Every single day that Aaron goes to his day group, I tell him the same thing.
“Aaron,” I say with more patience than I feel, “do NOT give away any money today.”
You see, Aaron loves to give things away and one of the things he loves to give away the most is his money. We send him with money to spend at Quik Trip for his lunch, but oh it’s so hard for Aaron to keep his money for himself.
His philanthropy is well known among his day group friends, and there are some who are very willing recipients.
He has become quite adept at fudging his numbers, too, telling me that he bought this or that…or that the cashier didn’t give him back his change (yeah right!!)…or several other story lines that he has perfected.
Sometimes between the Paradigm staff, especially Barb, and me and Aaron we’re somehow able to sort out the messes Aaron makes. Often, it’s not without anger and tears from Aaron. Occasionally Barb is able to get the money back from the person Aaron gave it to, but usually once the money is gone, it’s gone.
Our rule now is that Aaron must bring a receipt home with him if he spends money anywhere. He most often does this, and things are going better in the missing money department.
Today as we drove away from Paradigm, Aaron realized that he had left his wallet there in Barb’s desk, even though she told him three times to take it with him. Aaron told me he had only bought a slushie, so I was instantly suspicious about where the rest of his $7.00 was.
“MOM!!” he exclaimed, “I did NOT give any money away except for my change!”
“Aaron,” I reminded him, “you’re not supposed to give your change away either.”
I could feel my patience growing thin as we had the same money conversation yet again.
Until Aaron said this:
“But Mom, Victoria got scared because of the thunder so I gave her my change to help her feel better.”
Now what could I say to that?!
Barb confirmed the story as I asked her about the wallet. She told me there was $5.00 in it, and that Aaron had given the change, all eighteen cents, to Victoria.
Not long ago, after Aaron hadn’t been to Paradigm one day, Victoria saved him a piece of her birthday cake. She gave it to him and they shared some saved cake the day that he returned…the day after he had a scary drop seizure.
Barb told me today, as she has before, that their friendship is very sweet to watch.
Life can be tough for Aaron sometimes, and I imagine that it can be the same for Victoria as well. Things pile up in Aaron’s brain and it’s hard for him to process and handle his emotions correctly.
But when I see Victoria saving some cake for Aaron, and I see the happiness on their faces…or I hear Aaron say that he wanted to help Victoria not be scared of the thunder…then my heart is full, and my emotions are hard to contain.
Our special children, though adults, still think and behave at times like children. As caregivers, we parents can get tired of having perennial youngsters to teach and to take care of.
But the other side of that coin is that we also get to see genuine simple acts of love like we saw today.
And those sweet moments are like a breath of heaven’s air to a tired mama’s heart.