I often write about how up and down life with Aaron is, because Aaron is up and down. Aaron can be happy when he first gets out of bed in the morning, like he was today, but an hour later he might be telling me to shut-up. Yes, he does that at times. Or he may be grouchy and tired first thing in the morning, but by the time we leave for his group he is bubbly and anxious to get on with his day. I guess we’re all like that, but sometimes for Aaron it’s much harder to predict or to control.
One day on the way to meet his group, Paradigm, Aaron said, “Mom, I’m so tired. I got up at 6:10. I went to bed at 10:21. I need some excitement today to keep me from being tired!” I laughed……partly because Aaron usually provides enough of his own form of excitement to keep everyone from being tired. Unless they’re tired of him, which is often the case.
Sometimes Aaron starts off well at Paradigm but then the day deteriorates for whatever reason. He likes to call me in the afternoon if he can, and I can tell by the sound of his voice how his day is going. Like he said one day, “When I first arrived at Paradigm, it was a good day…….but later on it wasn’t.” Then I just hang on as I listen to him tell me why later on it wasn’t a good day…….or I try to gently drag the story out of him, piece by piece. The piece by piece business may take a while, sometimes even into the next day. Patience is a requirement when dealing with Aaron issues, that’s for sure.
Aaron has gotten so that he often won’t go out on the group activities with Paradigm. They go bowling, go to the mall or to other shopping venues, go to a movie on most Fridays, teach the clients cooking skills, go to City Arts for some painting or craft fun, and are now doing some volunteer activities, among other things. None of this is of any value to Aaron, though, if he refuses to participate.
And don’t EVEN tell me that you’re bored, Aaron Daniel, if you won’t get out of the chair and head out the door!!
But I always remember what Aaron’s special, wonderful teacher…….Mr. Z……..told us years ago about our special children. He said that sometimes we have to make it worth their while. We call it rewards, although sometimes I think of it as Bribery 101…….and we will always be in that class.
I tossed our parenting books out the window with Aaron.
So last week we decided that we would have a reward for Aaron on Fridays if he participates in the daily activity at Paradigm during the week. For this past Friday, he didn’t pause for one second before saying that he would like his reward to be a Papa Murphy’s pizza. Simple enough.
On Friday morning, before we met his group, he reminded me that if he finished the week with doing his Friday activity – a movie – that we had promised him a pizza………a Papa Murphy’s pizza.
“Mom?” he said, “You have to keep up to your deal!”
I smiled at his way of putting things, and I assured him that I would keep up to my deal. Supper that night was his reward. There was the pizza…….the Papa Murphy’s pizza…….for supper.
And afterwards Wheel of Fortune, with Aaron getting silly and comfy in his favorite chair.
Now a new week starts, and we are once again ready to keep up to our deal. The big question is if AARON is going to keep up to our deal. Do we need to reshape the deal a little, maybe saying that if Aaron does four out of five days of activities then he gets a Friday reward?
Who would have thought I’d be having these inner discussions with myself over our almost 30 year old son? Not me, that’s for sure!
But God knew and He daily equips up with what we need, even when we don’t feel like He does…….or we feel like we totally blow it, and don’t keep up to our deal. And that happens more than I care to admit.
But as for this deal with Aaron………Aaron won’t let us blow our end of this deal. He will remind us daily, several times daily, of our deal.
And if I know Aaron, the deal itself may get old to him because it requires his obedience. How human is that?
We may have another bridge to cross……..another deal to make. We usually do with Aaron.
We’re deal makers and he’s usually the deal breaker, so then we become deal RE-makers.
Life with Aaron. Exciting and humbling. But we’ll keep up to our deal and just do our best, day by day, with God’s help.
I believe there’s a reward for that.