I was busy last night. How many days could I start a story with that same simple sentence? Gary and I are leaving tomorrow for Houston. We get to spend the weekend with Andrea…..YAY!!!……and she is going with us to see Andrew in a race on Sunday…….double YAY!!! You know how it is before a trip. So much to do….so much to remember…..and since we have a caregiver coming in to stay with Aaron and Jackson, it seems to double my busy load.
I was checking items off my to-do list while thinking of others that I had neglected to write down. Scurry here, scurry there…….and I heard a loud THUMP! I looked out of the bedroom door and saw Aaron standing there at the head of the stairs, looking in my direction…..his animal print blanket slung over his shoulder and his back-scratcher in his hand. He had hit the wooden door of the linen cabinets there in the hall. We had a little “staring at each other” session before I asked him why he had hit the door. I knew he wanted my attention, but I wanted to hear his version. He then told me that he was bored……and I then told him a few things about not hitting the door, etc., etc.
He lumbered down the stairs while I continued my packing and organizing……my scratching off the to-do list and adding to the to-do list. Finally, I was nearly finished with what I had wanted to accomplish for the evening. I thought about slipping down to my computer to catch up on emails and Facebook. Important stuff, you know. But I thought of Aaron. I thought of the real reason that he had hit the linen cabinet door. He wasn’t just bored. He wanted some time with me. That loud bang on the cabinet door conveyed much more to me that he was able…..or willing….to say.
By this time he had gone back to his room. I found him sitting there at his desk, headphones on and movie playing. Godzilla…..the old version…..1998. I knew what I was getting into as I leaned over and asked Aaron if he wanted to play a game of Skip-Bo. I was going to hear all about Godzilla……every detail. What kind of monster….where did he come from…..how he breathed fire……what his feet looked like……and his tail……and his ugly face…..
Aaron was so happy when I asked him if he wanted to play Skip-Bo. There we were, him talking rapidly……about Godzilla……while I shuffled the cards. We soon were playing our first game and I was feeling relaxed. I ignored my tablet nearby and my phone close at hand. I simply focused on Aaron. He talked and talked about a variety of things, happily and freely, as we played cards.
And then he stopped and he looked at me, making direct eye contact and lowering his voice while he said, “Mom, do you know what Rosie is to me?” Rosie is Aaron’s special friend. So I just stopped and I looked back into his blue eyes…..and asked him to tell me what Rosie is to him.
“She talks to me and she agrees with me,” he began. He proceeded to tell me that he and Rosie say things to each other, like when they went to Burger King, he said…..and Rosie pointed something out to him as they were leaving the restaurant. He told me that his other friend, Shauna, doesn’t do that. She doesn’t point things out to him like Rosie does, and she doesn’t ask for Aaron’s opinion like Rosie does. Shauna is sweet and wonderful, but Rosie is……well, Rosie.
Aaron continued trying to describe Rosie. “She makes me feel great,” he said. He spoke from his heart, not full of excitement but full of softness. This whole thing was so unlike Aaron. He wasn’t being loud or silly or using words he thinks are funny but aren’t. He was sincere, and he was so normal. Please don’t take that the wrong way, but Aaron rarely speaks like this. I was just treasuring this moment and sitting there in amazement, hoping it would last awhile longer.
“Rosie and I,” he said, “we have a bond.” There I sat, wondering what my face conveyed. Then Aaron said, “Mom, what’s a bond?” And then my face conveyed amusement as I laughed. He was repeating what he had heard, but immediately showed that he didn’t really understand what on earth a bond is anyway. He just knows that he and Rosie have one. So once again I talked to him about special friendships, how sometimes we just click with someone, and that special bond is formed.
“You know what?” he asked. “I’m older than her and she still likes me!” We laughed together this time and soon the moment was over. Aaron had found my little plastic rooster that Mary Beth gave me. It has special meaning and I keep it on my kitchen window sill above the sink. Aaron had picked it up and was comparing the rooster’s feet to Godzilla’s feet……and soon was trying to sneak the rooster into his pocket so he could take it to his room, never to be seen again.
I told him no…..that the rooster was mine. “That rooster is dumb for you but it’s cool for me, Mom!” he laughingly replied. Yep, old Aaron is back. Sincere, heartfelt conversation was over. But I was still relishing that time, and enjoying the remainder of our game.
And you know what else I would have missed if I had not stopped for this time with Aaron? I would have missed this.
See how Aaron arranges his cards in his discard piles? Isn’t that so cool? He laughed when I wanted to take a picture, and he was also quite proud that I thought this was important enough for me to want to photograph.
Important enough to photograph…..and important enough to take the time to really see and to really listen. I get tired, especially at night. I want “me time” as much as anybody…..and I get plenty of that, trust me. But last night I was once again reminded that it’s so worth it to stop……to focus on Aaron…..to listen and to absorb what this special son of mine is saying and thinking.
He teaches me……he delights me……he challenges me. I need to accept it all……not to brush it off in the midst of my busy schedule or in my tiredness or frustration. And when I do take the time, usually when it’s least convenient, is so often when I get those special blessings…..those glimpses into his heart, where he is real and sincere…..beyond all the gruff and the loudness.
God teaches me so much through Aaron….if I but take the time to listen.