I had taken Aaron in for his physical at the air base, which in itself is full of interesting Aaron moments.
Here’s one: He was very worried that he would need to give a urine sample, which he completely does not want to do. We walked up to the counter at the Immunization Clinic to sign him in for a TB test. I always try hard to be the first one at these windows in order to spare the poor airmen from Aaron’s loudly blurted and random comments or questions. I indeed was in front of Aaron but this in no way deters Aaron. As I signed him in and explained what we needed, Aaron pushed his head around the side of the window.
“DO I NEED TO PEE HERE??!!” he loudly and nervously asked.
I have to say that the look on the faces of the two airmen in the clinic was priceless. I have no idea about the look on my face, but on Aaron’s was a look of panic. I explained to the airmen as best I could while I tried to calm Aaron and sign him in on the clipboard. And Aaron continued to ask his question over and over, bless him.
Most people who encounter Aaron are treated to an impromptu lesson in special needs. Like the lady yesterday at Wal-Mart in the produce section…the one that Aaron followed as he asked her if she liked cabbage because we were buying cabbage and he just HAD to know if she liked cabbage and why did she like cabbage… All while I was calling to Aaron to come with me and trying to distract him from his quest to discover if this woman liked cabbage like we like cabbage.
And the dear cashier, who had to answer lots of questions from Aaron and listen to his commentary. Do you like chocolate cake? Do you like chocolate icing on your chocolate cake? Guess what we’re having for supper? Steak! Do you like steak? What kind of steak do you like? I like boneless. Do you like boneless? Mom, what kind of steak are we having…….
Outings with Aaron, of whatever kind, often leave me with a variety of emotions. Humor. Embarrassment. Frustration. Joy. Relief…when it’s over! But mostly, I really do love my times with Aaron, stressful as some situations are.
After his physical, we went to Jose’ Pepper’s to eat. His favorite thing to do in all the world is to eat out. And when he has gotten to know a server, like Emily at Jose’ Pepper’s, then his fun is doubled. He walked in the door laughing and rubbing his hands together, oblivious to any stares from others. He immediately spied Emily and he was off, trying to talk to her as the hostess was trying to figure all this out and get us seated, and I was trying to calm and quieten Aaron, and Emily was smiling broadly.
We do make an entrance.
We were nearly through with our meals when Aaron spied something on the floor beside us. I followed his gaze as he leaned out of our booth for a closer look. There on the cement floor was a quarter. Aaron was out of the booth in a flash! He picked up his great find and proceeded to examine it closely.
“MOM!!” he very excitedly said, “it’s a state quarter!! It’s HAWAII!!”
He was beyond happy at this treasure that had been laying right there on the floor for who knows how long. Look at his wonderful smile.
He did not have a Hawaii quarter. It is now safely in its place in his state quarter folder.
For that day, for that moment, Aaron had found a priceless gem.
And I thought, as I watched him so full of delight at something that would be less than impressive to most of us, how this moment is so like my life with Aaron.
Do I focus on the routine life we have? Do I see him through eyes of frustration or embarrassment? Yes, I often do.
But I CAN make the choice to view him as a real gem, full of his uniqueness and spontaneity. Sure, he can be aggravating and especially embarrassing in public, but how funny he is! How refreshing…sometimes. 😊
How full of lessons for Gary and for me, and hopefully for many others who encounter him.
So, when we are walking to our car after our excursions, and I take a deep breath in order to settle my mind and calm my nerves, may I also use that same breath to thank God for the special treasure that He has given me right beside me in this life.
And may others who bump into Aaron in the produce aisle, the check-in counter, the check-out lane, the restaurant…wherever we are…realize that there are many walking among us who are very special indeed!
What a gift it is to find them!