  But I could understand.  He wasn’t being difficult.   It was simply that his modesty and privacy was hard to relinquish. 

It was only a matter of days after I arrived that he was allowing me to assist with getting him into bed.  He had pajamas on but it was still hard for him.  Yet we both laughed and said funny things and as always, he was able to handle the situation with humor and sweetness.  Soon his health declined enough that Hospice brought in a portable toilet that sat in his room.  Dad was determined to be up and about in his wheelchair every day as much as possible, but the bathroom was impossible.  Mom was handling all these details herself, of course, as I waited in the living room.


One day, after a particularly trying time for Mom both physically and emotionally, Dad called me to his bed.  He said, “I don’t want your Mom to ever have to do that again.”  He told me that he wanted Amy, his precious Hospice nurse, to train Jan and me on how to care for his personal needs. 

Jan and I were both dreading this moment, more for him than for us.  We knew how hard this decision was for him.  Yet he came to this point not for his own welfare, but for Mom’s.  He was so worried about her health and her emotions that he was willing to give up his own feelings in order to care for her.  Jan and I both talked to Dad, asking him if he was very sure – and he confirmed that he was.  When Amy came to the house the next time, she briefly showed us what to do – yet was able to do it in such a way as to preserve his dignity, which was a real blessing.   The entire time that we helped with his toilet needs, we were able to do so with respect and with little invasion of his privacy.  Still, it was a monumental change for him and for us.

Soon after we began this new phase of his care, I had positioned him back into his wheelchair when I looked down and saw that he was crying.  It upset me and I quickly knelt down by his side, feeling that he must be embarrassed at what he was forced to do.  “Dad, what’s wrong?” I asked.  He then told me, in his weak and slow voice, that he was sorry.  Sorry?  “Dad, what are you sorry for?”  And he answered, “I’m sorry that you and Jan have to do this.”

The reality of what he meant hit me with such force that I could hardly speak.  Dad wasn’t crying for himself or for his own humiliation.  He was crying because he felt like he had made Jan and I be a part of something that we should, in his opinion, never have had to do.  He was thinking of us, not of himself.  He was apologizing for what he felt he had caused for us – embarrassment at having to take care of our father’s personal needs.   I hugged him and assured him that we were privileged to be allowed to care for him.  And I told him that I didn’t want him to ever feel that way again.  


This picture of Dad’s selflessness will stay with me forever.  If anyone had a right to feel sorry for himself and to cry over his own situation, my dying Dad sure did.  Yet he still thought of others, of us, as he did until the day he died.  He was still teaching us by his actions how a man of God should live………..and how a man of God should die.  Thank you, Dad.

Spinny!

Aaron was very grouchy this morning.  He wanted things done his way, at his time, and so was pretty hateful for the first part of his morning.  Sometimes when he reaches a tipping point, he’ll grab something that usually belongs to him and he will throw it or punch it or bang it.  This morning it was to rip it……….a special book that he grabbed and then twisted and tore a couple pages in the book.  Firmness, yet with calmness, is key to leading him through these periods of anger.  The calmness on my part is more effective than anything.  Funny that being calm is the very hardest thing for me to do.  I want to yell at him………to talk some sense into him……….to not give in to his demands.  Each situation varies and so requires individual solutions, but the common thread is for me to remain calm.

Just as quickly as his anger erupted, it seemed to leave.  He crunched on his celery and peanut butter while I ignored him and went about my business.  He doesn’t enjoy being ignored.  He tried to engage me in conversation, but I had no desire to please him at that moment.  His mood may have been “up” at that time, but mine was still “down.”  I’ve tried to explain to him how emotionally draining it is to those whom he mistreats when he is angry, but these emotions of others mean nothing to him.

It was truly amazing to see the rapid switch in his mood.  He was suddenly very happy and very talkative, excited to tell me about his Smurf movie that he’s enjoying…………”Chapter 5 is so funny, Mom!  Come in my room and look at this part!”  He sang and yelled happily in the shower, too, and then stood in my room chatting away.  I noticed, though, that sweat was beading on his brow.  It was as if his body was in overdrive.  Sometimes this means that he will have seizures soon.  I’ll need to keep the monitor turned up tonight for sure.
 
He began to tell me about reading the night before.  Aaron only reads at night, right before turning out his light and going to bed.  One day he told me, “Mom, I went to bed at 11:14 and got up at 7:31.  I need to figure out a way to quit reading so late.”  I simply answered, “Aaron, just quit reading.”  His reply:  “But I have to get tired first.” 

These reading and getting tired issues are not so simple to Aaron.  He will read his Handy Answer Books to a certain point, do or die.  Therefore, lately we’ve tried to get Aaron to go to bed earlier and so begin reading earlier in an effort to turn out his light earlier.  The simplest solutions don’t always work with Aaron.

So as he told me about reading last night and about being tired, he said, “Mom, I was reading last night and I was sleepy.  My eyes felt like they were going in different directions!”

Wow, Aaron!  That’s amazing! 
“Yeah!” he replied.  “My eyes were spinny!”

Spinny eyes, huh?  That’s how I was feeling after our up and down morning.
 
A spinny morning with Aaron, going in different directions.  He described it well.  I’m thankful that I have the day while he’s gone to hopefully get my balance back!

Aaron’s Turn!

Yesterday Aaron had a dentist appointment, so as usual I told him that we would eat lunch out somewhere – his choice.  This of course makes Aaron very happy.  He climbed in the car and settled in for the ride to Chili’s, with our music cranked up but with Aaron still trying to talk over the sound of Billy Joel.  Nothing deters Aaron from talking.  Trust me.

It’s fun to just sit with Aaron in a restaurant and let him guide the conversation.  Control might be a better word.  As soon as we were led to our table, the talking began and continued non-stop for the entire meal.  Only when chewing his huge burger was Aaron quiet.  I also knew from the moment that our server, Christy, came to the table that she got Aaron.  She was relaxed with him, smiling and interacting with him, which showed me how much she liked and enjoyed him.  She had none of the nervous glances and stony looks that so many others do when they meet Aaron.  This also put me at ease.

Christy asked right away if we wanted an appetizer.  Aaron perked up and asked, “What’s an appetizer?”  Christy and I tried to explain appetizers to Aaron, but all he cared about was revealed in his next question: “Does it have bread?”  You know how Aaron loves bread.  Anyone who buys 36 rolls at Wal-Mart does indeed love bread.  Christy went on to get our water while I continued to answer appetizer questions and assure Aaron that we did not need an appetizer, and that no, there was no bread appetizer.

Next, Aaron wanted to know what a margarita was as he studied the poster on the wall.  No, Aaron, you cannot have a margarita, either.  Now please look at the menu at something that you CAN have………..and of course, he ordered the biggest bacon burger that he could find……….after looking at all the menu pictures and having many questions about the food that he saw.  He always comes back to burgers………with bacon, surely.

His eyes are always moving, observing every detail around him.  He liked the tile table where we sat, bright and unusual.  “Mom, this design looks like a snowflake……….and this one looks like leafs…….with snowflakes.”    Which led him to remember pepper.  “Mom, remember when I looked at pepper in the microscope?  It’s all leafs!  Why would we eat leafs?”

He was bothered by the water left on the table from where it was cleaned before we arrived, so he began swiping the table with his hands.  He also does this for crumbs, but I stopped him before we had even more water on the table from spilled drinks.  Then he realized that he didn’t have his obligatory toothpick by his side that he must always have by his side when he eats.  He got up to go get a toothpick that he had seen at the welcome desk near the front door, but I stopped him quickly.  His eyes don’t miss anything!  Christy was kind enough to bring Aaron a toothpick on a little paper towel………..which he promptly dropped and lost.  Somehow he managed to finish his meal minus the toothpick.

He wanted to clap, so I gave him repeated reminders that clapping was not to be done in the restaurant.  He still got a few in anyway, despite my stern looks.  And talk, talk, talk!  We talked about getting him new shoes after the dentist, when we went to Wal-Mart.  Whereupon he turned in the booth and stuck his foot out to show me the semi-hole in his tennis shoes…………and poked his finger in the hole as he said, “See, Mom, you can actually feel the inside of the shoe!”  Turn around, Aaron, and quit jabbing your finger in your shoe!

He held up the onion slice that was on his huge bacon hamburger.  “Do you call these purple onions?”  He knows the answer but will always ask anyway, so I answer the way that I always answer………..that these are not purple onions but are called red onions………which leads to a discussion of red vs. purple, and is he color blind like Granddaddy?

He remembers that he read a long time last night before bed and is now feeling tired.  “Mom, guess what time I got up?  I got up at 7:57!”  He paused for a second and then continued, “I mean, not 7:57.  It was 7:17!”    When did you go to bed, Aaron?  “I turned my light off at 11:23!”  The precise world of Aaron.  I would expect no less.

We also know all about the literal world of Aaron, which he hilariously demonstrated in this conversation:  “Mom, Paradigm has a janitor now.  I didn’t know they hired a janitor!”  And I teasingly replied, “Well, it’s because of all you messy people.”  With a straight face, Aaron said, “No, she doesn’t clean people.  She cleans tables and floors.”  He did not understand my laughter, which made it even funnier.

More talking, all the while eating……….or should I say cramming………..his huge bacon burger into his mouth. Finally, there lay on his plate the burger, the onions, the tomato, the lettuce, and the bacon.  He continued to eat the bun smeared with ketchup and mayo, and then finished off each of the other items one by one.  He saved the best til last……..the bacon………..and proceeded to cut one of the pieces in half.  I wondered why, and then he handed me one of the halves.  “Here Mom.  You can have half of my bacon.”  Oh, how sweet.  But I declined, begging fullness on my part, and so he happily shoved both halves in his mouth and finished off his meal.

We drove through the car wash, where every aspect of every feature of the car wash was expounded by Aaron……….even up to bedtime last night…………every aspect, believe me.  The dentist visit was next, where it was discovered that Aaron has a crack in his tooth.  We remember when it happened not long ago at supper, where he was vigorously eating steak.  Now we are hearing all about cracks in teeth, crowns on teeth, and the prospect of his next dental visit soon to come.  Gary and I are just seeing dollar signs.  Wal-Mart was the usual going here and going there and hearing all his observations about EVERYTHING…………do you know how much there is to talk about at Wal-Mart??!!  We left with his favorite non-flavor-bursting sour cream and onion Pringles………….Cheez-Its because we ran out because he ate them all………..and a box of croissants……….of course.

Driving home by the recently plowed farmer’s fields, he wondered why part of a field was bare.  “Mom, why is there bald grass there?”  Bald grass?  “Yeah, there’s nothing in that field.  It’s bald grass!”  As always, I’m following Aaron and enjoying his language…………but agreeing with what he had said previously at Chili’s.

“Mom, I clapped at Paradigm one day and the janitor told me that I need to take a chill pill.  Why did I need to have that?”

Oh Aaron, if only there was such a thing as a chill pill!  There are times that if you didn’t take one………….I would!!!

I Would Have Gone

Yesterday when Gary and I left church we ran a couple of errands.  We also decided to eat lunch at Olive Garden.  I’ve just returned from a week at camp, so the time alone with Gary was very nice.  I really enjoyed our lunch……..the good food, uninterrupted conversation, and just time alone with my husband.  Later in the day, Aaron was hungry and asked if he could have some Taco Bell.  He and I jumped in the car while Gary was watering some new grass.  Aaron and I stopped to throw some newspapers in the recycling bin, pick up a prescription, and finally ended up at the Taco Bell drive-through to buy his supper.  Aaron wanted to know if I was getting any food, but I told him that I wasn’t really hungry.

On the drive home, Aaron asked why I didn’t buy any Taco Bell food.  I again told him that I wasn’t hungry.  I felt like I knew where this conversation was headed.  Aaron was pondering about why I wasn’t hungry.  He was wondering what I had eaten and when I had eaten that would cause me to not be hungry at this time of day.  I wasn’t trying to hide anything from Aaron, necessarily, but I just didn’t want to make a big deal out of the fact that Gary and I had eaten out……….without Aaron.

Therein lies the problem……….we ate out without Aaron.  And sure enough, as Aaron and I played a game of Skip-Bo before bed, Aaron brought the subject up again.  “Mom, at Taco Bell, why didn’t you get food?”  I repeated to him that I wasn’t hungry, even as I knew that now we would face this issue head on.

Aaron continued to probe.  “Did you eat?”  I told him that I had indeed eaten.  And he asked, “So what did you eat?”  I’m not going to lie, and therefore I told him that his dad and I had eaten lunch out.

“Where did you eat?” he wanted to know.  Funny how I was feeling like a delinquent teenager who had to give an account to his parents for going somewhere that he should not have gone.  Feeling badly now, I told Aaron that we had gone to eat at Olive Garden.  He then gave me a look that touched my heart.  And his words………oh my!

“You should have told me.  I would have gone.  Didn’t you want me?”

Stabs of guilt pierced my heart.  Aaron’s shoulders slumped some, and I was initially feeling miserable at this turn in his mood and this sadness when he spoke.  “Oh Aaron,” I assured him, “Your dad and I would have loved to have you go with us.  It’s not that we didn’t want you…….but sometimes Dad and I need time together, too.”

Aaron seemed to accept this explanation, and his mood lifted as we continued to play Skip-Bo and talk about other things.  He had no idea of how badly I felt………how conflicted.  This conflict is one that any parent of a special needs child feels, especially an “adult child” that can put two and two together enough to know when he is being left out.  For this is how Aaron sees this situation.  He is simple in his thinking and very egocentric.  He is being left out of an event that he loves………eating out………….with people that he loves to be with.  He doesn’t understand the relationship of husband and wife.  He doesn’t understand or care about the fact that Gary and I relish some time to be alone and to be “normal.”

Gary and I both have to balance our own relationship against that of our relationship with Aaron.  This is paramount for any couple with children, and I believe especially important for those who parent special children who take so much time and energy.  Gary and I are in a place in life when parents are typically experiencing empty nests.  I’ve written about that before (Our Nest).  We don’t know how long we will have Aaron at home with us.  We do know that Aaron is smart enough to piece together that we went to a restaurant without him when we could have taken him.  We do know that Aaron feels hurt about being left out.  We do know that Aaron knows how to make us feel guilty, whether intentional or not.  And we do know that we must not let this guilt rob us of our relationship with each other.

We can explain these issues to Aaron and we can assure him of our love, but we must never sacrifice our bond in an effort to always include Aaron.  There’s a balance to be kept on both sides.  It would be wrong for Gary and I to be so absorbed in each other that we neglected Aaron.  Likewise, it would be equally wrong to be so taken up with Aaron and his needs that we neglected our own time and growth together.  Thankfully, neither Gary nor I are ones that feel a need for constant attention or big trips together or going out every weekend.  A dinner alone here several times a week is a respite for us, a time to recharge and converse and connect.  It’s really a matter of the mind more than anything.

And sometimes those mind games can be very tricky.  I refuse to feel guilty for enjoying time alone with my husband………time without Aaron.  Time without listening to him talk of his latest movie, of something he has read, of what someone said, of the weather, of what time he went to bed and what time he got up, of global warming, of icebergs, of what food he’s eaten, of cavemen, of the legend of the trash men or the legend of the beagles, of the medium window he broke…………..I could go on and on just like Aaron does!

Sometimes Gary and I run out of things to talk about.  Maybe we need Aaron around more than we realize!

I Miss You!

I just returned home yesterday from a week at our church youth camp down in Davis, Oklahoma.  I’m one of the cooks.  The week is full of laughter, fellowship with my cooking buddies, hugs from the youth, sore feet, and many special memories that are made.  This is our fourth year of camp, and each year I’m so grateful to Gary for making it possible for me to go.  Sometimes he has taken vacation the week I am gone, or Andrea has been here to help with things.  This year Gary did not take vacation and Andrea is no longer living here.  Aaron was able to handle his mornings just fine, though.  He knows the routine for the couple hours that he was here before his day group staff, Cody, picked him up.

There was one morning that wasn’t too smooth, though.  On Wednesday, Aaron was apparently throwing his back scratcher down the stairs like a Frisbee, he said.  We’re not exactly certain how it all happened, but the small window in the door broke.  Aaron ended up calling Gary, who came home from work to help clean up the mess.  Thankfully things worked out fine and hopefully Aaron learned a lesson.  Probably not, but we can still hope.

Usually when I’m gone, Aaron will call my cell phone repeatedly…………but this time, I didn’t hear from Aaron all week.  Until Friday afternoon.  Aaron was still at his day group and Krysten let him borrow her cell phone………..I hope she let him borrow it.  He’s been known to help himself to phones.  Anyway, my phone rang and I knew when I saw the name on the phone that it was probably Aaron.  I answered anyway.  And was I surprised!

“Mom!  I miss you!!”

Wow!  Was this Aaron?  Or just someone who sounded like Aaron?  Usually when I answer the phone, even when I’ve been gone, he launches right into some grand story without saying anything personal at all.

So I responded, “Aw, Aaron, I’ve missed you too!”

He chuckled, unsure of how to accept those words.

“So Mom, when are you coming home?”

“I’m coming home tomorrow, Aaron!”  And he quickly asked, “What time?”  It’s very important for Aaron to have details.  Tomorrow has many hours and he feels a need to know the time.  I told him that I wasn’t exactly sure, but that didn’t work.

“But what time?” he asked again.  So I told him an approximate time.  He was content with that.  Then I fully expected a food question, but he went on to tell me about his day at the movies………….and eventually, he got the dreaded Wednesday morning incident off his chest.

“Mom, I was throwing my back scratcher down the stairs like a Frisbee.”

I told him that I knew about that.  We talked about not throwing things, etc.  And he asked, “But don’t you throw a Frisbee?”

Yes, Aaron…….but the back scratcher is not a Frisbee……….and even if it was, we don’t throw Frisbees in the house.

“Well, I threw it like a Frisbee and it broke the medium window in the door.”

Dad told me about the medium window, Aaron.  As we talked he was feeling relieved, I’m sure, to have this conversation out in the open before I came home.  We finished talking as I told him that I had to go.  And the next day, just as soon as I walked into the house, I heard him lumbering up the stairs.  He had video game codes on his mind and didn’t give me a hug right away, but finally at Gary’s reminder, Aaron gave me a sideways Aaron hug.

And soon after that, he asked the question he had been saving all along.

“Mom!  What’s for supper?”

Now that’s my Aaron!  I missed you, Aaron!