I got Aaron a new shirt a couple weeks ago. He doesn’t like shirts that are too decorative unless it’s something he’s particularly interested in, such as a Star Wars shirt. Most of the time he wears solid colored shirts, and I have to be sure that there is not much of a collar……if any……because that irritates him. And if it’s long sleeved, it must have cuffs that will keep the sleeves in place and not drooping down around his hands. There can’t be an itchy tag, either. Buying even a simple shirt for Aaron takes thought, for sure!
The new shirt that I bought for Aaron is a blue and orange striped shirt. It’s short sleeved, so that’s not an issue, and there is no scratchy tag. Those stripes, though……I wasn’t sure how that would go over with him. That evening I showed it to him and he immediately took one look at it and blandly said, “Looks like a jail shirt.” He walked away, and that was that.
I laughed, and knew that I should have expected that flat reaction from Aaron. He always says that football or basketball referees look like they are wearing jail clothes because of their striped shirts. And I really know better than to ever expect an enthusiastic, “I love that shirt, Mom!” from Aaron. I might faint if he did that!
I went back to Penny’s several days later, more coupons in hand, and bought some long sleeved shirts for Aaron…….with cuffs. No collars. No tags. And two of them have stripes, with one having those bolder stripes like the jail shirt I got him. It’s a different color, though, but still…….stripes.
This past Friday was a cool day, so I pulled out the new striped long sleeved shirt for Aaron to wear with his jeans. Of course, he didn’t miss a beat when he saw it. “I don’t want to wear that shirt that looks like I came out of jail,” he flatly said.
But wear it he did. He just had to make sure that I knew he was feeling once again like an inmate. He wore it to Great Clips as he got a haircut on his way to meet his day group.
He wore it all day at his group, and to the movies. And he wore it to Wendy’s that evening as Gary and I took him out to eat as his reward for having a good week and participating in his group’s activities. He wore it as we took Jackson on a walk around our circle when we got home. He was happy and made no more comments about wearing a jail shirt.
He changed into his pajamas after our walk, and settled in for an evening of rotating between his computer upstairs and our television downstairs. I was on the phone with Sandra, Gary’s sister, when I heard Aaron quietly trying to get a snack in the kitchen. I had already told him that he didn’t need to snack all evening after such a big supper.
Later, when I was off the phone, I went into the family room where he was sitting in his favorite chair watching his program that he had taped…….with his favorite blanket over his lap and his peanut bag and his peanut shell bowl also on his lap. I sat on the couch and all was quiet for a minute. Then Aaron spoke.
“Mom?” he said. “I have to tell you the truth.”
I looked over at him and there he sat, with his head down on his hand, as if the weight of the world was now on his shoulders. I imagined the worst. He had done something bad at Paradigm. Said something or taken something or bought something or given away something……..the possibilities are many, trust me.
It was a pretty serious moment, and I was silent, dreading what was to come. Our evening had been so pleasant. Now what were we going to have to deal with?
I waited. Aaron deeply sighed.
I waited. Aaron shook his lowered head that rested on his hand.
I waited. Aaron sighed again.
Good grief! Enough with the drama! Just tell me, Aaron!!
But I was quiet……and still I waited.
Then he looked up and I braced myself for what was to come.
“I took four ice cream bars,” he calmly told me.
I was nearly giddy with relief, but I did not let Aaron know that. But all those awful possibilities, and even worse, had vanished.
It was just four ice cream bars from our freezer. Yippee!!
“So Aaron, how many of the bars did you eat?” I asked as I stifled my smile.
“Three,” he answered. No more info.
“Soooo,” I queried, “where is the other one?”
“In there,” he said as he pointed down to the cabinet door in the end table beside him.
Ahhh. Had he heard me walking toward the family room and quickly hidden the ice cream bar? And then I sat down and he knew the bar would melt……and he was in a mess, in more ways than one. I took the still intact bar back to the freezer, and then Aaron and I had a discussion about deception and hiding things and disobedience…….and overeating.
All was well then. Aaron was sorry, and I was greatly relieved that the infraction was only four ice cream bars secretly taken.
But I did think that it was very appropriate that he had worn his striped jail shirt that day……..being the thief that he is.