I remember when Aaron was just a little guy and we were stationed in Germany. Boxes of gifts from family would arrive before Christmas, full of presents for all of us. It was so exciting to place the bright packages under our little tree and see the happiness on the kid’s faces as they especially noticed each gift that had their name attached. On Christmas morning, we would open our gifts and watch with the delight that all parents experience as our children could hardly contain their excitement. It was a time of pure joy!
But Aaron quickly learned something about his gifts. Some of his presents contained clothing. Others contained toys. Toys tend to rattle. Clothes don’t rattle. So smart little Aaron would pick up a gift and give it a shake. If all was quiet inside the box, he would then toss it over his shoulder and move on to the next one. It really was hilarious. We caught him in the act on the video that we were making. Shake and toss. Shake and open. Shake and toss. And Aunt Sandra, after seeing the video that we mailed to her, declared that she would never send another gift of clothes to Aaron ever again!
We laughed and laughed over that. “But wait,” I said. “Clothes are wonderful! Maybe not to Aaron, but to us they’re great!!” Gary and I knew the value of clothing for our children when we lived under a tight budget. Aaron could care less, but he just didn’t understand their importance.
Life’s gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Some we know right away are amazing and will be treasured forever. Others are uncertain. And then there are those gifts that we want to shake and toss away. Gifts of hardship and pain……gifts that aren’t fun…..that definitely weren’t on our want list.
I recently received a wonderful gift from some old friends of ours. We came to know Bruce and Glenda at our first military duty station in Fort Carson, Colorado. Then we were also stationed near each other in Germany. Our kids played together when they were very young. Bruce and Glenda live in Alabama now, and are flying me there to spend a few days. I haven’t seen Glenda in years, though we’ve stayed in touch. It’s a gift that I didn’t need to shake! I knew right away what a precious gift it was. I leave today, in fact, and am so looking forward to this getaway with a dear friend.
Another gift of mine, in his own amazing way, is our Aaron. Of course, he’s our son and I love him with all my heart. His special ways of living life due to his seizures and autism, however, make him a very unique gift. Trust me, there are plenty of days that I wonder about this large gift of Aaron. There are many times that I want to shake and toss. I want to shake and toss Aaron!! But those moments are always balanced by the spurts of joy and laughter that he brings into our lives. He’s the whole package, that’s for sure!
For instance, last Friday we were listening to a CD on our way to his day group. He likes it when a song totally ends before he gets out of the van at Paradigm. As we pulled up to the curb on Friday, the song seemed never ending. I had errands to run and then an appointment at 1:00, so I finally told Aaron that I really had to go. I told him that he could finish the song the next time we played this CD. Aaron didn’t like that idea at all, but he finally agreed. However, to register his disapproval, he gave me a resounding hit on my arm before he left the van. It hurt! And it made me very angry. Yet off he strode as if nothing at all was wrong.
I drove away in frustration. See what I mean? Aaron can go from happy to hurtful in a flash. It was a time I really would have shaken and tossed that gift. Yet I know better. I know that God gave us Aaron and that he is indeed a beautiful gift, not to be shaken and tossed, but to be opened and enjoyed. It sure takes a lot of patience sometimes, though! More than I often have on my own, for sure.
Yet that evening, Aaron bounded in the house with a little wrapped butterscotch candy in his hand. His driver, Paulette, had given Aaron a wrapped candy and then gave him one for me. Aaron was so excited to give me this little candy, and wanted me to eat it right away. It was close to supper and I told him I would wait. Aaron made sure, for the rest of the evening, that I didn’t forget his gift to me. He talked and talked about that candy.
“It’s one of those sucking things,” he described. And he ran up to my desk that night to retrieve the piece of candy and bring it to me, hovering nearby until I finally ate it.
Aaron can go from hitting to hugging in no time. From grouchy to giving. His gifts are all over the place, but each one I must receive and enjoy. Well, not always enjoy but at least try to understand and appreciate.
He stood in front of me one evening like this.
“Take a picture and send it to Andrea!” he said. So I did just that as we both laughed at his silliness.
He just came downstairs this morning. One of the first things out of his mouth? “Mom? What do you think of Megatron and Optimus Prime versing each other?”
And we’re off and running, as always.
I’m still unwrapping all the layers of this Aaron gift that we’ve been given. And remembering the verse that I read this morning.
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen!” (Romans 11:36)
No shaking and tossing allowed.