I’ve been trying to decide how to write this blog post….or if I even should write it. Yes, I think I should. But how to do it in a way that doesn’t make Aaron look “bad” or make me look selfish. Yet the truth is, Aaron isn’t bad but I am sometimes selfish. I’m human and I get tired, but I also have to acknowledge where my roots often rest…..and that’s sometimes in soil that grows some undesirable attitudes.
Tuesday night saw Aaron having four large seizures, so I was up four times with him. I did sleep some between the episodes, which I often am not able to do, but still I was tired that morning. I stayed up after Aaron’s last early seizure, and later I did the usual clean-up. I stayed close to him as he lay on the couch for the rest of the morning, waiting to see if he had another seizure. I had the laundry going and was able to do some other things while I sat there at the kitchen table. I was on Psalm 18 that morning in my study time, which was perfect for me. My favorite verse is there….verse 29. “For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.”
I felt very thankful as I sat there. God seemed to be prompting me to focus on thankfulness. I was thankful that Aaron was for the moment seizure free, warm, and safe. Thankful that this wasn’t the day I was to take Nora to an important doctor appointment. Thankful that my washing machine and dryer were just steps away, convenient and functioning. Thankful that Aaron’s seizures aren’t far worse, as so many of our friends experience with their children. Thankful that I don’t have to work, because it would be nearly impossible for me to do so. Thankful for coffee. Very thankful for coffee!
Later, Aaron woke up and he struggled to get off the couch. After a few minutes, as he sat with me at the kitchen table, he told me that his arm was hurting. I think he sprained it during one of the seizures. Soon I asked him if he would want to eat, and we figured out together that some Cream of Chicken soup would hit the spot. He was worried, though, that with his right arm hurting he would not be able to lift the soup spoon to his mouth. Therefore, I demonstrated to him how he could eat by bending close over the bowl. Aaron sometimes doesn’t like us to use our hands to demonstrate some action. Don’t ask me why, but sometimes it irritates him. So when I bent over to show him how he could eat, he snapped at me. “You don’t have to show me how to do it by going like this….” he said with irritation as he copied my movement.
It was as if he had thrown cold water in my face. I knew that he was feeling terrible…..I knew that he has never liked physical demonstrations like this……I knew that his autism makes him very blunt…..but I also knew at that moment that I felt very hurt. I just looked at him, and he knew very well that I was not happy. I didn’t say a word, but got up and fixed his soup. I got him all settled there at the table so he could eat, and I coldly told him that I was going upstairs to take my shower.
For some time, my thoughts were headed down Pity Path. How could Aaron treat me so rudely after all I’ve done for him? It was very easy to rehash all of my sacrifices for Aaron, and very easy to nurse my hurt. I was mostly silent toward him as the afternoon wore on around us. He seemed to be fine, watching a movie, so I slipped down to Dillon’s to run an errand I had hoped to run that morning, but couldn’t because of Aaron’s seizures…..how I had to sit with him and didn’t get to accomplish what I wanted when I wanted……how my day was interrupted and my schedule trashed…..
See how it went with my thoughts? Where was the thankfulness I had experienced earlier? Where was my, “…..with God I can leap over a wall?” I’ll tell you where it was. It was buried under my self-centered thoughts, my tired body and mind, and my feelings of being very unappreciated by my son. I had some major adjusting to do over the next hours, and some soul searching, as well.
We all have many moments of feeling just as I did on Tuesday afternoon. As a parent, spouse, sibling, friend, worker on the job, volunteer at church…..no matter where we are…..we will get our feelings hurt. And as the mother of a special needs child who also has autism, it’s easy to be hurt a lot. Aaron doesn’t have filters or feelings like we do. He must be reminded over and over to be kind, to think of other’s feelings, to react in a nice way instead of a blunt or harsh way, and on and on. He is very self-centered, and this is a huge reason why it doesn’t work if I am that way, too.
I think it was important for me, personally, at that moment to step back and remove myself from Aaron and the situation. The danger I faced, though, was in nursing my hurt instead of focusing on what God would do. What I allow my thoughts to focus upon will determine my attitude, and will even determine whether I sin in the situation or grow in it. To be hurt was normal. To let my roots sink into the hurt as I planted myself in it would not be beneficial or right.
Christ gave up a lot for me. How often do I react to Him with unthankfulness or pride? He didn’t hold on to his position as God’s Son, but emptied Himself of all that and became sin for me. That’s the best example I can follow as I experience the hurt and the tiredness of being a special needs Mom….or any of the other many roles I have in this life. It can’t be about me, or I will be continually frustrated. It must be about honoring Christ, and caring for Aaron.
Understanding how Aaron feels after seizures…..understanding his autistic way of viewing the world….is very necessary, as well. So is training him and reminding him of his actions, and how they can hurt or help others.
Understanding how I feel after Aaron’s seizures…..understanding my sometimes selfish way of viewing the world…..is also very necessary. Both must be recognized and dealt with before being allowed to get out of hand.
Well, back to my verse in Psalm 18. I didn’t exactly leap over that wall with God. He more or less had to lift and shove me over it. I wanted to sit at the base of the wall and lick my wounds, but He wouldn’t let me. I’m glad for that! Glad that He is patient and persistent with me. Glad that He shows me His love.
Just like we have to be with Aaron. It won’t be the last time, either. For me or Aaron, either one.