Aaron walked into the kitchen this morning around 7:20. If I was Aaron, I would give you the precise time, such as he did with me after entering the kitchen. “Mom! Last night I went to bed at 10:42 and today I woke up at 6:53!” This is always funny to me. I never tire of hearing his precision with time like I tire of many other things that Aaron so often repeats. He continued by wanting to know if he got enough sleep and then he volunteered to take his shower. He sure was happy on this Monday morning, I thought………too soon.
It wasn’t long after his shower and after he was once again downstairs that I noticed a darkening of his once cheerful mood. “Mom, do I have to go to Paradigm,” he asked? I said yes and he proceeded to push a little more as he asked why he had to go. He knew it was cold and that it was Monday, both of which were reason enough for him not to want to go to his group. But his voice was getting angry now as he went downward on his path change. Soon he answered me, as I was trying to reason with him, with a loud “NO!”
Knowing that he was on the path of no return, I just turned around and marched up to his room without saying a word. He quickly followed me and once again yelled as I started to unplug his keyboard. As I turned and spoke firmly to him, he stared at me in defiance. Then when I once again said that he would go to Paradigm, he sat on the edge of his bed and said, “NO! It’s a NEGATIVE!!”
And then I knew. I knew that Aaron had seen the outside temperature of -4 degrees on his indoor weather station. This is a first, I thought. There have been many reasons over the years that Aaron has refused to cooperate when it comes to leaving the house in the morning, but this was the first time that his reason was a simple, “It’s a NEGATIVE!”
Now in a way it was comical, especially with the way he phrased it. It was once again hard for me not to laugh at him, but doing so would have only made him VERY angry. It was a huge deal to him that it was a negative temperature outside. Aaron is as particular about the weather as he is about the way that he makes his bed and places his pillows and covers just right………or the way that he meticulously clips the coupons………or reads his Handy Answer books at night………or how he watches all the credits on his DVDs…..ALL the credits. Anyway, differing weather patterns, and definitely differing temperatures, throw him for a loop. He cannot make the weather cooperate in his orderly world, so he will instead want to use it as an excuse for not going on about his day.
The negative temperature outside had quickly become a negative inside as well. His attitude was negative, as was mine, and this whole morning was now headed down a very negative path. It was enough to make me want to throw out those wonderful weather stations along with all the Christmas leftovers I was chucking in the trash! Who cares what the outdoor temperature is? Well, Aaron does………way too much! Isn’t autism fun when a simple weather station and a simple negative temperature can cause such complex problems? Good grief!
Well, to make a long story short, Aaron on his own started to have a definite mood improvement. He eventually asked if we could use his Burger King gift card for another biscuit that he could take to Paradigm, so we did that. Barb, at Paradigm, said that later Aaron had a little Burger King picnic on the floor of her office. He was happy, despite the negative.
I’ve been thinking about myself today and all this negative business. How do I let the negatives affect me? Not the negative temperatures, but the other negatives in my life. Will they make me angry, irritated, full of self-pity, aloof, bitter? I often can’t control my negatives any more than Aaron can control the weather, but I CAN control my reactions to the negatives that come my way.
We work and work with Aaron in his autistic state in order to better enable him to handle his reactions and emotions. Likewise, I know that God works and works with me in order to better enable me, through the Holy Spirit, to handle the negatives of this life. To not let them get me down and out………to not let them make me yell, “NO!” to God or to anyone else……….to not let them become an excuse for shutting myself inside myself and not opening up to all that God has for me.
God wants me to go about my day, just as much as we want Aaron to do likewise, without letting the negatives call the shots. Let the negatives become positives, and decide to sit down and have a happy picnic. I know it’s often easier said than done, but it is a choice that only I can make. I hope Aaron has learned today that he did survive the negative……..and I want to learn that I can survive the negative, too.
However, I do hope it’s a little warmer tomorrow.