What Will I Wear?

Aaron notices much more than we sometimes give him credit for.  I love how he will point something out to us, often something that we never paid attention to at all, and then offer his comments on it…..of course……whether we want to hear them or not.  We usually DO want to hear what Aaron has to say, but trust me – there are times when we do NOT want to hear what comes out of Aaron’s mouth. 

Aaron rarely gives any thought to whether we want to hear his observations or not.  His insights may be new, or they may be ones that we have heard over and over and over and over…..and over……again.  It doesn’t matter one whit to Aaron.  He would probably implode if he didn’t talk, so talk he does……and we listen, regardless.

He shares things with perfect strangers, too.  I took Aaron to Wal-Mart with me after I picked him up from Paradigm on Friday.  Aaron was happy that I had found a soft fuzzy blanket on sale and that I had put it in our cart. 

“Is it for ME?” he hopefully asked.  But when I told him it was for our aging Great Dane, Jackson, Aaron was not at all disappointed.  He loves Jackson. 

Aaron sat on the bench near the register as I checked out.  I loved the look on his face as I looked at him and smiled.  Inside I was hoping not to hear him blessing us all with his ear splitting loud clapping…..or a silly ‘meow’……..or a fox whistle……or a very embarrassing farting noise. 

WP_20170324_16_40_41_Pro

But Aaron didn’t stay on the bench for very long.  No.  He saw the cashier ring up the soft fuzzy blanket, which reminded him that he had something important to share with her.  He didn’t care one bit that he didn’t know our nice Wal-Mart associate.  He did know, though, that she needed to know something.

So he got up from the bench and purposefully marched over to where she and I were finishing my transaction.  He pointed to the soft fuzzy blanket.

“That’s for our dog.  He’s nine years old and he has weakening in his muscles.”

She thought that was so nice to be buying our dog such a nice soft fuzzy blanket.  She and I were starting to have a dog conversation when we heard Aaron again.

“LOOK!!” he blurted out.  And there he stood, lifting up his right arm and showing the poor unsuspecting soul his yucky yellow and purple bruise on his arm. 

“Aaron…..” I started, but he barreled right over me.

“My desk chair fell on top of me when I was reaching for apples and peanut butter, and I got a bruise!!” he explained. 

She showed him his desired amount of shock and sympathy while I tried to hurry up my payment.  Knowing smiles were exchanged between us as I readied to leave.  Well, knowing smiles shared quickly between her and me. Aaron was already off in search of his next victim, so I had to run.

So back to what Aaron notices, and then shares all too fully with us…..or anyone else who is fortunate enough to be nearby.

On Thursday I wore this blouse.

WP_20170328_12_17_20_Pro

Aaron came into the kitchen, looked at me with his head tilted to the side, and then offered his opinion.

“That shirt looks like it should be colored,” he commented.

This forced me to look with new eyes at my shirt. 

“Aaron,” I asked.  “Does this remind you of the adult coloring books that you and I have seen?”

“YES!!!” he replied, so excited that I had gotten what he was trying to convey.  “It looks like it should be colored!”

“Do you like this shirt?” I asked.  And he told me that he did like my coloring shirt, very much. 

So on that day I was fun.

The next day I wore this blouse. 

WP_20170328_12_15_32_Pro

Aaron had come in the bedroom and seen me wearing it, before I added a sweater.

“WOW!!” he said, in awe.  “You look like a princess!”

I just laughed.  A princess?  But there was something about this blouse that he loved, and so he saw me as someone very special as I wore it. 

On Sunday, as I was getting ready for church, Aaron came in the bathroom and saw me wearing this blouse.

WP_20170328_12_14_32_Pro

“Ewwww,” he said in a measure of disgust.

“What’s wrong?” I asked him.

“What you have on,” he answered. 

“Don’t you like it?” I asked.

“NO!” he replied.  “It’s ugly.”

There was something about it that wasn’t fun like my coloring blouse and wasn’t special like my princess blouse.  This blouse, to Aaron, was ugly……ugly enough to him that he reacted instantly to it.  He wasn’t trying to be mean.  He was just being honest.  The design; the colors that he saw since he’s color blind, perhaps; or maybe the style – whatever it was, he didn’t like it one bit.

I’ve thought about all this since our morning yesterday.  Aaron was not one bit happy to be going back to Paradigm after enjoying his weekend.  I’ve learned to just let him work through it, to not force the issue, but to let him make the decision.  He knows the consequences of going and of not going, so it’s good to let him be the one to choose. 

But yesterday, on this Monday, he was extra unhappy and extra grouchy.  Downright hateful a couple times. 

“I want a break!!” he angrily told me.

“You just had a break,” I told him back, but not angrily.  I know better.

“When was my break?!” he wanted to know.

“Saturday and Sunday,” I answered as I fixed my hair.

“Don’t say that Saturday and Sunday were my break!!” he told me.

“OK,” I said.

So I’m fairly certain he came in the bathroom a dozen times, each time saying with more and more anger, “Don’t say that Saturday and Sunday were my break!!”

He continued on down his anger path.  I didn’t react……I breathed deeply……I prayed…..and I looked forward to Aaron making up his angry mind about what he wanted to do. 

He finally came in the bathroom, bent over while he rubbed his hands together, and said, “I don’t love you anymore!!!!”

Then he was spent.  I was, too.  He walked away, calmed down, went to Paradigm while he happily listened to music, and the storm passed. 

What I wear, in a sense……what I display to Aaron when he is so angry…..makes a huge difference in the outcome.  It’s much like my blouses that caused a reaction in Aaron.  If I show anger when he is angry, the result is explosive and nothing is accomplished.  If I show patience, then he sees that his anger isn’t accomplishing what he hoped it would.  If I ignore him totally for awhile, he becomes uncomfortable and realizes that he has crossed a line. 

I can choose what I wear during these episodes just as much as I chose those three different blouses on three different days.  Will I be fun, or special, or ugly? Every situation with Aaron is different, too, so I need wisdom…..which is a big reason that I pray.

Oh, I get upset, too.  I mutter under my breath……think not-so-kind thoughts……and if Gary’s here, he is at times my sounding board, as I am his. 

But still, what I wear in front of Aaron is so important.  Above all, I must wear unconditional love.  It’s hard sometimes to do that, especially when he tells me he doesn’t love me anymore.  Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often, but when he does go that far, I struggle.

When I picked Aaron up from Paradigm that afternoon, he acted as if nothing had happened between us at all.  And last night, as we watched Wheel of Fortune, Aaron starting rubbing his hands together wildly.

“MOM??!!” he loudly said, “I LOVE YOU!!”

Which is Aaron’s way of saying that he is sorry, and that he does love me for real.

I slipped on some forgiveness right then.

“I love you, too, Aaron.”

It felt very nice, maybe like the princess blouse.  And fun, like the coloring blouse. 

I’m thankful the ugly was gone, at least for now. 

Aaron’s Injury

Aaron took a spill last week in his desk chair.  We had been out all day to a doctor appointment, lunch, and a movie.  When we got home, I offered to fix him some apples and peanut butter.  I put his snack on the bookshelf right beside his desk, where I put his cups of coffee in the morning.

I was all the way downstairs later when Aaron came in the room and told me that he had fallen.

“On the stairs?!” I asked.

“No,” he blandly answered.  “In my room.  I was reaching for my apples and peanut butter, and my desk chair fell.”

“Your whole desk chair fell over?” I asked.  “I didn’t hear that at all.”

“Well,” he continued, “you shouldn’t have put my apples and peanut butter on my shelf.”

“Why not?” I questioned.  “That’s where I always put your snacks.”

“Because,” he explained, “I had to reach for them and that’s why my chair fell.”

Why is it always Mom’s fault?!

So anyway, I asked him if he was all right and he said that he was.

I asked if he hit his head and he said that he didn’t.

There was no sign of anything wrong, so I didn’t worry.

That night, Aaron talked again about falling……and again mentioned the apples and peanut butter being on the shelf, where he had to reach out to get them.

Sigh.

The week went by, with Aaron occasionally talking about his fall…..always with those apples and peanut butter thrown in, of course.

A few mornings later, he told me that his upper arm hurt.  He and I figured it was how he had slept because sometimes he wakes up stiff and sore in an elbow or shoulder.  He didn’t act like it was a big deal and I didn’t make it one.

All this time, Aaron was wearing long sleeved shirts both during the day and at night to bed.  He wore long pants as well.  I never saw his arm until Sunday afternoon, five days after his desk chair fell.  Fell with him in it, because Mom had put his apples and peanut butter on his shelf……

Let’s not forget that little fact.  We won’t.  Not with Aaron around to press the issue.

So it was Sunday afternoon, and Aaron was taking a nap.  We were having a very hot day.  Aaron was wearing a short sleeve shirt.  And when I went in his room to wake him up from his nap, his arms were both raised over his head……and then I saw it.

Oh, my goodness!

He had awful bruising on the underside of his arm, from his upper arm to nearly his wrist.  Not only bruising, but also lots of swelling.  I was so shocked!

“Aaron!  What happened to your arm?!” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied.  “What’s wrong?”

I told him about the bruising and the swelling, but he couldn’t think of anything that had happened.  I asked more questions, and finally I remembered his fall in the desk chair.  That was it!  The chair had fallen to the right and the bruising was on his right arm……and on his right leg, we saw later, though not as severe as his arm.

Why on earth did Aaron not notice this?!  Is it because he’s color blind…..or that he doesn’t look at the underside of his arm…….or that he’s doing a less than stellar job in the shower?  It must have hurt, and I’m sure that’s what Aaron felt the morning he told me his arm hurt.  But still, how does one not notice such bad bruising?

I was feeling like the worst Mom!  You know, the kind who doesn’t check more thoroughly for injuries.  The kind who didn’t further explore the sore arm that morning.  The kind that puts apples and peanut butter on the shelf where Aaron had to reach for them.

I decided to take Aaron to the doctor on Monday, yesterday, just to rule out a fracture.  We didn’t think Aaron acted like he had a fracture, but we needed to be absolutely sure.

WP_20170320_11_40_54_Pro

He told the nurse about his fall.  “Because I was reaching for my apples and peanut butter that Mom put on the shelf,” he made sure to say.

He didn’t see me roll my eyes.  I hope the nurse didn’t, either.

And he told his doctor, who gets a kick out of Aaron, about the desk chair falling.  “Because I was reaching for my apples and peanut butter that Mom put on the shelf,” he said AGAIN.

Yeah, yeah.

Aaron had X-Rays taken to rule out a fracture.  He handled that well, as he does most medical procedures, enjoying the attention and all the cool new things that were there to see and hear.

WP_20170320_11_57_47_Pro

 

WP_20170320_11_58_14_Pro

He showed everybody his arm, like the man who checked us in at the front desk and the lady who checked us in to X-Ray and the X-Ray tech and our neighbor and our friend that we delivered something to later……

Of course, he didn’t want to go to his day group today because of his bruised arm.  But I reminded him that he had gone all last week with a bruised arm, so he finally quit trying and he went on to Paradigm.  He rolled the window down quickly when he saw Antoine, his staff, as we pulled up.

“Hey, Antoine, look!!” he yelled.  Aaron popped up that arm as fast as he could and enjoyed Antoine’s reaction.  Then he chased Antoine around the parking lot as I pulled away.  So much for his very sore arm, right?

I learned today that there is not a fracture.  Thankfully, Aaron’s arm should be fine.  Soon there will be something new for Aaron to show off and tell about.  There always is, but hopefully the next thing won’t involve an injury like his cut foot at Thanksgiving that he showed off and now his bruised arm.

And if there is one, let’s all hope it’s not someplace like his stomach or some other body part that no one needs to see!

And that it does NOT involve apples and peanut butter THAT MOM PUT ON THE SHELF!!!

 

 

The Legacy

He Said What?!

We just went on a very special trip to visit my mother. Actually, it was a surprise for her 85th birthday. And was she ever shocked when she walked into that banquet room at the steak house and saw all of her five children there, as well as many grandchildren and great-grands! The look on her face was priceless; the tears, hers and ours, were genuine; and the love shared was a treasure. I’m so thankful that all of her children were there for her and that we got to rally around her at this very important time. You see, it wasn’t only her birthday. She has also just moved into an assisted living center and so we were able to visit her beautiful new home, help her with a little of the settling-in process, and get a close-up look at her lovely surroundings and amazing staff.

One other thing…

View original post 546 more words

My Purpose

He Said What?!

I don’t remember how long ago it was, but I do remember that I was having a very normal day. Nothing exciting. Nothing terribly interesting. Certainly nothing spectacular. One of those days that if asked, I would have a hard time really saying what I had done during that day. Not that I hadn’t accomplished anything, but what’s to talk about when it comes to errands, cleaning, laundry, and ironing?

In fact, that’s what I was doing when my phone rang. Ironing. Ironing Gary’s work clothes for the next day. My dear friend, Atha, was on the other end of the phone. I have to admit that when she asked what I was up to, I was a little hesitant to tell her. You see, Atha is Dr. Athalene McNay. She was working on starting her own business. She was a college and university professor. She never, ever made me…

View original post 789 more words

Lessons From the Praying Mantis

He Said What?!

Gary and I had been out in the yard on Saturday.  It was time to go in for lunch, so we called to Aaron and then headed for the house.  My new mums on the front porch were vibrant with the colors of fall, and bees buzzed around lazily between the mums and my still-blooming Crepe Myrtles.  It was such a beautiful day! 

Just as we were ready to walk inside the garage, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  I stopped to take a closer look, not moving from where I was standing.  I saw that the thing catching my attention was long and green and was perched atop my pretty Crepe Myrtle blooms, partially hidden by the growth around him.  A grasshopper!  An unwelcome intruder in my flower bed!  I didn’t appreciate him chowing down on my Crepe Myrtle leaves, or any of my other…

View original post 598 more words

The Plans I Have For You

I think most of the nation has had a milder than usual winter.  Here in Kansas, we really haven’t had a winter to speak of.  Trees were budding, bushes were bearing leaves, and perennials were poking out of the ground in February!

I shouldn’t have been surprised…..but I was surprised……to walk past my front flower bed one day in February and look down to see that my Salvia had made an appearance.  There were fresh little green leaves sticking up through the ground, unaware that the month was only February.  Salvia don’t look at calendars.  They only respond to the warmth of the sun and the mildness of the nights.

WP_20170218_12_31_30_Pro

Something occurs deep underground, in their roots, that awakens them and urges them to respond.  It’s God’s miracle of growth, not tied to the month of the year but to the environment around them.  And even though that environment can at times be harsh still at this time of year……at any time of year, really……their roots stir under the right conditions and so they grow.

I was tempted on that February day to lean over and clear off all the dead leaves that looked like a hindrance to the Salvia’s growth.  But I left the leaves for insulation against the cold nights, and the snow that I knew could still come.

I’ve watched the progress of my Salvia over the past few weeks.  The picture from this morning shows how much growth has occurred.  The dead leaves, old mulch, and other clutter hasn’t prohibited my Salvia’s growth at all.  The perennial nature of this flower is alive and well as those new leaves push through all the mess around them.  It just faithfully grows and grows, quietly but strongly flourishing.

WP_20170307_10_36_13_Pro (2)

This morning in my quiet time with the Lord I read some verses that are very familiar to many of us.  They are words spoken by God to the nation of Israel, recorded by the prophet Jeremiah.

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”   Jeremiah 29:11-13

These are verses of such encouragement and hope for all believers, not just for the nation of Israel during the time of Jeremiah.  But do you know where Israel was when God spoke these words to them?  They were being held captive in Babylon.  They were not in their home country, living freely, but were held as captive slaves in a harsh land far from all they knew and loved.

In the ten verses preceding these verses above, God had given some instructions to His chosen people through a letter written by Jeremiah and delivered to the exiles in Babylon.  God told the people to settle in to their new life in Babylon.  He told them to build houses and live in them; to plant gardens and eat their produce; to take wives and bear children; to increase and not decrease; and even to seek the welfare of their new city, praying to the Lord on its behalf.

You know how long God told them to be faithful in their captivity?  Seventy years.  SEVENTY years.

So when God then said that He knew the plans that He had for them……plans to give them a future and a hope……He also knew that this promise wasn’t coming to pass tomorrow.  He laid it out there for them.   He told them to live as He commanded and to be obedient to Him, even in their dire situation, for seventy long years.

God’s promise was given to them in the middle of less than ideal circumstances.   It wasn’t to be fulfilled immediately.  But while they waited, God wanted them to live their lives fully and faithfully to Him.

In fact, many of those Israelites would never see the promise come to pass.  They would die in Babylon.  Yet God still commanded them to be obedient and live the way He wanted.

How about us?  How does God want us to live every day?

He wants us to follow the example that He continually sets out there in His Word for us to see.  He wants us to be faithful to Him, to obey Him, and to grow no matter what is going on in our lives.

We may be going through awful times so full of grief and stress that we wonder how we can get out of bed every day.  God knows.  He understands.  He loves us.  He provides what we need.  He promises us a future and a hope.

But relief may not come today.  It may not come tomorrow.  Or the next day, or the next.  But like He told His people in Babylon, He says to you and to me today.  “Call upon Me.  Pray to Me, and I will listen.  For you will seek Me and you will find Me when you search for me with all your heart.”

It’s simple, really, but so difficult to do sometimes when our surroundings are bitter and hard and scary.  Call upon Him.  Pray.  Seek Him with all your heart.

Read His Word with an open heart to hear what He has to say to you.  Ask Him to lead your steps.  Obey what you know He tells you to do in His Word.

God will speak to you.  He will lead you to Himself.

And in the middle of your pain and your stress, you will grow.  Just like my Salvia in the middle of deadness all around it and the coldness of some nights…..still pushing through and growing, as God intended.

God loves you.  He truly does have a future and a hope for you as you follow Him, but not always…..in fact, seldom……without the suffering and sadness of this life.

But what a beautiful work He is doing in you and in me as we faithfully respond to His love and to His word in our lives!

So grow!  Grow where God has put you!

IMG-20120428-00282

The One More

Aaron came into the kitchen this morning, a little after 11:00, so I asked him if he wanted some left over pizza for lunch.  He said yes right away, but then I saw his eyes dart to the clock on the oven.

“It’s not lunch time yet.  It’s 11:06,” he flatly declared.  “When it becomes 12:00, it’s lunch time.”

He turned and left the kitchen, happily despite being hungry, because hunger is easier for Aaron to handle than eating lunch at the ungodly hour of 11:06!!  And no matter how many times this scenario is played out in our home, it never gets old or tiresome to me.  I mean, some of Aaron’s rigidity or habits can at times wear me down, but his precise keeping of times in his life nearly always makes me want to laugh. 

There are some things that Aaron is going to do because Aaron’s just going to do them, almost every single time that he is given the opportunity. 

Will Aaron pull just one wipe out of the dispenser at the grocery store?  Well, no!  One wipe is so boring and useless!

wp_20161108_11_49_47_pro

Will Aaron be happy having one fork with his sausage at breakfast?  No, never!  He even gets out a spoon when he’s eating pizza!!

wp_20170301_08_00_40_pro

Does Aaron want to vary the route we take as we drive to Paradigm every weekday morning?  Are you kidding?!  He thinks his way is faster.  But I did take a quicker route on Friday, to his great dismay.  I asked him why he doesn’t like going my way and wants to go his way. 

“Because this way is far away from the short one!” he answered.  Which still left me puzzled, but I do love how he expresses himself.

A few evenings ago, he was concerned about running out of toilet paper in his bathroom.  He kept talking about it, and I hadn’t gotten a new package out yet.  We were getting his bed ready for the night and toilet paper was still on his mind.  I told him to go check his bathroom cabinet for toilet paper.  Soon he was back in his room, happily holding a single roll of toilet paper.

“There was one more left and this is the one more!” he declared, quiet relieved.

So the next evening I carried up the big package of toilet paper, which Aaron watched me open.  He watched me put two rolls in the guest bathroom holder, and then wanted to carry four rolls to his bathroom.  We settled on three rolls instead, and Aaron very seriously offered to take them upstairs himself……probably more to be sure the job was done correctly than anything else.  I mean, toilet paper is important, right?  It certainly was to Aaron at that time.

wp_20170301_20_12_48_pro

I can count on Aaron making something random like that of utmost concern, and then not getting it off his mind until the situation is resolved in the way that’s needed……or in the way that gives him peace, thereby giving all of us peace!

Let’s see…..what else can I count on Aaron doing?

I can count on him every night, after we watch Wheel of Fortune, changing the channel to Fox News.  He sits in his chair, eyes on the screen, watching and waiting for what he knows is coming.

And when he see Bill O’Reilly on the screen, he smiles, still waiting expectantly.  Bill talks for a minute, introducing what’s coming on the program that night…..and Aaron stares, a slight smile on his face.

wp_20170302_19_00_14_pro-2

And THEN, it happens!  O’Reilly sweeps his arm around and points at the camera.  “CAUTION!!” he says.  “You’re entering the no spin zone!!” 

wp_20170302_19_01_04_pro-2

Aaron laughs and laughs, loving every second of it.  Every night that O’Reilly is on, this is what Aaron does. 

And I laugh, too, because seeing all of this through Aaron’s eyes is so much more fun than just seeing it as “same old, same old” every night.

We can count on Aaron talking to us until our ears are totally exhausted.  This is especially true if we are a captive audience, with no place to run, like we were in our hotel room during our Thanksgiving trip.  Oh my, did he talk!!

wp_20161124_10_20_46_pro-2

And he will also tell everyone of his latest exciting happening, which also happened during Thanksgiving.  Poor Aaron slipped in the hotel tub, cutting the bottom of his foot on the drain stopper.  This was momentous to Aaron and he felt that everyone else would think it was momentous, too…..especially when he told them about it.  But he doesn’t just tell.  He likes Show AND Tell.  And my very sweet sister, Mary Beth, was the recipient of not just the telling, but also the showing, as you can see.

wp_20161124_13_41_23_pro

HaHa!  I can still see her caring face and hear her wonderful laughter. I can also still hear my surprised gasp when I looked over and saw Aaron with his sock off……and blood on it that had seeped through the bandage…..and him sitting on the floor, not a care in the world but to show Aunt Mary Beth the whole gruesome wound. 

At least it wasn’t like his VNS surgery years ago.  The scar was on his upper chest, so several people had the unexpected treat of Aaron quickly pulling up his shirt in order to show them the evidence of his surgery.  The whole thing was just a tad…..shocking…..but not to Aaron.  Not at all to Aaron.  It got to the point that every time Aaron started telling someone about his VNS and his hands headed toward the bottom of his shirt, I yelled, “NOOOO!!”  I got some strange looks for that response, but those people have no idea what I had just spared them from.  No idea at all, really.

But you know, it meant a lot to Aaron that Aunt Mary Beth enjoyed seeing the cut on the bottom of his foot, blood and all.  He didn’t think it to be the least bit strange that he sat on the floor with people all around and pulled off his shoe and sock.  And Mary Beth rolled right along with it, loving every minute and loving Aaron, most of all.

That’s what we have to do.  Roll with Aaron, expect the expected, and brace ourselves for the unexpected.

Speaking of roll, remember the one roll of toilet paper?  “There was one more left and this is the one more!” Aaron declared.

Aaron is our “one more.”  He always has one more routine…..one more thing to tell…..one more surprise…….one more way to make us laugh or sigh or roll our eyes or want to scream.    

And tomorrow is one more day for us to see what Aaron has in store.  One more day for us to see the world through Aaron’s eyes, like it or not. 

One more day to hopefully have the unexpected joy I had today when Aaron put his arms around me from behind, laid his head against my back, and said, “I love you, Mom.” 

I’ll take one more of those moments any day!

I love you, too, Aaron!