I decided on this rainy, gray afternoon that I would snuggle under my soft blanket on the couch for awhile. Maybe I would even take a nap, although my body doesn’t usually cooperate with naps for some reason. Today I wasn’t feeling great and so to just lay down and rest sounded wonderful. However, within 60 seconds of laying down I heard the unmistakable sound of Aaron’s desk chair scooting back. Soon he came thumping down the stairs and blustered into the family room where I had just closed my eyes. So I opened my eyes and there he stood, looking at me as he held his black fuzzy pillow and his soft blanket and his back scratcher.
It would be highly unusual for Aaron to realize that he was bothering me………or to care that he was bothering me. And today turned out to be a usual day, because Aaron proceeded to position his items on his favorite chair as he told me that he was tired of his computer and so he wanted to watch some television.
I pushed back my soft blanket and gathered all my items as I told Aaron that I would just go upstairs to lay down in my room. He thought that was a great plan as he was already settling into his chair and picking up the remote.
I was settled on my bed under my soft blanket and had even dozed for a few minutes. I was relaxed and just resting when I heard it………..the again unmistakable banging of Aaron’s feet on the stairs. He was coming upstairs. Soon I heard him turn toward my room and then he barreled through the closed door. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! He didn’t knock and he wasn’t quiet. Nope. He just zipped right in and said, “Mom? Can you take me to get some supper from a restaurant?”
“Aaron?” I asked. “Do you not see that I’m trying to nap?”
“But can you take me to get some supper later?” he repeated.
“And if you can take me, can we go to Burger King?” he continued.
“I don’t know, Aaron,” I answered. “Burger King is kinda far away, you know.”
“Well,” he said as he started out the door, “let me know if you can take me to Burger King. If you can’t, it’s OK.” And out the door he scurried.
I was totally awake now, and a little aggravated at how Aaron totally doesn’t get it……….doesn’t get the fact that I was trying to nap and that he just barged in talking. He could have at least whispered, for crying out loud………though Aaron whispering is very rare indeed.
Somehow as I lay there, though, I started thinking of what it’s like to be Aaron. Sometimes I think of how self-centered he is……..like he was twice already in a span of 30 minutes as he disrupted my attempted nap. But in the quietness of my room after he blustered out the door, I thought of what it must be like to always be dependent on others to take him everywhere. Aaron can’t jump in his own car with his keys ready and drive himself to Burger King. Instead, he must ask someone else to take him out for a favorite food………and hope that Mom or Dad won’t mind driving a little farther to take him to get what he’s wanting. If they do mind, then he’ll say OK like he just did, and he’ll be happy to go closer…….to Sonic, or Taco Bell, or McDonald’s.
What do I do if I want a particular food or if I want to go to a certain store? I just jump in the van and off I go. Aaron doesn’t have that luxury. He must ask for a ride, and then he must hope that Mom or Dad won’t mind taking him to the place he really wants to go instead of to the place that’s just more convenient. What would it be like to never have the freedom to come and to go anytime and anywhere you wanted? I felt like crying as I lay on my bed under my soft, warm blanket. Aaron’s dependence on us is a facet of his care that can easily be seen as a burden to us. But at this moment I was aware of his dependence on us being a heavy burden for Aaron to bear. I wondered if it’s ever hard for him to ask us to take him places? “If you can’t, it’s OK,” he had said. He would make it OK, but deep down he really wanted Burger King.
And Burger King it would be, I decided! Just then, I heard it. Thump, thump, thump! Up the stairs came Aaron………and into my room he barged once again.
“Mom?” he breathlessly asked. “Have you decided?”
I patted the empty side of the bed and told him to sit down. He was not wanting to sit down, really. He was wanting an answer about Burger King, but he knew that somehow his sitting beside Mom on the bed just might hold the key to a possible Burger King supper…….so he sat. I patted his leg and I told him that first of all, he should remember that Mom was trying to nap. He should remember to not rush in the room when Mom is napping. He should remember not to talk to Mom when she is napping. This little talk did not have one mention of Burger King, and so Aaron began to fidget.
“OK,” he said as he agreed to my napping instructions. “So can we go to Burger King?”
“Yes, Aaron,” I answered. “I’ll take you to Burger King.”
Happy Aaron jumped off the bed, and soon we were in the van driving on the way to his chicken nuggets and French fries at Burger King. Aaron in his pajama shorts and sleeveless shirt and old man sweater, with his slipper socks and slippers on his feet…….and me hoping that we did not have to get out of the van for any reason.
And Aaron talked non-stop about clones again. Oh my goodness, will he ever exhaust the clone subject? All the way there and all the time in the drive-through line and all the way home……..clones, clones, clones.
We got home with the goods………… and Aaron settled in his chair with his pillow behind his back and his blanket on his lap just right and his toothpicks beside him on the end table and a knife and fork and spoon that he didn’t use but had to have and his bowls, of course. A bowl for his chicken nuggets……….a bowl for his fries……..AND a bowl for the barbecue sauce.
There were two bowls on the table already full of his Pringles……..a dirty bowl in the sink…….two bowls in the dishwasher………his three bowls on his lap……..and one solitary clean bowl left in the cabinet.
I looked around and realized that it really doesn’t take much to make Aaron happy. Sometimes, too, it doesn’t take much to get on my nerves. I need to take these little things that can become big things, and put them in perspective. Life is too short to get uptight about a drive to Burger King or interrupted naps or the multiple dirty bowls or clones.
Well, the clones are beginning to be too much now, seriously.