This morning did not go as I had planned.  Maybe it’s because I feel so tired.  I haven’t slept well for several nights and don’t know why.  We all do that at times.  And you know how those long nights are, when every little issue in life is magnified.  Nothing is horribly wrong, but even my to-do list seems overwhelming at one in the morning!  But all of this is an excuse, really, and I know it.

Aaron had a dental appointment this morning.  I looked forward to this being a morning of Aaron being in a compliant, happy mood because he would be looking forward to lunch and maybe a Wal-Mart trip.  Instead, I found Aaron down on my computer, looking up cheat codes for a game.  I fussed at him and he got off, but came up to my room wanting to know if I would print off some cheat codes for him.  He was carrying a large sheaf of stapled-together codes that he said a staff member at Paradigm had printed off for him.  It was very large – the number on the last sheet was 77!  And Aaron wanted me to print it off again………at least that’s what he said……….and so began the very frustrating process of trying to figure out the why and the what of Aaron’s request.

Aaron couldn’t explain to me exactly what it was he wanted me to print, even as I explained to him that I was not printing 77 pages – that he already had!  He began to escalate, and then hit my dresser with his fist as he walked out.  Thus ensued the fight – not physically, but verbally.  I was trying to understand what he wanted and at the same time calm him down, all the while feeling my tiredness and my exasperation mounting.  Soon I was yelling……..and Aaron was yelling……..and I yelled louder………and Aaron responded likewise.  It was a lose-lose situation all the way around.  I backed off and walked away, taking a few minutes to calm down and then approaching Aaron again as he headed toward my room.  We came to an agreement……….more of a stalemate……..and soon left for the dentist.  Both of us were quiet and rather depleted.  And I was feeling very guilty.

Aaron waited for me in the van as I put something in the mailbox, picked up the newspaper, and got the empty trash cans ready to roll back to the house.  I took a step or two and then saw it……….a weed growing up between a crack in our driveway.  What would have been an ugly weed, except for one thing.  Growing on that weed were such delicate little violet blooms that I had to stop in my tracks and stare down at it.  Those little blooms transformed that otherwise annoying weed into a soft spot of beauty on our driveway.  Instantly my heart was pricked.  My behavior with Aaron not an hour earlier was ugly and hateful.  I let my tiredness and my selfishness call the shots instead of letting the Holy Spirit empower me to respond to Aaron with love and kindness.

Out of my nasty behavior, I needed something soft and pretty to grow……..something that only Christ could enable to bloom.  Forgiveness.  In particular, to BE forgiven by Aaron.  I’ve read and studied a lot about forgiveness over the past few years.  In fact, I just listened to some on-line lessons last week on this very subject.  I know quite a bit about the anatomy of extending forgiveness and being forgiven.  Could I practice this today?  With my child?  With Aaron?

I know that asking for true forgiveness means naming the sin you have committed, without making excuses for your behavior, and asking to be forgiven.  As Aaron and I ate lunch, I waited for him to pause in his monologue of the moment and then I said, “Aaron, I’m very sorry that I got so angry this morning.  I’m sorry I yelled and acted hateful to you.”   Aaron looked at me, gave a little grunt, and stuffed more pizza into his mouth.  I continued, “So Aaron, will you forgive me?”  Another grunt.  And I repeated, “Will you forgive me?”  And he said, “Yeah.  Hey, did you know that I woke up at 8:33 but I stayed in bed, and then got up at 9:04?”

I chuckled.  This is as good as it will get with Aaron in the forgiveness department.  Oh, he heard me loud and clear………..and he registered every word that I said.  He may still call me weird, as he did earlier…….or maybe not.  He knows, though, that I am sorry.  He knows that I love him.  He knows that I am human……..and weird sometimes.

And I know that a little flower began to bloom in my guilt-ridden heart.  For I had also asked God to forgive me and He did more than grunt.  He has given me assurances all over His Word that He is there, waiting with open arms to forgive………..and to forget!  I can’t forget my behavior, but I pray that I will once again learn from my failure and grow in this issue of forgiveness.   Grow and bloom………beauty from ashes, God says.

Just like my little driveway weed.

What Type? What Time?

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?”

Yes, Aaron.

“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.

Quilted With Love

Some of my earliest memories of my mother revolve around her amazing skills as a seamstress.   I remember being very young and seeing Mom sitting at her sewing machine, turning out something beautiful and seemingly perfect from all sorts of fabrics.  She kept us girls busy in those early years while she sewed by giving us pieces of felt in various colors.  From this soft felt we fashioned  clothes for our little troll dolls, cutting and fitting each ugly troll as if it was a priceless and beautiful doll.  Mom provided glitter and sequins and odd buttons for us to glue onto our awkward handiwork.  We stayed busy for hours laboring over our important creations.  I don’t remember all the mess we must have made, but I do remember laboring over our little troll dolls while Mom labored over her more important sewing jobs.   Mom made small, meticulous Barbie doll ensembles which she sold in a local craft store, and also made some for us to keep.  Yet her most loving works of art were the countless pieces of clothing she made for her girls to wear.
Every Easter we had new Easter dresses.  I especially remember the Easter that she made all of us girls pink gingham dresses – and then made one for herself, as well.  I thought it was wonderful to not only match my sisters, but to also be dressed like my mother!   I remember the trips to Penny’s in Bluefield, the bigger town that was near our hometown of Princeton.  I loved the escalator ride down to the bottom floor, where we would choose patterns and fabrics and buttons for our new clothes.  Never did we go to the ready-made clothes upstairs or enter a dressing room.  Our clothing was there amongst the bolts of fabric, waiting to be matched to patterns and later sewn into pretty dresses and jackets and blouses.  I do believe that I took the longest to select the fabric to match the patterns as I had such a difficult time seeing the finished product in my head.  I would stand there, rubbing the fabric between my fingers, trying to visualize a finished product that somehow wasn’t materializing in my mind.  I can imagine Mom’s frustration as I lingered there trying to make this important decision……… well as the rolling eyes of my sisters who had finished this process long before I did.
Mom worked full-time after we were all in school, yet still managed to sew all of our clothes.  She was a natural at this art, yes, but it still took lots of time.  She would sew late into the night, her dedication undeterred by her tiredness.  I never gave enough thought to how tiring this effort must have been to her until I had children of my own.  How did she do it all?  I have no idea, really, but she did.  Her work was not only beautiful with matching plaids and perfect zippers and flawless fit, but each stitch was filled with a love that wasn’t recognized by us until years later. 
One of my most special memories was of the year when we were teenagers, and Mom made us skirts for Christmas.  I don’t know how many skirts she made, but there were quite a few.  Then she not only began looking for matching sweaters to wear with each skirt, but matching knee socks as well.  She did not give up this quest for the correct colors of sweaters and socks until each skirt had what it needed to make it a perfect ensemble.  We learned about this later, from Dad, who accompanied her on many of these trips.
Dad, who was color blind and absolutely no help when it came to matching colors of anything, would patiently take Mom on many of these shopping trips.  I can still see him standing silently on the sidelines in the fabric stores, hands behind his back and a sweet smile on his face.  He never rushed Mom or any of us, but stood there until we had come to the point of methodically selecting every button and every spool of thread.  I can still hear him say, “Did you know that there are 53 light bulbs in this ceiling?”  Or, “Did you know that there are 271 zippers in that display?”  Dear, sweet Dad!
John and Jeanie’s Quilt

When Mom and Dad both retired, Mom only continued her sewing.  She had sewn for her children, for grandchildren, for friends, for the Crisis Pregnancy Center, and who knows what else.  Upon retirement, she decided to take up quilting.  Of course, she was a natural at this skill.  She practiced by making her and Dad a lovely quilt, and then took up the goal of making each of us five children and spouses a quilt.  These gorgeous works of art were each sewn entirely by hand with no sewing machine used.  She had us each pick our pattern and our colors – there I went again, having to make this difficult visual choice!  Mom never wasted a minute in any day, and before long she was completing our individual, personal, 
gorgeous quilts.  Dad took her to countless stores and quilt shops, patiently waiting over and over again as she selected just the right fabrics.  Each stitch was a labor of love……….each completed quilt a perfect picture of her devotion to her children.  I keep my quilt hanging in our kitchen area so that we can see it every day and enjoy its beauty, and bask in the warm memories that it evokes. 

Mom made many, many quilts during the next few years.  She made quilts for missionaries; she made a special quilt for a dear friend who had no mother of her own to make her one; she made a quilt for the Prophet’s Chamber at church where missionaries 
stayed when visiting; and she made a memory quilt that has special fabrics and mementos from each of us children and our children.
Bob and Jan’s Quilt
Jimmy and Kathryn’s Quilt

Mom has Alzheimer’s now and lives in an assisted living center.  Tomorrow she will celebrate her 86th birthday.  Dad knew that Mom was showing distressing signs of forgetfulness before he passed away nearly four years ago, and he worried so about her.  He would be happy with her living arrangement now and with how well cared for she is.  She doesn’t sew at all now.  She’s even forgotten how to put her jigsaw puzzles together that she loved so much.  Sometimes she doesn’t remember all of our names, and definitely not the names of all the grandchildren and great-grands.   But she is sweet and she is happy and she still seeks to serve others.


Bob and Mary Beth’s Quilt
Gary and Patty’s Quilt

And just as our keepsake quilts will always be an heirloom to pass down to our children, even more so are the pieces of our lives that she shaped and fashioned together with her tireless love and effort.  She took care of us, providing the atmosphere of a happy and warm home to treasure as she sewed and cooked and played and laughed.  She made sure that we had family devotions every morning before school because Dad was at work and so it was up to her.  She took us to church when Dad was working late, and didn’t just drop us off – she was there, too, worshipping and serving.  She  showed us how to love and how to work and how to pray and how to laugh and how to persevere through hard times.  She exemplified great care in 

how she took care of her mother for 14 years, as well as her mother-in-law for part of that time.  And she loved Dad, totally.  She never left his side, especially for the eight years that he fought cancer.  Even when they no longer could share their bed they had slept in together for 59 years, she slept right beside his hospital bed, her arm and hand resting on him between the bed rails. 

These traits of our mother are the stitches that are sewn into our very being.  The pieces of our lives were begun by her, thought-out and cut, measured and pieced, day by day.  As the years marched on, the shapes of our lives began to unfold.  The beauty of the various patterns began to be seen.  These are the treasures that are eternal.  These are the heirlooms that have more value than any quilt will ever possess.  And while our mother may not remember much anymore about the details of the past or the present, we have the evidence in our lives of her love and her faith…………a beautiful quilt of a life well lived.

How Do Pineapples Grow?

Aaron loves fresh pineapple, so he was happy to see the other day that I had bought a nice pineapple at Sam’s.  He also loves fruits and vegetables that have unusual appearances, and I do believe that a fresh pineapple would fit under that category.  All those spines and that odd, wild growth on top does nothing but stimulate Aaron’s curiosity.

This is why he came into the family room on Sunday evening carrying our pineapple.  “Mom!  I like this pineapple!”

Yes, Aaron, I know you do.

“When can we eat it,”  he asked?  So I told him that we would probably eat it the next day.  I was chilling out at that moment, watching football, and not in the mood to tackle a pineapple.

Aaron proceeded to go downstairs and have nearly the same conversation with Gary before returning to the family room, still carrying the pineapple.  “Mom, I asked Dad if pineapples grow on trees and he laughed.  So do they grow on trees?”

Well, pineapples grow…………uh, they grow………..I think they grow………….you know, I’m not exactly sure. And this is why you would have found Aaron and I sharing my tablet screen, looking at various pictures of pineapples and how they grow……….while Aaron excitedly rubbed his hands together and held his special fresh pineapple in his lap.

Yesterday morning, you can be assured that Aaron talked again about that pineapple……how it grows, where it grows, what it tastes like, and making sure that I had not forgotten that I had said we could have the pineapple that night.  Aaron returned from his group a little late and found me in the midst of cooking supper.  He talked a few minutes about his day before he went over and grabbed the pineapple, placing it on the counter in front of me………….to remind me that I had said we would eat the pineapple………..tonight!

I know, I know, Aaron!  But he was persistent.  “Mom, you said we’d eat the pineapple tonight.  Aren’t you going to open it?!”  I laughed and he continued, “So how do you open the pineapple?”

Aaron, you open the pineapple by cutting it!  And he once again urged me to open the pineapple as he scrambled up to his room.   He was full from his day of eating who-knows-what, but later as we played Skip-Bo, he had himself a nice bowl full of the pineapple that I had opened for him.  I had to remind him several times to chew with his mouth closed as he chomped that open pineapple.

This morning, he came into my room and began talking about the open pineapple, and how it looked rotten because of the color on the outside………….but it wasn’t rotten, right?………….and how good it tasted………..and could he have some for breakfast.  He managed to polish off the remainder of our open pineapple this morning, enjoying every bite.  Believe me, I know………because he carried his bowl up to my room, and chomped and slurped once again while I finished getting ready.

Aaron sure can take something as normal as a pineapple and make it into a very interesting experience.  We’ll have to open another one soon!

Lessons From the Window

It was a holiday weekend and Andrew was coming home.  Between college and his pit crew travels, we hadn’t seen him in 2 1/2 months.  We were excited to have him home!  I was busy doing the things that a happy mom does when her child is coming home after being gone for so long.  I was fixing some of his favorite foods; doing some vacuuming and dusting; cleaning bathrooms; and getting his room all ready.  We weren’t sure exactly what time he’d be home, so as I zipped from room to room I found myself repeatedly looking out the windows to see if I would find his blue truck pulling into the driveway.  My anticipation was mounting with each passing hour!  I couldn’t wait to hug him, to look at him, to talk to him, and to sit down at dinner together with laughter and sharing as we always do when we’re all together again. 
I was upstairs in his bedroom, changing his sheets and glancing out his windows every few minutes, when the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to my heart.  It was as if He said, “Patty, I do wish you looked forward to seeing the Lord at His return as much as you look forward to seeing Andrew when he returns.”  I have given this much thought since that day and have been convicted over and over by my attitude. 
How many times have I spoken of the rapture and linked it to being rescued from a situation that I’m tired of?  So often I have commented that it sure will be wonderful when the Lord returns and we won’t have to face death and sickness anymore.  And won’t it be a blessing to be in heaven and see all of our family and friends that are there now?  Oh, and the world is in such bad shape that it will just be a joy to be rid of it all and be with the Lord.  No more having to make painful, long term decisions about Aaron; no more financial struggles; no more conflicts with people; on and on the list goes.

While all of these factors are legitimate reasons to want to be with Jesus, I have often missed the real and most important goal.  It hit me with such force as I compared the reasons I wanted to see Andrew compared with the reasons I wanted to see Jesus.  I wouldn’t run up to Andrew when he returned and say, “Oh, Andrew, I’m so glad you’re here because I’m tired and need a break from things here.  Thanks for what you’re going to do while you’re here to relieve me and refresh me.”  No!  I just wanted to be with him, to talk to him, to enjoy his fellowship and love. 
So while it’s natural to want freedom from our trials and stresses and to be with Jesus, I want to think more about Whom I will be with rather than what he’s rescuing me from.  I want to look forward, as Paul said in I Corinthians 5:8, to being absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.  I want to anticipate time with Jesus, talking to Him, enjoying His fellowship, basking in His love, and praising Him.  In John 16:22, Jesus said to the disciples, “……but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”

I look forward to being taken away from this old earth and all the junk that goes with it.  But may I look forward even more to glancing out my windows some day and seeing Jesus come to take me to heaven, where I can sit at His feet and talk to Him and praise Him forever! 

Tattoos and Enchiladas and……….

On Thursday, Aaron had his Epilepsy doctor appointment.  I was very relieved to be called back rather quickly from the waiting room.  Aaron was way too fascinated by the dad who was sitting there, arms covered in tattoos.  “Mom, look at his tattoos!” Aaron whispered………except Aaron doesn’t really whisper………’s more of what we would call a normal voice but to him is quieter than his usual loud voice.  Then I whispered for him to hush and he wanted to know why and I was hoping this man didn’t hear or at least that he was kind and understanding.   It was very nice to escape that situation!    Aaron’s seizures and his medicine levels are stable, so there wasn’t much new there.  However, we love time with the nurse practitioner, Keith Trevolt.  He is a lay pastor as well as a very knowledgeable health care provider,  and our visits with him are always uplifting, informative, and fun.  He seems to have all the time in the world to listen to Aaron, and as Aaron got wound up, Keith had lots to listen to……….mostly about (drum roll)………..Battleship!!!!  Aaron would have replayed every scene and every conversation and every alien move had I not finally intervened.   I rescued Keith, and Aaron and I went on our way to the next destination……….the real reason Aaron wanted to come, which was lunch, of course.

I had suggested that we eat at Carlos O’Kelly’s.  Aaron was happy about this choice because it’s a place he has been to rarely, if ever.  We were thankfully ushered immediately to a booth and so began this serious eating-out process.  I told Aaron to first decide on his drink……….and of course, he immediately spotted the margarita selection on the back of the menu.  “Mom, is that a beer?”  His fascination with beer continues, of course, so I had to try to quickly explain the difference and then urge him to confirm his choice – iced tea, thankfully.   

Aaron and menus have become a very time-consuming combination.  He wants to look at and read every item.  I tried to suggest various food choices and his response, invariably, is to say, “Let me see it.  What’s in it?”  He wants to see a picture and get a full description of each choice, which takes forever, so I finally strongly suggested an enchilada……….and then we had to face the selection of sides………..and determine what the soup of the day was………..and let him ponder that while the waitress had her pen poised………and Aaron had more questions……….and needed a picture…………JUST ORDER, AARON!!!!!

His Tortilla Soup arrived in a very tiny bowl, with a glob of sour cream on top.  As soon as Aaron methodically cleaned the sour cream swipe on the side of the bowl, he proceeded to spill much more of the soup down the sides of same bowl as he tried to scoop soup out of a much-too-small bowl.  He managed to eat most of the soup, completely soaking the cute little napkin under the soup but thankfully not getting too much of the soup on the table or his clothes.  He’s a little shaky and so soup can be difficult, but I ignore the mess so he won’t feel badly about it. 

His enchilada had been delivered and he dug into that next, very carefully smoothing out that dollop of sour cream on top so as to cover the entire enchilada.  This took some time as he smoothed and smoothed again that sour cream, as if he was painting the top of his enchilada.  But then his fork was covered in sour cream and this was a problem………..because Aaron will not put the fork in his mouth to clean it.  No, no, no…….Aaron will only clean his utensils with a napkin.  So he took a napkin and wiped his fork off in it, watching me to see if I objected.  I was thankful that the waitress had brought extra napkins earlier.  How did she know?  Next Aaron carefully removed the jalapenos and put them on his little soup plate. 

Now it was time to seriously eat.  He observed his plate and then began to eat the garnish first.  Aaron eats one item at a time, and he considered the little pile of onions and spices to be an item to eat……….not an item to put onto his enchilada.  The enchilada was all smooth with his sour cream and was not to be further disturbed.  After finishing the garnish, he tackled the rice.  His waitress kindly offered to get him a spoon and as she walked away, Aaron asked, “Can I have a knife?”  Because with every meal, even if it’s cereal, Aaron must have multiple spoons and at least one knife and one fork.  She didn’t hear him and somehow he survived without a knife for this meal. 

My meal didn’t take long to eat, so I spent the majority of my time sipping my Pepsi and watching Aaron and of course, listening to Aaron.  I listened to Aaron clap his very loud clap, telling him to stop, and then listening as he tried to quietly slip in a clap here and there………or clap under the table.  I listened to Aaron as he talked about everything around him.  “Mom!  Look!”  He was pointing behind us, to the bar.  “Look at those levers.  They turn them and beer comes out!”
I asked him if his food was spicy.  He thought for a second and then said, “Well, half of it was and half of it wasn’t.”    There he goes with that half business again!  He saw the waitress  bring me a take-out box for the remainder of my lunch, so he asked me if we could take the chips home.  As the next waitress passed our table………..not our waitress……..Aaron saw her and said, “HEY!!”  She stopped and thankfully she smiled and thankfully she understood and thankfully she brought Aaron a nice bag in which he could thankfully take home those chips. 
Finally, four napkins and two spoons and one fork and a bag of chips later, we were ready to leave.  We made a quick run into Target, where Aaron asked if he could go find some Mike and Ikes……….and I reluctantly agreed.  He promised to come back quickly and meet me where I was checking out some sale items.  He took longer than I thought he should and of course, I should not have been surprised to look up and see Aaron lumbering toward me with this:
He was very happy to have found this wonderful pillow.  As I placed the pillow in the cart, he then pulled 3 boxes of Mike and Ikes out of his pockets.  Thank you, security guys, for not questioning my son about why he was stuffing Mike and Ikes into his pockets.  Good grief, Aaron! 

It was nice to arrive home, in more ways than one, and to have Aaron lay down for a nap.  My brain needed a break, not to mention my nerves. 

And I was thankful for the either deaf or patient tattooed dad;  our kind nurse practitioner;  pleasant, understanding waitresses; and either blind or unobservant security personnel. 

It’s all part of a day with Aaron.

The Spitting Farmer

So now that you’ve read the title, I may as well just get on with the story.  Last night Aaron and I were playing Skip-Bo.  He was doing his usual……..eating……….talking……….and trying to cheat whenever my eyes turned away for more than 5 seconds.  I can control the eating………I am keeping baggies of sliced cucumbers in the frig  as a healthier snack option.  Of course, he must have a bowl into which he dumps the cucumbers……….he will NOT eat out of the baggie – but at least he’s eating cucumbers and not Skittles.

I can also control the cheating by not letting my eyes stray onto my tablet or phone, or by not leaving the table.  Even then, I have to be very alert.  Aaron is a quick cheater.  I like to think of him as being very smart instead of being a very big cheat.  I am his mother, you know.

As for the talking – we have yet to find a way to control the talking.  A captive audience is Aaron’s favorite, and since I can’t leave the table when playing Skip-Bo with Aaron, I am a captive.

As I sat there, captivated by his non-stop chatter in his mostly monotone voice, I was captively listening to his usual talk of his day and his friends and his activities and his food choices and his games, etc., etc., and etc.
Then he said it.

“Mom, Dad caught me doing something and he made me stop.”

He paused as he often does, for effect.  I was bracing myself for what Aaron might have been doing that Dad had to make him stop doing……….and wondering why Gary had not told me about this thing that Aaron was doing that he had to stop doing.

Then Aaron finished with, “I was trying to be a farmer and spit on the steps.”

Those of you who know me, or who have read my blog for awhile, know that I often withhold laughter in front of Aaron when it means that I am laughing at Aaron.  I don’t want to make Aaron feel bad for being laughed at, or I don’t want to encourage poor behavior by laughing in front of Aaron.  I try to wait until the time that I can laugh behind his back.  However, there are those times that withholding my laughter is very unhealthy for me……….and last night was one of those times.  I chose my good health and I laughed.  I laughed very loudly……..while Aaron blandly went on with his Skip-Bo move and his monotone talking.

He then demonstrated the way that he tried to spit……..minus the spit, thankfully………but the little ppfftting sound he made was even more hilarious.  Oh my goodness!  Now I have some questions about this behavior on several levels.

Number One:  Why does Aaron think that farmers spit?

Number Two:  If Aaron wants to emulate a farmer, why didn’t Aaron instead put a piece of hay in his mouth from the “hay barrels”, as Aaron calls them, like farmers routinely do.  Right?

Number Three:  Why didn’t Aaron say that he tried to spit like a baseball player?  Baseball players spit!  A lot!

Number Four:  Since when do farmers……or even baseball players…….spit on steps?  Carpeted steps?

I helped Aaron carry his coffee up to his room this morning.  As we walked up the steps, with Aaron behind me, he said, “Mom, this is where I tried to spit on the steps.”  I quickly looked down, glad that I had on shoes.  I reaffirmed to him that he should never spit on the steps……….and knowing Aaron, he should never spit anywhere.

I have also decided that it’s been way too long since I vacuumed those stairs.  Maybe all the dirt on the carpet confused Aaron and brought out his spitting instincts.

Don’t try to call for several minutes.  I can’t hear the phone over the vacuum.