Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. It’s nice to have a day to declare our love for the people in our lives that mean a lot to us. I’ll admit that I have loved every flower and card and box of candy that Gary has given me over the years. But in the past few days, I’ve once again seen that the best gifts my husband gives is what he gives of himself, over and over and over, as we walk this life road together with our Aaron.
Gary and I love Aaron. We have chosen at this point in our lives to keep Aaron at home with us. It’s not always easy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. However, there are two attitudes that help tremendously as we care for our son. The first one is humor.
I’ll be honest and say that I like it when I pick Aaron up from his day group, and hear him say, “WHEW!! I’m stuffed!!” He then tells me what he ate for lunch that day, usually something on the large side. So I casually ask if he wants supper and he often says no.
Now, I don’t mean to sound mean, but Gary and I do enjoy eating dinner alone. Just the two of us, enjoying casual conversation and pauses of quietness……blessed quietness. Because if Aaron is with us, he loves to talk about his day and his recent activities and what he ate and what he said and how he was just teasing this person and how he got in trouble and what movie he’s watching and what aliens he’s interested in and what game he’s playing, etc., etc. He watches for the slightest pause in Gary’s and my conversation, or maybe not even a pause at all, and will jump in quickly.
“AND……guess WHAT?!!” he’ll interject. And he’s off and running with another tale that he knows we MUST hear. There is a time and a place for us to hear from Aaron, but we also enjoy each other’s company at least a few times a week.
The other night Aaron wasn’t planning to eat with us. Gary came home to two place settings on the kitchen table. We soon sat down to eat, just me and Gary, when we heard that all too familiar sound of Aaron’s heavy footsteps on the stairs. How does he do that? How does he just KNOW that we are sitting down to eat?
Gary asked the blessing as we held hands, with Aaron hovering there between us. As soon as the “Amen” was said, Aaron launched in. “DAD, guess what?!”
“Aaron,” I interrupted. “I thought you said you weren’t going to eat.”
“I’m not,” he replied. “DAD, guess what?!”
So there we were, Aaron’s captive audience. It’s always a struggle for us to know how blunt to be with Aaron. We don’t want to make him feel like he’s not wanted with us. But, really, we didn’t want him to stand there the whole meal and talk up a storm……and he would. He was well on his way to doing just that.
Finally I said, without terrible bluntness, “Aaron, now you’ve talked enough. You need to let us eat.”
“OK,” he said. He walked over to the counter, picked up a pineapple that he noticed, and brought it over to us.
“DAD!! Look at this!! Mom got a pineapple today!”
In Aaron’s mind, he WAS letting us eat. I didn’t want to be so blunt as to say, “AARON!! QUIT TALKING!!” So I told Aaron to let us eat, and he WAS letting us eat while he continued to talk.
Gary, also not wanting to be too blunt or hurtful to Aaron, looked at me and said, “Your clarification of your wishes would greatly enhance your desired results.”
Aaron had no idea what Gary was really saying. Gary and I laughed and laughed, which made Aaron think that we loved what he was saying about pineapples……so he continued his talking while he let us eat, just like I had told him to do.
Next to humor, patience is another important gift that Gary gives as we live with Aaron…..or he lives with us.
Gary ordered two updated Star Wars games recently for Aaron’s computer. He installed them for Aaron on Saturday. Then came Gary’s strict instructions to Aaron about not changing settings or doing any other things to mess up what Gary had taken time to do. We have lots of experience with Aaron doing just that.
Gary and I came home from church the next day to find Aaron telling his dad that something wasn’t right about the games. Without even looking, Gary knew…..and he was right. Aaron had tried to put some codes in or something…..it’s all Greek to me……and he had jumbled things up. Gary had to sit down and re-do much of what he had just done the day before.
It was a resounding GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR moment, for sure. And Aaron knew it…..knew he had blown it and knew we were frustrated.
Aaron finally came in my room and said, “Nobody forgives me!” Can we spell the word D-R-A-M-A?
The game was eventually back up and running. Gary had slipped outside to take Jackson, our Dane, for a walk. The walk was, I’m sure, doing more good for Gary than for the dog.
Enter Aaron……into the kitchen, looking for Gary. Gary, who was nowhere to be found. Aaron asked me and I couldn’t lie, so with resolute steps Aaron was out the back door and striding across the grass to catch up to Gary and Jackson. I felt badly for Gary. I knew he wanted some alone time.
Soon I looked out the window, watching them come from behind the tall evergreens into my view. They walked slowly, Gary and Aaron, with Gary talking and engaging with Aaron. It warmed my heart, as I am quite sure it did Aaron’s as well.
Gary’s love for Aaron is a great gift to me. His humor and patience often come at times that we both need them the most. Often when I am tired…..done…..ready to check out emotionally……Gary will step in and save the day for me. Those are some of the very best gifts that he gives me, and they’re not just on one special day or two a year.
Of course, I do still love flowers……just in case he reads this, you know. 🙂