I just returned last night from a quick trip down to Fort Worth to see our daughter, Andrea, who is in her first year of grad school. I dropped Aaron off to meet his group on Thursday morning, as usual. I had prepared him for the fact that I was leaving for a couple of days and he was fine with that………..although I do think he was hoping that Dad was going, too, so then maybe Krysten could come over to stay with him. That would mean pizza and movies and going out to eat………but I reminded him that Dad is fun, too, and so he was agreeable. He was his normal talkative self on the way to Quik Trip to meet his group…..talking about the bulls in the field: “Look, Mom! They’re laying down!” And the music on the CD we were listening to: “Mom, I can tell that’s jungle music because of the jungle instruments.” When I dropped him off, we said goodbye and then as he climbed into the van that Cody was driving, I said, “I love you, Aaron.” And Aaron mumbled, “Bye.” But no “I love you” in return. I would have been shocked if he had responded any other way, though. We may as well keep everything normal and usual.
Aaron called me the next morning in Texas. I answered the call, knowing it was Aaron calling from home, and I greeted him warmly by saying, “Well, hi Aaron!” And he said, “Mom, I got up at 9:11 and guess what? It’s raining!” No hello Mom or hey Mom or hi Mom…….not from Aaron. He launches right into the topic at hand, which is about himself and involves what is important to him at the moment, which is what time he got up and the fact that it is raining………..he loves rain!
He continued with his conversation: “Mom, when are you coming home?” I told him that I would be home on Saturday afternoon or evening. “So what time will you be home?”
Aaron, I don’t know what time I”ll be home.
“Well, will it be raining when you get home?”
I don’t know that either, Aaron.
“So you’ll be home in the afternoon?”
“What type of afternoon will it be, then? Will it be raining?”
I assured him that I had no idea what type of afternoon it would be. There are some things we just can’t lay out in advance, Aaron.
His call that evening was again about the rain and what he did at the mall the day before. “Mom, I went to Auntie Anne’s and got a #1 meal. It’s the unsalted pretzel and a drink………” and he continued his rundown of his day as I hoped that he wouldn’t ask again about what type of afternoon it would be when I came home on Saturday. He didn’t. Wow! But he did ask again about what time I would be home the next evening, so I promised to call him on my way home and tell him.
I was a couple hours from home when I called him. He keeps the home phone by his side whenever he can, and so when he saw my cell number he eagerly answered: “Hey! Mom! Are you coming home?” I told him that I was on my way and that I would be there around 6:30. Finally, Aaron had a definite time! He could begin the countdown now.
He still had much to tell me. “Mom, I dropped the Cheddar Pasta Salad that Dad got me . It fell in the floor, so I tried to put it in a bowl and still eat it, but Dad said no and he went and got me another one. Why wouldn’t he let me eat it off the floor?” I told him that he knows the answer to that question, but I answered it anyway because I knew I would have to in the long run and I may as well get it done. And immediately after I answered the eating off the floor question, he asked, “Guess what #56 across said?”
Now we are used to following Aaron’s zig-zag, random conversations, and so I knew exactly what he meant. He was referring to the crossword puzzle in that day’s paper, which he often reads. He proceeded to tell me, “The #56 across said bedtime and it has 6 letters. What would be bedtime that has 6 letters?” So we went from eating cheddar pasta salad off the floor to the #56 across with 6 letters and then he jumped to…….. “Mom, it’s cool today! Does that mean summer is over?”
Oh brother, here we go. Every season, as the season nears its end, Aaron begins to ask if that season is over and when does the new season start……..especially when the temps start varying and the precipitation changes. I’ll be so glad when Autumn really does begin and I can nail that door shut for another couple months. Come on Friday, hurry up and get here!
Today Aaron was happy to help me make “chocolate puddin’,” as he calls it. He was talking all the while, of course, about why we couldn’t make all four boxes instead of just one. And about one of his friends: “Mom, he made a stretch of his neck!” And Aaron proceeded to show me how this friend bends and makes his neck crack. Or about his other friend: “Mom, she takes medicine a different way. She has to take a needle shot!”
Gary and I took him to Dairy Queen with us tonight. We decided to just go through the drive-through. Aaron wanted a waffle-cone sundae, so he had to wait until we got home for him to eat it. I placed the sundae on the kitchen table. I put the nice red DQ plastic spoon in it, along with the nice DQ napkins right beside it…….and Aaron marched right into the kitchen, opened the silverware drawer, and walked back carrying a spoon and a fork……….yes, a FORK for a sundae. And the whole napkin holder, as always. I wanted to ask him why he needed a fork for an ice cream sundae, but I knew better. He won’t answer, but he’ll always and forever have a fork with him no matter what he is eating. And an extra spoon………..and all the napkins. He dug in to his sundae, using the nice red DQ spoon and never touching the other spoon and the FORK………but he had to have them.
We always know what type of afternoon…….or morning…………or evening…….we’re going to have with Aaron. Not every detail, for sure, or every up and down emotion. But we know it will be random and full of questions and comments and observations………lots and lots of talking………lots and lots of the same stuff over and over again. But somehow he still manages to mix it up and throw in some surprises and lots of comments that make us laugh. Or groan. Or roll our eyes. Or bite our tongues. Or grit our teeth.
You get the idea.