On Sunday evening, Aaron told Gary and I that his headphones were broken. It appeared that he was correct, so I decided to run out to our new Goddard Wal-Mart to get him another set of headphones. We were getting ready to be hit with a blizzard the next day, and no way was I going to be stuck in the house with Aaron having no headphones. For most games and movies, he believes that he MUST be wearing his headphones. Without them………well, he or I one would not survive, and I just didn’t even want to go there.
We climbed in the van, buckled up, put in just the right CD, and off we drove into the west………to good old Wal-Mart. Aaron was talking about anything and everything as we rode along. My mind was pretty much on auto-pilot, listening to Aaron talk, talk, talk and thinking of what else I needed to buy before we were inundated with the promised snow. That’s when, out of the blue as he so often does, Aaron unexpectedly asked, “Mom? Is it OK that Rosie and I are friends?”
So where did this come from, I thought? I’ve written several times about Aaron’s special friendship with Rosie. They like each other and he is so nice to her. That last fact is in itself a miracle. Gary and I are happy for their special friendship. When Aaron talks about her like this, with no connection to our conversation, then I know it’s usually because he has some issue on his mind.
I replied, “Yes, Aaron, it’s OK that you and Rosie are friends.”
He continued, “Well………she’s a girl and I’m a boy.”
Pause. And I hesitantly say, “Yes?”……….and wonder what’s next.
He asked, “So what’s the difference?”
Now I’m most assuredly out of auto-pilot mode. My mind is in full engagement, wondering what his last question means.
Then I very intelligently and fearfully ask, “What do you mean?”
He answered, “Well, does that mean I’ll be doing that boyfriend/girlfriend thing?”
My relief almost made me sag. Perhaps this wasn’t going to be such a difficult conversation after all. I assured Aaron, as we always do, that he and Rosie can be good friends. Their special friendship is a wonderful thing.
“So I don’t have to be that boyfriend/girlfriend thing?”
“Do you want to be boyfriend/girlfriend, Aaron?” I asked.
“No”, he replied, “but some of the other clients tease me about it.”
Once again, I encourage him to not let the teasing bother him……..to just laugh and be nice……….and to keep being a special friend with Rosie.
By this time we were walking in to Wal-Mart. By the time I got a cart and turned to walk in the entrance, there stood Aaron………..holding up a small round watermelon, with a huge grin on his face.
“Look, Mom!! It’s a little watermelon!!” I commented on his delightful find, and he hurried on back to the electronics section to look for his headphones. He didn’t mention Rosie again the rest of the night. It seemed that his concern over whether he would be doing that boyfriend/girlfriend thing had disappeared.
Yet I know better. This issue is on his mind more than we realize. That’s why it keeps coming up over and over again. He’s trying to figure out how to do the boyfriend/girlfriend thing, as he says…..or how to BE the boyfriend/girlfriend thing. He’s venturing into unfamiliar territory, as are Gary and I. I hope we have wisdom, and I hope we remain sensitive to Aaron’s feelings. We’re very happy for him to have Rosie as a special friend.
The joy he shows when he holds a small round watermelon, or as he did later, an oddly shaped purple eggplant, is such fun to see. Likewise, I want to continue to see his friendship with Rosie through his eyes……….to know that’s it’s unique and valuable to him………….but also full of questions.
I just pray that we will have the right answers. Not dismissive answers, but honest answers and wise answers.
But I tell you, it sure is easier talking about watermelons and eggplants than it is to talk about that boyfriend/girlfriend thing!