Yesterday Aaron had a dentist appointment, and as usual, he was looking forward to our day together. He gladly endures having his teeth cleaned because he knows that afterwards we will go somewhere for lunch, and then to Wal-Mart, and maybe somewhere else – which on this day, our somewhere else was to be CD Tradepost. I let Aaron choose our lunch destination several days earlier and was not at all surprised when he chose Olive Garden…….his new favorite place to eat.
He got up earlier than normal, which is sometimes a sign that he is excited about his day. When I went in to talk to him, he immediately asked, “Mom, is 36.3 cold?”……..and I knew that he was looking at the outdoor temperature on his new indoor/outdoor clock and weather center. I assured him that the temperature today would be quickly rising and that we were in for a very warm, pleasant day for his dentist visit.
As I turned to leave his room, he had one more question. “Mom, are we going to eat lunch at Oliver Garden?” I responded with my own question to be sure that I had heard him correctly. “Eat where, Aaron?” And he repeated what I thought I had heard…..”At Oliver Garden,” he said. I smiled and didn’t correct him. Sometimes I prefer Aaron’s rendition of familiar names.
Later, as we drove past the farmer’s fields on our way to the dentist, Aaron kept up a steady stream of mostly one-sided conversation. He talked about his Star Wars game; about Tavion; about whether cells can be renewed; about whether cells are actually nerves; and then transitioned to the fascination of crystals and fool’s gold……….among many other topics that entered that ever-active brain of his.
I enjoyed the relative quiet of the waiting room while he got his teeth cleaned, wondering if we would have a repeat of what happened at his last dental visit. I was relaxing in my seat in the waiting area when I heard Aaron’s unmistakable voice say, “Mom!”………and I looked up to see him standing there in the middle of the waiting room, with the paper bib around his neck and the dark protective glasses covering his eyes. “Aaron! What are you doing?” I asked – just as the hygienist came around the corner, smiling. He wanted to be sure that we were going to eat out and go shopping, and I said yes as he turned and followed the hygienist back to his waiting chair. The other people in the room had that typical puzzled look on their faces and I acted like nothing strange had just happened. If people could only see how funny their faces look at times like this!
Thankfully, on this visit Aaron stayed put in his chair and before long he was finished at the dentist and we were driving toward “Oliver Garden” for our fun lunch. Later, as we waited for our food to arrive, Aaron spied the wine bottles sticking out of the racks in the wall. “Mom! Look at those bottles!” he exclaimed as he pointed to the wall.
Aaron, don’t point.
“But they keep those bottles in the wall! Is that beer?” I told him that it was wine, and he continued in amazement………”How do they get it out of the wall without breaking the glass?!” So I gave him a lesson on how the bottles were not stuck in the wall, even as I looked at them and saw that they really did look like they were a part of the wall. There I go, looking through Aaron’s eyes!
As we sat there, I had the usual conversations with Aaron about the usual topics. Aaron, don’t make those noises. Aaron, don’t stare at those people beside us. Aaron, be careful and don’t spill your tea. Aaron, don’t blow your straw paper on me. Aaron, wipe up that spilled tea with your napkin. Aaron, don’t sing. And as I helped him get some salad, he said, “Mom, I don’t want the hard parts.” I know that the hard parts of the salad are the croutons, even as he continued, “Do you want me to give you the hard parts?” So I got the extra croutons and we were both happy.
As we munched on our pizza, Aaron brought up his favorite topic…….out of the blue, as so often is the case. “Mom, Rosie likes me.” Ah, Rosie…………Aaron’s special friend at his day group. So here I sat with my grown son who is still a boy in most ways, and he wanted to talk about Rosie. I asked him, “So how do you know that Rosie likes you?” He didn’t hesitate at all before answering, “Because she sits beside me when we watch TV, and at the movies. And we share popcorn.”
Their friendship is so sweet, and we are thankful for it. He then told me that yesterday Rosie’s mom had come to Paradigm, and I was reminded of the very amusing comment that Aaron made a few weeks ago when he said, “Mom, today Rosie’s mom came to Paradigm. It was the same kind of Mom that came to my birthday!!” I had laughed and Aaron had no idea of how funny his comment was.
He continued telling me about Rosie’s mom being at his group yesterday. “I had a slushie that was half empty and I asked Rosie’s mom if I could give it to Rosie. She said yes so I gave it to her.” I asked him if Rosie ate it and he very patiently answered, “You don’t eat it. You drink it!” So I asked him if Rosie drank it and he said yes…………germs and all. Well, they are friends, you know……….and friends don’t worry so much about all that germ business.
Last night, as we were saying good night, Aaron commented, “Mom, we had fun at Oliver Garden.”
Yes, Aaron, we did have fun at Oliver Garden. I didn’t tell him that the most precious thing for me was to once again have the opportunity to see inside his heart that is sometimes tender…………at least when it comes to Rosie. And I am thankful that even though Aaron has issues and is labeled as having “special needs”………..I have the unique privilege of having a son who will probably always tell me everything that he is thinking. Much of it gets rather old at times, but then I have the opportunity to capture a real nugget……or more than one.
And it’s not fool’s gold, either. These times with Aaron are true gold……..priceless and irreplaceable.