A couple weeks ago I was talking to our daughter on the phone. Almost always, when she and I are on the phone, Aaron will come bounding up to me and without lowering his voice he will ask if that’s Andrea. I shake my head yes and so the hovering begins as he waits for HIS turn to talk to Andrea. I finally let him have his time, knowing that if I don’t he will most likely linger close by until I do.
“ANDREA!!” he begins. “Guess what game I’m playing now?!”
And he’s off, talking about everything under the sun that has to do with his world. He never asks about her life or how she’s doing. Never. But she understands that about her brother. She laughs with him and talks to him about all his games and movies and answers his unusual questions about unusual things as seriously as if she’s talking to a lab manager about the proper way to conduct a molecular test.
A couple weeks ago, she and I were talking about how Aaron is and how he must appear to others. His conversations, his approach to life, his characteristics that others observe when they first see Aaron or if they know Aaron well…everything that makes Aaron who Aaron is. Andrea said that he really is just a kid in a man’s body.
Then later that same evening, Aaron and I were talking to a neighbor and her young son out on our driveway. This little boy just looked up at Aaron as Aaron went on and on about whatever. Aaron was talking rather loudly, as usual, and all the time he talked he kept working his fingers together the way that he does.
Finally, our young friend was able to get a word in…a question, actually.
“Are you a man kid?” he asked Aaron.
That question went completely over Aaron’s head as he just barreled on with his topic of interest at that moment.
But it stopped me in my tracks.
“What a perfect way to describe him!” I quietly told his mother.
And how interesting that Andrea and I had said that same thing, yet not as precisely, just that afternoon.
A man kid.
There stands Aaron, looking every bit like a man…and he is. He has a man’s voice, a man’s physique, a man’s facial hair, and even a man’s balding head. 😊
But he acts so much like a kid! And to other kids I know it’s a process to try to figure Aaron out. We’re so used to him that we don’t often mentally step back and think of how it must be for children to understand Aaron.
Tomorrow is Aaron’s birthday. Our son, who is a man, turns 36 tomorrow!
Our son, who is a kid, is exuberantly excited about his birthday. He always is, every single year.
If you ask him how old he will be, he pauses as he tries to remember his new age. That number of “36” means nothing to him.
But oh, his birthday means everything to him. Just ask our neighbors, some from around our circle that we don’t really know. If Aaron is outside and he sees someone walking by, he briskly heads to the street.
“HEY!!” he yelled the other day to a couple of ladies. “It’s almost my birthday!!”
They laughed and congratulated him as they went on their way.
And our man kid stood there rubbing his hands together in delight, with his deep chuckle bubbling up, his sweater flapping in the breeze, and joy all over his face.
Remembering that Aaron is a man kid helps us enjoy him.
But more importantly, it helps us understand him…and understanding Aaron is crucial in how we live with him and deal with him.
Happy Birthday, Aaron!!
We love you, man kid!!