Earlier today, Gary and I were enjoying a quiet and laid-back Saturday morning. Aaron was upstairs asleep……..nothing unusual about that, especially on a lazy Saturday. Later, Gary went out to run some early errands before the crowds had the same idea. I went upstairs to do some things and to jump in the shower. Not long after I was in my room, I heard Aaron get up and go into his bathroom………nothing unusual about that, either. Except that he was in there an awfully long time……….long enough for me to notice that this was unusual. I stepped out into the hall and over to his bathroom door, where I was assailed by a very strong odor.
Fearing the worst, I asked, “Aaron, are you all right?” And he softly answered, “No.” Just a flat answer. I knew what was wrong, even as I dreaded what I was about to face. Aaron sometimes has intestinal trouble, as I wrote about earlier when I told about how he threw up on Thursday evening. I knew that today his troubles were coming from the other end. I told Aaron to just get in the shower and that I would come in then to see what needed to be done.
I waited until I heard the water running and then I opened the door. Oh my goodness! I won’t be graphic about the mess I found, but it was truly awful. Poor Aaron had tried to clean it up, and it was just a disaster. He heard me gasp, and as he stood in the pouring water of the shower, he said, “I’m sorry, Mom. I’m sorry! Mom, I’m sorry!”
“I know you’re sorry, Aaron,” I said as I stepped back to assess the situation. I removed my sling/immobilizer from my right arm, as well as my sweater, and then went downstairs to get gloves and so forth for cleaning. I returned and set about the unpleasant task at hand. And from the shower there came Aaron again……….”I’m sorry, Mom! I’m sorry!”
I finally told Aaron to quit saying that he was sorry, and I told him that it was all right………even as I fought the irritation that was welling up inside. How on earth could he have made such a mess? Goodness gracious! Would I ever get it cleaned up? And I was thankful that Gary wasn’t there, as he had his fair share of cleaning up vomit on Thursday.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” I heard Aaron say again. And again I told him that it was OK, and that he didn’t need to keep apologizing. But was it really OK, I asked myself? I know that in these times of cleaning up Aaron’s messes………of dealing with his disasters………..of following behind him to correct the problems………..I, as always, have a choice to make. I have learned that there is no benefit in self-pity. Nothing is gained from questioning my lot in life……….being the mother of a child with special needs such as this. I know that it is defeating for me to try to wish the situation away. Negativity only breeds unhappiness and discontent…….and most important, is not how God wants me to handle this life that He has somehow allowed me and Gary to have.
Paul said, “I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.” Paul wrote those words as he languished in a damp, horrible prison. So there I was, cleaning up this vile mess and knowing that I needed to let my attitude reflect Jesus. I needed to reflect Jesus to Aaron, and I needed to let God rule my thoughts. So I prayed as I cleaned and as I tried not to gag. I asked God to help me bring glory to Him even in this state in which I found myself. I asked Him to help me have unconditional love for Aaron……….to not just love Aaron when he’s saying something hilarious but to also love him when he’s stinky and messy and furthermore, messing up my nice morning!
Eventually, the situation was under control. The bathroom was clean and Aaron was in his room, playing a computer game and as good as new. I walked in to where Aaron sat at his desk so that I could check on him, and as I turned to walk out I heard him softly say again, “I’m sorry, Mom.” My eyes filled with tears as I walked away………….those tears that I don’t often allow to come. I know that Aaron, in his own way, wishes that he could change things. He is happy and content with his life most of the time, but I wonder what goes through his mind on days like today. Does he wish that he didn’t have the issues that he faces daily? Does he recognize his differences? Does he see how dependent he is on Gary and I for his care?
I don’t know for sure, since Aaron doesn’t express those deep heart issues. But his comment, his soft, “I’m sorry, Mom” shows me that he truly does know something. He knows that he made a huge, ugly, smelly mess for his Mom to clean………and he was truly sorry. That touches me. And that urges me to love him and to let him know that it’s OK…….that I will be there to love him and help him for as long as God allows.
Aaron went outside later, and as I looked out I saw him in the front flower bed. There he sat, in the mulch, relaxing and unwinding in the unique, quirky way that he does. He hasn’t been out in the mulch for a long time. He needed this today……….this time to decompress and sort out his thoughts. Maybe I should have joined him……and wouldn’t that have been a sight to the people who were looking at the house for sale across the street from us? I smiled at that thought.
And I smiled as I looked at our son…….our special son……..who continues to teach me lessons of which he is completely unaware.
May I learn them well.