I hear it all day long. I’m not exaggerating. Honest. At least all the part of the days that Aaron is home I hear it over and over.
He walks into the kitchen or wherever I am in the morning. Most days he begins his first of many words during the day with these words. Or if they are not the first words out of his mouth, they will be close to first.
“Mom, do you wanna…….?”
And then he often stops. He just stands there, thinking of how to fill in the blank after “wanna.” I used to ask what it was that he wanted, but I’ve learned to just wait. And many times, really, he doesn’t even complete the sentence. Sometimes it’s because this question is just a habit with Aaron. Sometimes he just asks it in order to get my attention. He asks without even a plan in mind as to how to finish the sentence. Other times, he does have a motive.
“Mom, do you wanna play Skip-Bo tonight?”
“Mom, do you wanna watch The Incredible Hulk tonight?”
“Mom, do you wanna take Jackson on a walk?”
“Mom, do you wanna take me to Dillon’s?”
“Mom, do you wanna give me extra money?”
I could continue for a long time filling in the blanks to “Mom, do you wanna……?” Just like Aaron does.
But really, a majority of the time Aaron never finishes his question. It’s like the unfinished conversation cloud hanging over his head in a comic strip, waiting to be completed but never is.
All parents know that repetitive questions from young children can be tiring. So it is with me and the “Mom, do you wanna……?” But it’s not just that it’s tiring to hear it all the time.
I’ll admit that I sometimes get weary of being the usual object of his question. I know however he fills in the blank….the long pause….it will somehow involve me. I can no more than pull my chair up to my computer after a tiring day and I soon hear Aaron’s loud thumping down the stairs from his room. Thump, thump, thump down the first flight of stairs. Is he going to stop in the kitchen for a snack and go back to his room?
Nope! Thump, thump, thump down the second flight of stairs……where he then stands behind me and stares at my computer screen, maybe loudly chewing gum. And I wait, usually not very long.
“Mom, do you wanna…….?”
So honestly, at that point, I feel a little put upon. No, Aaron, I do not wanna…….
I might be tired physically at the end of the day. But there are many times that I’m tired in spirit. Like I said, tired of being the one that Aaron comes to as he fills in the blank after “do you wanna……”
It’s a normal parent emotion, that conflict between loving your child totally yet needing some space. But when your child is a grown man and he has special needs, the emotions of spirit tiredness can cause great guilt. I have nice breaks from the responsibility of Aaron while he’s at his day group. I’m very thankful for that. Yet there are times at home that Gary and I both feel the weight of being caregiver and companion to our Aaron.
My friend, Wendy, recently wrote about this on her Care Page that she has for their son, Elijah. Elijah, who prefers to be known as Mr. Speedy, has significant special needs. We’ve been friends with their family for a long time. Dan, Wendy, Jeremiah, and Elijah even came to the NHRA race at Topeka to see us and Andrew.
So read what Wendy said:
As I read my text back to myself, ” E and Me…” I think how I often I write those words. I smirk to myself with a light heart; yet heavy sigh and realize this is my life, my calling, my journey. As the rest of the kids move on and become more independent, E and me are the constant. You can be sure you never have to wonder where E is for where you find (mom) me, you find E.
How could I ever feel lonely? I have Jesus and my super hero, Speedy, making every day a story to reread. Something about the days with my Super Speedy give me a reason to giggle and reflect on how wonderful life is with my special E. His world is heavenly; childlike and simple; the way the Lord wants mine to be.
Wendy’s sweet, powerful words did me good. Really good. Often, seeing life through another’s similar eyes is just what I need in order to see my life more clearly. As Wendy said, sometimes our lives are very childlike and simple, kept that way by the lives of our boys. I may at times sigh and wish it wasn’t so, but it is. And there is joy in that simplicity, even on the hard days.
Maybe I need to fill in the blanks to Aaron’s constant question more often. “Mom, do you wanna…….?”
Aaron, I wanna see you healthy and safe.
Aaron, I wanna see you enjoy life.
Aaron, I wanna see you as happy as you are when you find your favorite “croysants,” as you call them.
Or as happy as you are when you always, always stand in the back corner of the elevator at the doctor’s office……so you can feel the movement better.
Aaron, I wanna capture your ability to experience life’s simple joys with great delight, just as much as if you were looking at the Eifel Tower or the Taj Mahal. A lady bug, a dandelion, a frog, a song……they still tickle you to pieces. That’s a gift!
Aaron, I wanna continue to be your favorite Skip-Bo partner……even when you cheat, and you laugh when I say, “Cheater, cheater – Pumpkin eater!!”
Aaron, I wanna count my blessings with you instead of numbering some things as burdens.
And when I feel burdened, I wanna take it to my Heavenly Father before I unload on you.
I wanna count it all joy, and know that when I don’t, God understands and He has new mercies every morning…..new yet unchanging.
Just like something else that’s unchanging.
“Mom, do you wanna…….?