I Almost Missed It

A little after 6:00 yesterday morning, I heard a loud thump coming from Aaron’s room.  I opened his door to find him lying on the floor beside his bed.  He had obviously fallen out of bed, but why?  I didn’t hear a seizure, so I assumed that he had just been too close to the edge of his bed and ended up tumbling out onto the floor.  But he wasn’t waking up and I was wondering what had happened.  He’s too big for Gary and me to lift, so I had to leave him there after checking him for injuries and hope that he woke up soon.

He did awaken and climb back into bed.  Later, when he got out of bed and had taken his shower, he came into my bathroom where I was readying for the day.  “Mom,” he said in a low voice.  “I don’t feel well.  My head hurts.”

I looked at him and saw a red mark on his forehead where he had hit his head on the lower shelf of his nightstand when he fell out of bed.  Poor Aaron.  Sometimes it seems that if something’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to Aaron.

After talking to him for a few minutes, I decided to let him stay home for the day.  I was mentally shifting gears then as I rearranged my schedule somewhat, knowing that Aaron would be home.  It’s really not a life changing big deal, usually, to keep Aaron at home on days that I don’t plan on him being home.  But I do have to shuffle some things around that are on my list for that day.  Like I said, not a big deal on most days……but it can be an inconvenience. 

There’s another element, too, in keeping Aaron at home.  I’ll be honest…..I enjoy my alone time and am refreshed during my breaks from Aaron.  I feel selfish to say that, but all parents understand what I mean.  As I make a decision to keep Aaron with me all day, I know that I might end up frustrated as the day progresses.  He likes to shadow me all day between his times on his computer, talking constantly about things that either don’t interest me or that I have heard over and over and over. 

It’s at those times that I know I have a decision to make…..basically, be content or be miserable.  Be understanding or be irritated.

I was thinking about these things this morning as I heard a man on the radio talking about his unplanned health issues that have severely impacted his life.  He said that he has learned not to let his joy be dictated by his circumstances.

On a much, much smaller scale, that is the decision I faced yesterday.  And it’s the decision that I face on many days, not just concerning Aaron, but concerning every aspect of my life. 

Do I allow my circumstances to dictate my joy……or do I let God dictate my joy even IN my less than ideal circumstances?

God tells me to be content in every situation, with thankfulness to boot.  I don’t even want to tell you how many times I mess that up!

I thought back on yesterday with Aaron and was struck by what I would have missed had I not kept Aaron at home…….other than tons of talk about the movie Battle Los Angeles; his new delight in playing Battleship on his computer as he expounds on EVERY. SINGLE. WEAPON.; and whether Charlie Daniels is from the north, the south, or the west, and is he a cowboy singer or a country singer; and so much more.  Really.  Much, much more.

So what would I have missed?

I would have missed his heartfelt hug, so rare on most days from Aaron.

I would have missed him at lunch, saying, “I’ll wait for you to eat with me, Mom, so we can pray.”  Then holding his hand and listening to HIM pray his simple, sweet prayer.

I would have missed him asking if he could do the watering of my porch plants.  Look at his tongue!  🙂

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I would have missed him going with me to Dillon’s, where he asked if he could buy two thank-you cards for Barb and Brandy at Paradigm.

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I would have missed watching him prepare those cards, and ask if he could include a Papa Murphy’s coupon in each one.

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I would have missed the opportunity for God to once again speak through these simple things to my sometimes stubborn, selfish heart.  I am living the life that God planned for me.  It’s not a bad life at all, but not necessarily the path of life that I would have chosen if I had been given the option to plan it all myself.  I mean, I’m the age where I should be an empty nester and have freedom…..right?

Nope.  Not at this point, and maybe never.  But there is so much joy, even in the frustrations, because I have learned that God is good and His plan is good.  HIS plan……not mine, always. 

So yeah, my circumstances should not dictate my joy.  My joy is dictated by God IN my circumstances. 

Being thankful is a huge part of my joy.  It’s really the key that opens the door to joy, but it’s the hardest thing to do sometimes.  It’s pretty cool that Aaron wanted to buy those thank-you cards yesterday.  I need one to continually hand to God, every day, many times.

I bet Aaron could help me with that.

Oh wait……he already has.   

 

The Skies From My Window

Many of you know that I love taking pictures of our pretty Kansas sky.  My favorite place to take those pictures is from the window in one of our upstairs bedrooms.  This bedroom will always be, to us, Andrea’s room – even though she moved from home several years ago.  When I see a particularly pretty sky I will run upstairs, open the window and lift the screen, and fire away with my phone camera.   

As I look back on these pictures, I find that no two are the same.  Absolutely every shot of our sky, on every day that I took those shots, is entirely different……if there are clouds involved, that is.  I don’t usually take pictures of a totally blue sky, though blue skies are nice.  But after a while, completely blue skies would be a little boring. 

Sometimes the pictures are simply beautiful, like the one I snapped last night.  Isn’t this just breathtaking?

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Some inspire awe, like this one.

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Sometimes I see life.

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Other times the seasons show themselves.

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This one view, from the same windows…..the same vantage point……is anything from being the same, day by day. 

It’s a lot like my circumstances in life……like yours, too, I’m sure.  Our circumstances change, sometimes often and other times less frequently.  At times the changes are dramatic.  Other times the changes come subtly, but they come regardless.

Our circumstances may be pleasant, and some of the changes we go through can be happy and pleasant as well.

But other circumstances are painful or shocking, involving deep hurt……fear……dread. 

Last week I found out about two friends who were just diagnosed with cancer.  And I took another friend for some testing after an X-Ray showed something suspicious.  We are still awaiting her results.  Some have already received disturbing news…..others are still waiting, with dread, on what may be.

My circumstances……my surroundings……can on one day fill me with peace and on the next day fill me with worry.  It’s like my view of our sky from the upstairs windows.  Sometimes peaceful…..

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Sometimes stormy……

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I’ve been reading through the book of Exodus.  Moses certainly experienced a variety of circumstances in his life……plenty of high’s and low’s.  From a basket in the bulrushes to the palace.  From the palace to the desert.  From shepherding sheep to leading a nation.  From the parting of the Red Sea to the grumbling of that unhappy nation.  From speaking to God on the mountain to confronting idol worship at the foot of the mountain.  From obedience to anger. 

After the Israelites had given up on Moses and turned to worshipping the golden calf, Moses and God both were pretty angry.  Moses went back to God after things settled down a bit and he prayed.  He said, “God, let me know your ways that I may know you….” 

God’s answer? “And He said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.” 

God’s presence is all that His people needed……and it’s all that you and I need.  He’s promised to be with us, and He’s promised to give His children rest. 

Two things I’ve learned in the years that I have lived.  First, don’t look to my surroundings for rest…..even in the good times.  When life is going well, with sunny skies and soothing views ahead, those things should not be the source of my rest and peace.  I’m thankful when life is pleasant, but pleasantness is not the source of rest.  Only God is to be my strength and my peace.  Knowing Him and depending on Him, following Him and trusting Him, is still the number one thing I need to do when the skies are sunny and beautiful.

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Second, I’ve learned to also not let my surroundings…..my circumstances……pull me down and rob me of rest.  This happens so easily when skies are stormy and life is stressful.  Bad news…..stressful relationships……more bills than we have money……wayward children……    We all know what it’s like.  Life is full of the hard times, unfortunately, and they often happen suddenly.  At other times we live under the stresses day after day as they gradually take their toll.  But still, the rough times are to be a time of rest……..and they can be if we know the same God that Moses knew. 

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For God’s promise to Moses is our promise as well:  “My presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.”  (Exodus 33:14)

Remember I said that pictures of blue skies would get boring?  I love blue skies, but honestly the best pictures occur when clouds are present. 

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So it is with us.  I believe the best lessons are learned when we have some clouds in our lives.  Deeper trust and greater joy have been my experience during the stormier times of life. 

Those clouds also bring a more intimate walk with God, full of so much beauty.  Hopefully I can reflect Him more as I walk closer beside Him. 

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And I can rest.  I don’t know today how God will give me rest, but He has said He will and I believe Him. 

Rest, and enjoy the view, because with God life is stunning.

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Heading Into the Fog

God has a path for each of His children. Sometimes it involves suffering, sometimes not. But walking in His path always involves our obedience.

He Said What?!

I set out on Monday morning for the last day of the Bible study that I have been taking this winter. It was a very foggy morning. As I turned down 151st street, near my home, this is what I saw ahead.

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Later, as I sat with several other precious women around a table in a beautiful conference room, we shared with each other what we feel that God is laying on our hearts as our divine burden. It was a sweet time as we bared our hearts to each other, many times with tears, of what God has impressed upon us to be or to do. A common element among us was the fact that we have a burden…..perhaps a calling…..but we don’t know where it will lead.

“I don’t know what God will do with this.”

“I don’t know how God will use this.”

“I don’t know…

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It Makes Me Think

I wrote earlier about Aaron’s difficult day on Monday, and about his desire to take a “sorry card” to his friend whom he had hurt.  ( Another “Sorry Card”)  Time now for a quick update.

I walked into Aaron’s room on Tuesday morning, carrying his cups of coffee and finding him sitting on the edge of his bed.  He was writing in his log book the precise time that he was getting out of bed, and still trying to fully awaken.  I know not to talk a lot to Aaron first thing in the morning.  He needs time to process his new day, time to drink his coffee, time to shower…..and I need time to evaluate his mood.  So I said a simple good morning as I put his coffee on the bookshelf beside his desk.  He never even looked at me, which is typical.

But he did speak. 

“I don’t want to go today,” he softly said.  “I have a headache.”

I never know if he really has a headache, or if he’s just trying to get fully awake.  I don’t try to talk him OUT of having a headache, and neither do I encourage him to indulge his headache. 

“I’m sorry,” I said as I walked out of his room.  “I’m getting in the shower now.”

“I don’t want to go today,” he repeated.

“But what about the “sorry card” and Burger King coupon for J, and the pillow for S, and the green pepper for Barb?” I asked.

He was silent.

I went on about my morning.  I heard him taking a shower and then later heard him on his computer, yelling happily…..which is always a good sign that his outlook has brightened.

I went to his room for his glasses so that I could clean them before we left for Paradigm.  There lay the pillow for S, and the “sorry card” for J, near his empty coffee cups. 

“I’m going, Mom,” he said.  He even sounded cheery, and I was very relieved.

We walked out the door later, Aaron carrying a bag in which we had placed the pillow and the green pepper.  His “sorry card” for J, along with the Burger King coupon, were in a plain envelope and placed in the bag as well.

Aaron went into Paradigm with no hesitation when I dropped him off at the curb.  I prayed as I drove away, that Aaron would be happy and kind and would actually give his gifts to his friends…..especially the “sorry card” to J, for that was most important.

That afternoon my phone rang.  The caller ID displayed Barb’s name, and my heart dropped a little.  Sometimes Aaron calls me using Barb’s phone, and some of those times it’s because he’s unhappy.  Sometimes Barb calls me, though rarely, but usually it’s because Aaron is having a really rough day.  Sometimes Aaron also calls just to loudly laugh and tell me how much fun he is having.  Sometimes answering that phone is like playing Russian Roulette.  I just don’t know what pressing that answer button will bring.

“MOM!!!!” Aaron yelled into the phone.  And I immediately knew that he sounded like all was well.  “I wanted to tell you something!!”

“OK,” I simply answered, hoping for the best.

“I’ve been having a good day!” he continued.

“That’s wonderful!” I replied.  “Did you give J the “sorry card” and the coupon?”

“YES!!!” he said.  “WAIT, MOM!!!  WAIT!!!!” he eagerly said.

Now this always means that Aaron is getting ready to hand the phone off to someone else.  Often it’s Barb, and I’ll hear Aaron say to her, “My mom wants to tell you something!”  And Barb knows full well that I didn’t say I wanted to tell her something, so she gets on the phone laughing and she hears me laughing, and we talk for a minute while Aaron – I’m quite sure – is standing nearby rubbing his hands together furiously.

So on this day I was prepared to once again hear Barb’s voice, but it wasn’t.  I heard a young man’s voice haltingly saying hello to me.  He was a little hard to understand, but I figured he was J.

“Is this J?” I asked him.  He said yes.

“Thank you for the card and the coupon,” he said.

“You’re very welcome, J,” I told him.  “I’m sorry that Aaron hit you.”

“Oh, it’s OK,” he replied.  And he said something else about the coupon.  I could tell he was very happy with that, and with the “sorry card,” too.

He handed the phone back to Aaron, who told me with great exuberance that he had also given the pillow to S and the green pepper to Barb.  We soon hung up, with me feeling very happy for Aaron.

As we drove home that afternoon from Paradigm, we talked about how much it meant to J to get the card and especially the coupon.  We talked about how S smiled when Aaron gave her the pillow.  We talked about how Barb thanked him for the green pepper. 

And we especially talked about how happy it made Aaron when he was kind to his friends……how much better he felt on this drive home because of being nice.

These are simple, elementary truths that seem so hard for him to retain.  Aaron wants to be nice.  He really does.  But his impulses and his lack of filters sometimes drive his “nice” desires out of his brain quickly as he responds to the moment.

The next morning, Wednesday, Aaron wanted me to go inside Paradigm when I dropped him off.  He wanted me to talk to S about the pillow he had given her.  Sometimes my to-do list makes it hard for me to agree to anything extra, but something told me that I should do this for Aaron.  So I parked the van and we both got out, walking inside his day group together.

Aaron immediately strode over to the wheelchair where S was sitting, and I followed. 

“S!!!!” Aaron said, rubbing his hands together.  “Here’s my mom!!!!”

I felt like I was Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune.  “Here’s Vanna White and Pat Sajak!!!!!” 

I walked around to where S could see me, and I patted her arm as I told her hello and asked how she’s doing.  S always says that she is fine, as she is all bent over in her chair.  She amazes me as she does something else I always see when I am with her……she smiles.  A huge, sweet smile.

“Did you like the pillow that Aaron gave you?” I asked her.  There was that wonderful smile again as she looked up at me and said a simple, “Yes.”  But her smile said it all.  It must mean a lot to her, in her limited world, to have friends.  I know that Aaron understands that.

One day, when talking to me about his friendship with her, Aaron said to me, “S doesn’t have much friends.  Am I her friend?”  I told him that he is indeed her friend…..a good friend.

“It makes me think I don’t know what to think,” he answered after some thought.

How sweet!  How telling! 

Friendships do matter to Aaron, very much.  He just doesn’t always know how to make them…..how to maintain them……how to express his feelings to his friends without being loud and rough. 

But sometimes he does, like with S.  He talks a lot to us about her limitations and he feels empathy for her.  So even if he thinks he doesn’t know what to think, the very fact that he IS thinking about these things is very positive to us.  We’re thankful that this week turned out so well…..that Aaron hopefully learned some important lessons…..and that those lessons will actually STICK in his brain!!

Because trust me, there are many many days that Gary and I look at each other after an Aaron episode and scratch our heads.

Aaron’s words could easily be our words:  It makes us think we don’t know what to think!!!

But I do think that this week has been mostly positive, for me and for Aaron and hopefully for his friends. 

It makes me think that we have a very special son, even when he makes me think I don’t know what to think!

And that’s just how it is around here.

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Another “Sorry Card”

I pulled up in front of Aaron’s day group today, waiting for him to come outside and wondering as I always do in what mood I would find him.  He wasn’t very happy to go this morning.  Mondays are often difficult for Aaron, like they are for many who must return to work or school.  Problem is, Aaron isn’t always able to filter his frustrations, so he may be angry and rude as he expresses his Monday morning blues.  But he did go this morning, carrying his bag as he got out of the van…….his bag holding two bottles of water from the house, two sausage biscuits and two boxes of Hot Tamales from Quik Trip, and two cucumbers from our garden.  The water and the food was for Aaron.  The cucumbers were for whomever he decided to give them to today.

Aaron’s language of love toward others is definitely sharing.  I have to watch him or he might try to sneak things out of the house that I don’t want him to share.  Or he might bring a smile, as he did a couple weeks ago, when he put a few okra from our garden into his pocket…..and gave several of the staff at his day group AN okra.  One okra.  I’ve wondered if they think me a bit stingy.

Anyway, I sat in front of Paradigm today trying to prepare myself for whatever form of Aaron would soon be climbing in the van beside me.  Happy Aaron?  Sad Aaron?  Tired Aaron?  Angry Aaron?  It’s so much like still having a kindergartner in school, going to pick them up and waiting for their stories of the day, and seeing what frame of mind they are in.  Except that all the clients at Paradigm are adults, not young children.  My Aaron is nearly 32 years old and weighs 225 pounds!  He is grown up, but sometimes still his issues are not. 

He walked out today with Barb, his very loving staff, holding Piper the resident therapy dog.  Along with Aaron and Barb walked one of Aaron’s friends who often comes to the van with Aaron to see if I have brought our big Jackson.  I could tell that Aaron looked like he had been crying at some point, and I was right.  As the van door opened, Aaron’s mouth also opened as he told me that he had gotten mad at J for telling him to be quiet so that another client could sleep…..and Aaron thought that J was being bossy…..and Aaron didn’t like a hand motion that he said J made (nothing bad – Aaron just really doesn’t like other’s hand motions)…..and so Aaron hit J in the back…..really hard. 

Oh dear.  Children’s issues but in adult bodies.  Barb was kind and supportive as Aaron declared that he did not want to come to Paradigm tomorrow, telling him that she hoped he would come, but not pushing the issue.  I said a little but not much, knowing it’s best to let the dust settle first.  More soft words from Barb and then she mentioned that he gave his two cucumbers away…..and his little friend standing behind Barb brightened, opened her purse, and pulled out one of the large cucumbers.  Aaron brightened, too, and my heart softened for this man/boy who has so many conflicted emotions in any given day, today included.  The moment suddenly turned sweet and funny, his little friend happily holding up her cucumber with a big smile on her face.  These special adults can touch me so deeply if I just pause to soak it all in.

Reality hit again as Aaron and I drove away.  He told me once more that he didn’t want to go back tomorrow.  I was seeing a long evening ahead of anger and sadness, with Gary getting hit with it as soon as he unknowingly walked in the door.  So I calmly talked to Aaron for probably the zillionth time about not hitting people, about how that holds him down in life, and how someday he might get hurt. 

He turned on the CD of Zac Brown.  “Don’t talk, Mom,” he instructed.  “Let’s just listen.”

This suited me fine.  We hit the three lane and rode in silence in rush hour traffic.  Finally, he reached over and turned off Zac Brown.

“Mom?” he asked.  “Can we go to Dillon’s and let me get a sorry card?”

What?!  Aaron’s mood had dramatically changed.  As he has in the past, he wanted to once again get a “sorry card” for someone he had hurt.  But this change had happened quickly.  He was sincere and quiet as we talked about it.  I told him that we had cards at home he could use, and he was satisfied with that. 

“And can I bring Barb an okra?” he continued.  I suggested a green pepper instead, and he was excited at that idea.

“Mom?” he asked again.  “I’d like to bring S a stuffed animal.  That’s why I wanted to bring her my spider.”  But I reminded him that his cute stuffed spider was a special gift from Bruce and Glenda, from Hawaii, and he shouldn’t give that away.  I told him we would look for something else to give S…..his very special friend who is wheelchair bound, all bent over, and the girl with whom Aaron loves to share his food and his conversation. 

I can’t explain the positive change in Aaron’s mood, but I sure have been praying lately about his hitting and his anger at times.  Praying, too, as Gary and I get so tired some days.  So I may not be able to explain Aaron’s happiness tonight, but I can say thank-you to God for allowing it. 

I ended up finding an ancient little “sorry card” that I had saved in my ancient container of cards……two “sorry cards,” in fact……so Aaron chose the one he wanted to give J.  Later, he saw the Burger King coupons from yesterday’s paper that he had cut out.  He asked if he could give one to J, so we chose one to cut out and include with the “sorry card.”

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Then I showed him one of the green peppers from our garden that he could give to Barb, and it met his approval. 

Finding something for S was a little more difficult, but I remembered a very soft pillow stuffed with tiny microbeads, a pillow that Aaron never uses.  He set it aside in his room, ready to take to S tomorrow. 

I was happy that I had started supper early because Aaron wanted me to play the Frog in the Pond game on the Atari system that Gary hooked up to Aaron’s computer.  We laughed and laughed and laughed at me trying to get the frog to catch the bugs.

Aaron offered to set the table for supper.  He fed Jackson a piece of asparagus stalk.  He didn’t dump bad news on Gary when he came home from work.  He told Gary all about our Atari game and all about his sharing plans for tomorrow, but barely was mention made of his rough spot today and why he needed to give J a “sorry card.”  We watched Wheel of Fortune, and we laughed ourselves silly at the Nexium commercial with the man who was made into a burrito.

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I pray that tomorrow morning, when Aaron wakes up and is tired, that he doesn’t change his mind about all that he has planned for tomorrow.  I pray that he is excited about all the things he plans to take to give away, especially the “sorry card.”  That’s the most important of all. 

I’m grateful for this happy evening, and I know that it is one to which I can direct Aaron as an example of how to handle life’s rough patches.  I can honestly tell Aaron that he was a wonderful example to ME of how to overcome anger and frustration. 

Sharing touches a loving chord in Aaron’s soul.  It always has.  I need to work with that more, and get creative.

I can see a trip to Dollar Tree in our future.  We need to restock Aaron’s “give away” items, or I may be missing some dishes…..towels…..jewelry……

 

 

 

 

I Held A Butterfly

My attitude and perspective make a huge difference in how I view each of my children, especially Aaron.

He Said What?!

I’ve had a bit of an up-and-down weekend for several reasons – finding myself sometimes nostalgic as I think of Gary’s and my role as parents to our three wonderful children.  It’s been the most fulfilling calling of our lives, that’s for sure.  Sometimes challenging, too, as it is for every parent.  Now Andrea and Andrew have moved to other states as they pursue their own callings at this point in their lives………..Andrea in grad school studying genetics, and Andrew living his dream of working for a professional NHRA drag race team. 

And we have life with our special Aaron, still living at home and treating us to his unique view of life every single day………whether we totally relish his unique view or not.  For at times his unique take on life may be funny……..or it may be interesting………..or eye-opening………..or tiring……….or maddening.   But never dull.  Never, ever dull.

This morning…

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Aaron’s Love Songs

It’s been awhile since I’ve really written about Aaron.  So many days I want to write, but somehow life prevents me from doing what I would love to do.  I mean, do we really need clean clothes, food on the table, errands run, garden tended, a somewhat tidy and clean house, etc., etc., etc.?!  Then so much time goes by that I lose my momentum……lose the feel of those special Aaron moments…..and so I go on, hoping to recapture them and share them later.

Aaron and I are coming off of a fun, long Labor Day weekend.  It was sad for me because Gary’s Uncle Bob went to heaven on Friday morning.  This was awesome for Uncle Bob, but of course has left a huge hole of grief in the hearts of those that he loved and who returned that love so deeply.  He was a great man.  As Gary checked the price of plane tickets Friday evening, the realization quickly sank in that we could not both go home for Bob’s funeral.  I was very thankful that Gary did go.  At first he said no to that idea, but he really needed to be there with his family.  He’s so glad he did.

Aaron was my shadow for a large part of our long weekend.  We went out to eat……watched movies here at home…….took walks around our back yard with Jackson……washed and ate garden veggies…….enjoyed sitting on the patio and seeing our Hummingbirds at the feeders……watched Wheel of Fortune……and did a little shopping. 

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And I captured one of the best pictures of Aaron ever as we ate at Jose’ Peppers.  Isn’t this just great?

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On our Wal-Mart trip, Aaron went on his way to the electronics while I browsed some on my own…..knowing that I would probably find Aaron later, when I went to pick him up, with some discovered jewel of a movie in his hand.  Sure enough, that happened…..but I was able to dissuade him from the need to buy it now since his birthday and Christmas are looming on the horizon. 

In his other hand, though, he carried a CD.  Any of you who know Aaron know that he loves music.  He loves listening to music any time that the van door closes and the engine starts.  He becomes super focused……another word for obsessed……with whatever current artist is filling his ears with music.  He will announce every song as the number on the CD changes, then sit back and listen closely.  Then at home he will look their songs up on his computer and love every minute of watching them perform.

When it was Neil Diamond, for instance, Aaron one evening said to Gary, “Dad!  Mom and I are listening to Neil Diamond!  Mom likes number 11!!”  Then he paused, because surely Dad knew what song is #11.  When he realized that Dad was not at all adept with knowing #11, Aaron patiently said, “It’s Song Sang Blue.”  Never mind that it’s really Song SUNG Blue.  Aaron isn’t concerned with grammar.

Aaron continued telling Gary about Neil Diamond.  “He always carries a gu-tar.”   “Why does he like a gu-tar?”   “Is that his favorite instrument?”   “He has funny hair.” 

And later, as he and I played Skip-Bo, Aaron suddenly asked, “Why do you like number 11?  Is the sound of that song kind of cute to you?”  So Song Sang Blue was thoroughly discussed, dissected, analyzed, and hopefully understood after we were done.

Back to Wal-Mart and the CD in his hand.  Aaron loves, loves, loves Ronnie Milsap.  He was totally thrilled as he held out his newly found CD for me to see.  “MOM!!  I found Ronnie Milsap!!!!”

Yes, it was Ronnie Milsap all right……Ronnie Milsap Gospel. 

“Aaron, I’m not sure you’ll like this so much,” I told him.  “It’s gospel music.”

“Please, Mom?!!  Can I get it??” he begged.

So I said yes, and we immediately put it in to play as soon as the van door closed and the engine started.  As the sounds of How Great Thou Art filled the van, Aaron bent over and rubbed his hands together every bit as much as if the Beach Boys were singing about girls on the beach, as Aaron says.

Aaron repeats a phrase of the last song, usually, that we listen to as we drive home.  We hear it over and over and over and over for the rest of that day.  So on Monday, many times, I heard Aaron singing these four words – “How great Thou art.”  “How great Thou art.”  “How great Thou art.” 

And on Tuesday, back at his day group, Barb texted to tell me something and then she said, “Aaron was singing How Great Thou Art earlier.”  HaHaHa!  Isn’t that just the best?  Maybe that’s why he was having such a great day.  And he also took some of our garden tomatoes to share, giving some to his friend Yolanda, a fellow client.  Look at this picture of happiness.

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Last night Aaron wasn’t feeling well at all.  He said his head and stomach hurt, and at 8:30 he wanted to go to bed.  “Maybe I suddenly caught a germ,” he quietly said as he and I went through his bedtime routine.  But he was off, not even asking if it was going to rain or checking on the outdoor temperature, which he ALWAYS does!  He did ask if I would have the monitor on.  I know why.  I know he’s afraid of having seizures, and that just breaks my heart for him. 

Friends and family prayed, and there were no seizures during the night!  I was so, so thankful for that!  Aaron got up this morning after sleeping for nearly 12 hours, saying his head still hurt.  Yet he always says this in the morning, so I wasn’t too sure.  He sat across from me at the kitchen table, giving me a stare down as he hoped I would tell him to stay home.  As the morning went on, he improved.  Coffee and a shower works miracles!  And so did the offer of a Quik Trip stop on the way to Paradigm!

Later, sausage biscuits and Mike & Ikes in hand, we headed down Kellogg on the way to his day group.  The artist of choice now filling the van was Alan Jackson.  Aaron picked up the CD case and said, “Mom!  Look at #5 and #11.  They’re BOTH about LOVE!!!”

So as #11 played, I made a kiss sound in rhythm to the music……and received a resounding whack on my arm from Aaron!!

“What’s up with that?” I asked.  “I thought you liked the songs about love.”

“Well, love is too weird,” he explained.  “When people are in love, they have to kiss!!”

I just smiled.  I can’t change Aaron’s mind about love being weird, but what he doesn’t know is how much he is loved.  He knows it, but he doesn’t know it.  Does that make sense?

Good days……bad days……laughter……frustrations……joy……worry……fun……anger.  We have it all with Aaron, magnified on most days. 

But when we’re feeling like singing “Song Sang Blue” on one day, there are many days that we’re singing a love song about Aaron.  But don’t tell Aaron.  He’ll think it’s weird……and then give us another sharp slap……

And it’s back to “Song Sang Blue!!!”