Last week I got a special phone call. Many of you remember Aaron’s very special friend at his day group……..Rosie. Rosie’s real name is Rosa, but Aaron has always called her Rosie……which I find to be endearing. Aaron and Rosie are very special friends, and as their friendship has grown, Aaron has struggled with whether or not they are girlfriend/boyfriend, or just good friends. We always tell Aaron to simply relax and enjoy being friends with Rosie.
The phone call was from Rosie’s mother, Louise. She and her husband were inviting us to go out and eat dinner with them and with Rosie in honor of Rosie’s birthday. After we hung up, I went up to Aaron’s room and told him the exciting news. He listened and then he shifted his body and hung his head. He didn’t know how to handle this great news, but the smile on his face spoke volumes. He didn’t even have to say a word for me to know how pleased he was. But of course, he soon found his tongue!
“So Rosie’s mom called and wants me to come to Rosie’s birthday?” he asked. And when I confirmed that this was true, he wanted to know where we were going to go eat and what day and what time. Then I told him what Rosie’s mom had suggested as a gift for Rosie when I asked her for some ideas. Aaron wasn’t at all surprised when I told him that he could get Rosie some crayons and a coloring book for her birthday gift. He knows how much Rosie loves crayons. Aaron was happy with that idea, and so we planned to go shopping on Friday night.
Aaron picked out the box of 24 crayons and a bag of candy. Then we found the coloring books, and he dismissed several before saying yes to a Disney one. As we shopped, I thought of how normal and sweet and natural this was. Shopping for a special friend for her birthday, and picking out just the right gift, was not only a nice thing to do…………but it was a confirmation to Aaron that he was a special friend to Rosie. To Aaron, it was perfectly natural to be choosing crayons and candy and a coloring book for Rosie. You would have thought he was pondering over a beautiful diamond necklace as he said no, maybe, and finally yes to just the perfect coloring book.
As is typical for Aaron, over the next few days he talked a lot about the upcoming birthday dinner with Rosie and her parents. Over and over again, we confirmed the day and the time and the location. Finally Tuesday, THE day, arrived. Aaron bounded in the door when he returned home from his day group, and he immediately asked me if we were still going to Rosie’s birthday dinner. He and I got Rosie’s special gifts all situated in a pretty gift bag. Aaron had previously picked out Rosie’s card. Of all the girly, pretty choices he had – Aaron chose a card with spiders on the front. He wouldn’t change his mind, so spiders it was for Rosie! He seriously signed her card, including his last name as he always does.
It wasn’t long before Gary got home, and off we headed for Chili’s………..with Aaron making sure that one of his favorite CD’s was playing in the van. Soon we were seated in the large booth with Leroy and Louise, and with Rosie. Rosie was eyeing the gift bag that was perched on the end of the table, while Aaron was beside himself with excitement. He was very loud and was talking non-stop………..sure signs of great excitement. Rosie was calm and level, while Aaron’s volume kept increasing and his mouth wouldn’t stop.
Finally we ordered our meals while we kept telling Aaron to speak quietly………and no, Aaron, don’t talk about that and no, don’t talk about this. His soft voice and filters were nonexistent at the moment! Rosie got to open her gift and her card, and was very happy with the crayons and the coloring book and card. She immediately opened the crayons and checked them out, holding some and examining others. Aaron continued to talk loudly, while Rosie calmly reminded her mom of things to tell us about………..a wedding, a shower, a baby, a shot in her arm. Aaron was pulling items out of his pockets that he had secretly brought to show to Rosie’s mom. Somehow we parents managed to visit a little, too, as we monitored our adult “kids” in their eating and their talking……..especially Aaron with the talking, and the show and tell!
I wondered what others who were seated around us thought of all the noise (mostly from Aaron!) and the general excitement at our table. I wonder if anyone else saw what was really happening at our table. Life was happening……..normal for our Aaron and Rosie, no matter how unusual it might seem to others. Despite Aaron’s loudness and bluster, he has a tender place in his heart for Rosie. He showed it again last week, when he wanted to take Rosie some candy and I said no, reminding him that Rosie’s mom wants her to eat healthy food. And before I knew it, Aaron had two apples in his hands to take to Rosie.
There we sat in that booth, enjoying the friendship of our Aaron and Rosie. But it went far beyond the surface for all of us parents, I’m sure. Friendships of any kind, and especially tender feelings, are rare for our special children. Aaron and Rosie are comfortable in their relationship. There they were, with Aaron noisily talking and Rosie calmly joining in when she could or when she wanted. Rosie reminded Aaron of things to talk about – as if he needed it! They were both relaxed in their own way, with Rosie pushing back her pretty pink cap and showing us her beautiful brown eyes……..a sign that she was becoming comfortable. And Aaron………always comfortable as long as he can talk.
As we left Chili’s, I asked Aaron and Rosie if I could take their picture. I took a couple shots, and finally asked for one more. Then Rosie did the sweetest thing as she stood there by Aaron, some crayons in her hand. She put her arm around Aaron’s shoulders………and Aaron beamed! After the picture, he bolted……….so funny! But the joy on their faces was unmistakable and priceless.
It still warms our hearts, and I’m sure it warms Leroy and Louise as well. It goes beyond birthday dinners and crayons and spider cards. It goes deep into the human connections that we all need, including our often lonely special children. Aaron can be annoying as he tries to tease and as he talks too much. But somehow he has found a special connection to Rosie, and I believe she has found that with Aaron, too. So we are thankful for this fresh breath of special friendship that they share, and for how God has let them be a part of each other’s lives at this time.
I don’t even think Aaron said goodbye as he bolted toward the van. Yet Rosie isn’t encumbered with all those expectations that crowd our usual female brains. Sometimes their world is to be preferred as they function on a much less complex level. Rosie had her crayons, and Aaron had his good meal with lots of talking. And we parents had a warmth in our hearts over time well spent with our special kids and their special friendship.