Last night Aaron came up to me and said, “Mom, the carpet in us kid’s bathroom is wet.” I asked him why the bath mat was wet. He answered, “Because when I finished my shower, I dried my other body. Then my feet were wet when I stepped on the rug.”
I just smiled. I wanted to ask him about his other body, but instead I just enjoyed the unique way that Aaron describes things and expresses himself. And I’ve been thinking since then about how many different ways Aaron reacts to life around him. He has many ups and many downs. Sometimes it really is like he has various bodies. Then Gary and I feel like we have a variety of bodies, too, in any given day as we react to how Aaron is reacting. We do get jerked around a lot, waffling between pleasant moments and pulling-out-our-hair moments.
Last Sunday, Aaron’s week started out nicely. He found something very special as we walked around the back yard. Only Aaron would find a turtle virtually hidden in our thick grass, up near our patio. I walked right past the turtle and then heard Aaron saying, “Look, MOM!!” I turned around to see him holding the turtle, poking his finger in to where the turtle was hiding his head as I warned him that he would get bitten. Aaron proudly held his find before he and Gary turned the turtle loose in the finger of the lake that comes onto our property. The turtle was still for a moment and then with a dive took off into the welcome water. Aaron was delighted, although he still was hoping he had found a turtle pet.
Later that night he talked to both Andrea and Andrew on the phone. He always has to tell Andrea about his latest movie that he’s watching, describing it in detail. She always shows great interest whether she really is or not. I would say she’s usually not. Neither are we, honestly. I have no idea how many movies it is now that Andrea is either supposed to rent to watch, or watch with Aaron when she comes home. Aaron probably won’t forget.
He talked to Andrew about racing, which is so unusual. There was a time when Aaron was very jealous of Andrew. He didn’t want to see him on ESPN when we watched an NHRA race, but now Aaron really enjoys seeing Andrew. It was fun to hear Aaron say, “Hey, Andrew, I see you on TV!” And Andrew acted surprised by that, to which Aaron affirmed that this was true. “Yes, I see you on TV!” So Andrew said, “Well, maybe someday I can wave and say hi.” Aaron’s face broke into a huge smile. “You would do that?” he asked. “You would wave and say hi on TV?” Andrew assured him that if he could ever do that, he would. “On TV?!” Aaron asked again. It was a sweet exchange between those two brothers. Aaron, who is the oldest, seeming again like the baby of the family in more ways than one.
On Monday, I worried that Aaron would have a hard time going to Paradigm, but he did beautifully that day…..and all week, actually. After the huge adjustment of returning to his day group after being gone for a month while he was sick, this second week of smooth sailing was so welcome. Even with Bryan gone this week on vacation, which meant that Aaron wouldn’t be helping work on houses, he still had no problem going every morning. Except for a little on Friday, but more on that later.
He came home on Monday in a very good mood. All was well and happy for our evening…..until I walked in the kitchen and saw him with a second glass of iced tea. I let him have one glass while we watch Wheel of Fortune, but he’s famous for trying to sneak in two glasses. I caught him in the act as he was putting the second glass to his lips, so I told him that the glass of tea was his special treat then. I wasn’t going to fix him anything else. And the tide turned. The mood darkened, dramatically. He became belligerent. The past few happy days came cascading down into defiance from Aaron. He hovered behind me on the computer, saying whatever mean thing he could think of without totally crossing the line. He gave his fake sinister laugh to add some effect. He would walk away for a minute, only to return and repeat his actions.
I finally had Aaron come into Gary’s study and sit on the floor. Gary and I talked and talked to him, not seeming to really make any headway at all. It was just amazing to see how his thought processes just don’t process at all like ours do. He wasn’t connecting the dots in any way like we do. It was just another lesson in frustration for Gary and me. Another evidence of Aaron’s different bodies, if you will. How quickly he can go from joy to anger, and how tremendously hard it is to reason with him.
Sometimes our bodies are tired, as are our spirits, and such was the case Monday night for Gary and for me. I’m thankful to have Gary by my side. He fills in many gaps for me, and I do for him as well. We’re a team…..a tired team on occasion. Finally that night, things calmed down and all was well when Aaron went to bed. We can only pray that something we said stuck in that brain of his. We know we have to keep trying.
Aaron had times of showing compassion this week, which always makes us very happy because typically Aaron is all about Aaron. He told us that he gave one of his bean burritos to Jennifer, his friend at his day group. And he gave her his water, according to him. He wanted to take some zucchini from our garden to Barb, which he did. He’s been known to sneak produce out of the house in one of his deep pockets, but this time he did it with my permission. He does sometimes love to share.
When we talked to Andrea later in the week, he was very concerned to find out that she was sick. She ended up having pneumonia in both lungs! He wanted to talk to her, but I resisted because I knew she really didn’t feel like it. But Aaron asked her right away if he gave her his sickness when we visited her in Houston, and he showed real concern for her. That was sweet to see.
On Friday morning, I had to go to the air base for some routine blood work for my yearly physical. I left early, but the lab was busy and so it took me longer to get home than I had planned. I knew when Aaron called me, sounding very down and sluggish, that we were in trouble. It was confirmed when he said he didn’t want to go to Paradigm. I got home to find an angry Aaron, but a dressed Aaron. You see, his routine was all messed up because I hadn’t been at the house. He slept a little later than usual, had to get his own coffee, and was just generally unhappy about the whole state of affairs. But of all things, miracles happen, and Aaron ended up going to his day group willingly. Another crisis avoided!
Then came seizures on Friday night/Saturday morning. Just three seizures and not as severe as they sometimes are, but still sad to see. Aaron’s body gets jerked around physically, that’s for sure. He slept later than usual yesterday morning, but woke up fully functional. That was a relief! Yet he was grouchy because of the seizures and not feeling well, so I had to tread lightly for awhile. Just another example of the many bodies of Aaron.
He made me laugh this week, as he often does……some days more than others. One morning I told him it was time to leave, but he told me to wait a minute. I repeated that we needed to go and he told me again that he was almost done…..just wait a minute. I looked in his room and found him, of course, watching the movie credits from the movie he just finished. He was rubbing his hands together, a sign of delight, and as always I laughed. The credits cannot be interrupted, so I waited until he was down to the very last word and then he happily turned the DVD off and away we went.
Then today, as we watched racing and he tried to catch a glimpse of Andrew, he ended up sitting like this.
Yes, that’s our cushioned ottoman lid on his head. Good balance, don’t you think?
But perhaps the sweetest thing was when we sat down for lunch today. He said he would pray, which he doesn’t often like to do. He almost always says two phrases when he prays. The phrases may vary, but there are almost always just two. Short and sweet. So we held hands and Aaron said, “Lord, thank you for this food.” He paused, then continued.
“Please help me feel…..I mean, help ANDREA feel better. Amen.”
That was his sweet body……and a sweet moment to cherish.