Nearly every morning before Aaron leaves for his day group, I clean his glasses for him. They’re usually covered in finger prints and spots of who-knows-what and smears. The scratch marks in his supposed-to-be-unscratchable lenses won’t come off, but at least I’m able to get the worst of the gunk off so that he can see again.
At the end of this past week, as I once again cleaned his glasses, I thought of how I wished I could put on a pair of glasses that Aaron wears that would enable me to see the world through his eyes. I wish I could so easily and quickly understand and see the way that Aaron does………as easily as slipping on a pair of glasses and having my Aaron vision adjusted.
For two weeks he has been pretty miserable. He hasn’t wanted to go to his day group on most days, and when he has gone, he’s been a pill. He’s been vocal and loud, getting in trouble with other clients, and then ending up in tears. He hasn’t wanted to willingly go on the outings. And here at home one morning, he threw his remote and broke it. This is pretty typical for Aaron when he reaches the breaking point. He’ll break something that’s important to him, not something that doesn’t matter.
I really think that Aaron goes through these periods because something in his wiring is messed up for a time. When there is no specific event that triggers these episodes, and especially when they last for longer than a couple days, I feel that there is a disconnect going on………more than usual…….in his brain. Sometimes a seizure helps, of all things, and he did have one during this time. But still he continued to be most unhappy.
I also feel that he just can’t tolerate too much stimulus from people and from expectations of him that he feels he just can’t meet. It’s like he’s thinking: “I just don’t want to talk to anyone. I want peace and quiet. I don’t want to go on outings and I don’t want to be happy and I don’t want to be nice. And I don’t want to be nice and happy because I just can’t accomplish that right now.”
Of course, I could jerk a knot in his tail when we pulled up to meet his ride yesterday morning……….and it’s a new girl I haven’t met yet. We introduced ourselves, and when she said her name, Aaron blurted out, “Yes, and she’s ugly!!” He then laughed and laughed while I apologized and tried to get Aaron to do the same. This gracious (and pretty!) girl just smiled happily and said, “That’s OK. It’s just Aaron.” I could tell that she genuinely understood, as most of the staff does. We are blessed.
But some of the other clients, who have needs similar to Aaron’s or who just try to be nice to Aaron, are often the objects of his stinging comments……..made in fun, he says. No, Aaron, you don’t tell Ashley that her dad looks like Darth Sion (or whoever) from your Star Wars game! And you don’t grab her shoe and tell her to fetch as you throw it across the room……hitting her in the head in the process. Oh brother! Why are these things so funny to Aaron?
Yesterday morning, being Monday, saw me feeling tense about how Aaron would handle the fact that it was the beginning of another week……….a Monday that meant he had to go to Paradigm. He had a great weekend. He was relaxed and happy, including spending some time in his mulch outside enjoying the warm weather as he sorted out his thoughts. Maybe that’s why he ended up being in such a good mood yesterday.
I could tell right away that Aaron was different from the Aaron of the past two weeks. He lingered in the kitchen, talking happily, which is a good sign that we just might have a pleasant start to our day and our week. He started talking about how his remote broke, like his headphones have in the past, and how his blinds had fallen down the night before.
“Mom, it seems like things always happen to me!” he exclaimed.
“And whose fault is that?” I asked him.
“Not mine,” he answered.
“Excuse me?!” I blurted out in my best Mom voice.
“OK,” he said with a laugh. “Mine.”
He took ownership at that point, but I knew full well that he might have another broken object within the hour if things went sour for him………for whatever reason.
He was very pleased that he was able to open the kitchen window above the sink for me, all the way up very easily. “Wow! You’re strong!” I said.
“So do I look like I’ve lost weight?” he immediately asked. He didn’t even mind my laughter as I tried to follow his train of thought.
He also didn’t mind my laughter as I stood in his room later, his headphones on my ears as I listened at his insistence to the Star Wars music that he says sounds like Indian music.
“Is the music Indian?” he excitedly asked. So I asked him if he meant…..and I was struggling…….if he meant Indians like used to live in tepees or Indians from India?
He was struggling, too, as he asked, “Well, is it tepee of Indian or other Indian?”
I laughed and he waited for an answer.
I told him that this music was……….and I was still struggling………was majestic. There it is. Majestic.
He had no idea what I meant. Therefore, I had to come up with an example of majestic and thinking he would remember some of my CDs of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I mentioned them as an example. You know, Aaron, the beautiful music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is majestic.
“The Mormon Tackle Choir?!” he asked in disbelief.
He just took the majesty right out of it.
I mean, a tackling choir……….
I tried to explain and he tried to understand, but really it didn’t matter a lot. I think Aaron still believes that the music on his game is of some Indian origin.
We go through most of our days with Aaron listening to each other’s explanations and trying to understand each other’s world. Trying to see through Aaron’s glasses as he tries to adjust his vision to what most of the world expects. But sometimes he just can’t do that, no matter how often we lecture or how hard he tries. Thus he reacts with anger and loud words and throwing things that matter to him. He doesn’t even have the ability to just sit and talk about it……my favorite thing to do, if you ask those who know me. But not Aaron’s. Not by a long shot!
Last night at supper, Aaron wanted to monopolize the whole meal with talking about his favorite movie right now. He doesn’t know how to talk about feelings and issues, but he can talk about his favorite movie for hours. Finally, Gary told him to quit talking about the movie. Gary said, “If you would talk about your day…….where you went and what you did and what you ate……..then we would enjoy that.”
Aaron responded, “If I talk about that, THEN can I talk about the movie?!”
Here, Gary. Put on these glasses. Maybe they’ll help.