I had a sweet and telling conversation with Aaron this morning. Gary and I aren’t getting out today because there is a layer of ice on everything, and neither of us wants to fall. Therefore, I was enjoying another cup of coffee while Aaron clipped coupons……..and talked, of course.
He was thinking of The Sound of Music because I watched it on television the other night. He didn’t want to join me in watching it but he knows the story on which it’s based. He watched the DVD with Julie Andrews as Maria several times in the past. As he was working away on the coupons, he asked me again to affirm the fact that The Sound of Music is based on a true story.
Then, for some reason, he jumped to Pollyanna. “But Pollyanna is not a true story?” he asked. I told him that I didn’t think it was based on a true event, but that it taught us a good lesson regardless. He agreed, so I asked him what the lesson was that Pollyanna taught us.
“It teaches us about happy,” Aaron answered. I agreed, and then talked about how even when things didn’t go well with Pollyanna, she still looked on the bright side and was positive. I told him that we could all learn a lesson from Pollyanna.
“Yeah!” he said. “Like with that computer thing at Paradigm.” The other day he had an issue with another client regarding the computer – not Aaron’s fault – and so the next day Aaron didn’t want to go to Paradigm. I talked him through it and he went, but the incident is still fresh on his mind.
I was so glad to see him making this connection! I reminded him of what I so often tell him: to set aside what happened and to move forward. I tried to get him to fill in the blank and he said, “To move ahead.” That works!
Still connecting, he said, “Like when Pollyanna went in the hospital to get fixed, would you say?”
Well, kind of, Aaron. Smile.
He talked about how she was in “that chair” because she couldn’t walk and how she wasn’t happy anymore. And then I asked him what happened, and he said that her friends came and reminded her to be happy.
“Just like I do with you!” I reaffirmed.
“OK, Mom!” he laughed.
A short while later, after I peeled him some mandarin oranges to eat, he wanted me to sit nearby while he finished the coupons. “You sit there and I’ll talk,” he told me.
I laughed. Oh, yes, you’ll talk for sure, Aaron. Of that I have no doubt. And thankfully, I had the time to sit there for those few minutes………watching Aaron work and listening to him talk about this and about that. Watching him clip coupons is to see autism in motion. He works hard to clip each coupon ON the dotted line. He takes the little strips of paper that are left over and meticulously cuts them into small pieces, and watches as those pieces fall into his special trash can full of thousands of those colorful cut papers. In another trash can, he places larger cut pieces that he knows I don’t want. And then to the side, he carefully stacks the remnants of each coupon sheet that he has cut. It’s quite a process, and one that he thinks I fail at miserably……which is why he gets very upset if he finds out that I have some extra coupons that I set aside to cut myself.
As I watched him work and listened to him talk, I thought about how unique and amazing he truly is. Would I like Aaron to “get fixed” like he said Pollyanna was? Well, certainly I would like for the seizures to go away and for his autism to not hold him captive in many areas. Yet I also know that Aaron is the person that God created him to be. We work to help him be the best that he can be, but I don’t want to have the attitude that he must be “fixed.” Instead, I hope to set aside any disappointments that I may have about Aaron and his life, and to move forward every single day.
Move forward to understand him……to accept him……to instruct and teach him…….to continually reinforce positive traits and actions. But not to try to “fix” him……..because Aaron isn’t broken. Aaron is fully who he is, as all of us are, and I love that about him. Even through tears and fears and frustrations, Gary and I both love and treasure good old Aaron.
I have also discovered that the person who needs to “get fixed” is me. Aaron has shown me so much about myself……….about my weaknesses and about how I need to be refined into what God wants for me. God is using Aaron to fix my broken self in so many areas.
The coupons are done…….the oranges are eaten………and Aaron stretched out on the floor and laughed loudly as I sang “Do Re Mi” to him. It’s another day with Aaron. A day to be reminded to be happy, as Aaron so often does Even when he’s unaware of it, he is showing me a lot about moving forward and being happy.
I don’t ever want a fix for that!