Talking Points #5

Here are more of Aaron’s comments that I have collected over the years.  Enjoy!

 

Aaron was very excited today about eating at Long John Silvers. He loves the fish and the “bread balls” (aka hush puppies).

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Aaron was telling me what he  read in his weather book last night. His take: “The book said it got so cold once that it ruined the whole beer crop!!” Oh, my goodness!!! And I couldn’t even belly laugh.

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I wanted to show the plate that Aaron recently made me. He brought this home a couple weeks ago, as pleased as he could be…..even though he says he doesn’t like art. Look at how he ran out of room to put the last “m’ in “mom,” so it’s at the top. HaHa! I LOVE this! I put it on a stand and have it displayed with great pride on our kitchen server. ♥

 

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Aaron didn’t make his bed this morning. When I dropped him off at his group, he got out of the van and then said, “Oh Mom, can you help me make my bed today while I’m gone?” Help him while he’s gone? Clever, Aaron! I think you just asked me to make your bed FOR you, period.

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Sitting at lunch yesterday, there were two guys in the booth behind us. Aaron, who doesn’t know how to whisper, said – “I can hear what they’re talking about!” Reminded me of the time when we had a guest preacher at church and Aaron “whispered” – “Would someone tell that man to be quiet?!” How red can my face get before I actually have a stroke?!

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The True Story:

Aaron was talking to us on Saturday about how someday he will need to leave our house and live somewhere else. He doesn’t like that conversation. I used Andrea as an example of leaving home, moving to Texas, and living in an apartment until she and Kyle got married. We told him that she was very happy to be on her own when the time came for her to leave. He talked to Andrea on the phone about it later and she repeated what we had said.

Aaron’s Version (told to our neighbor, Amanda):

Mom and Dad were talking to me about how they’re going to kick me out of the house. Andrea moved out of the house when she went to Texas, and she was happy until she married Kyle!

Aaron needs me to be his full-time interpreter and supervisor of damage control!! 😆😆😆

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Aaron: Mom, I ate a marshmallow, raw! I noticed it didn’t have much taste. 😁😋

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Aaron heard Alan Jackson singing “Gone Country” and asked, “Is he saying gone country or gone coo-coo?”

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Aaron and I took Jackson for a walk on this beautiful day. Aaron: “I wonder if Dad will be home later.” Me: “Well Aaron, Dad always comes home.” Aaron: “But I meant a different kind of later.” The scary thing is that I understood exactly what he meant!! HaHa!

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Aaron called me today and told me that he was going to Quik Trip with one of his staff. He had money burning a hole in his pocket, so he asked me what he could buy with it. First of all, I told him no candy. Then I mentioned a salad or fruit. He countered with the idea of corn dogs. I gave in but said to buy no more than three. When I picked him up, he told me that he did get three corn dogs, and a large water. Later, he saw me fixing supper.

Aaron: Mom, what’s for supper?

Me: Egg casserole and salad. Are you eating?

Aaron: Yes! Three corn dogs didn’t stuff me up!

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Aaron has talked and talked and talked some more about the staples in his head. Trust me. Today, on the way home from WalMart:

“Mom!! When they put those staples in, I could feel the hurtness!!”

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Aaron was excitedly telling me about his trip to the pet store with his day group.  “Mom!!!  We saw a parrot and the parrot talked!!”  So, we talked about how the parrot talked.  Then Aaron told me that I need a parrot at home, and I asked why on earth he thought I needed a parrot at home.  “Because you would have someone to talk to you while I’m gone!!” he answered.   ARE YOU KIDDING ME????!!!!  😊  😊

 

Enjoy your day, dear readers.  I WILL be back, trust me, with more of Aaron’s sayings.

Caught Up In Crazy

I very innocently planned a grocery trip today to Aldi.  I often go to Aldi on Friday mornings.  Not a big deal…so I thought.

Also, not a big deal to take Aaron with me…so I thought.

I wasn’t surprised that the parking lot was rather full.  I WAS surprised when Aaron and I headed for the carts to hear a woman call out to me, telling me that Aldi wasn’t opening until 12:00.  Somehow, I missed that memo.

Thankfully, Aaron and I only had to sit in the van for less than 10 minutes.  Out we hopped, again, grabbed our cart and had to walk to the back of a long line.  Never…not Thanksgiving…not Christmas…not pre-blizzard…have I seen a line waiting to get into Aldi.

The lady behind me mentioned that this was crazy.  Yes, it was crazy.  So was the line all the way up the first aisle headed for the produce, and the line waiting for eggs, and another for dairy products.  All through the store, in nearly every aisle, we were bumper to bumper carts and shoppers.

So much for social distancing.

I saw some things.

I saw concerned faces.

I saw tired children.

I saw long lists in shopper’s hands.

I saw smiles, too.

I saw kindness from many of the harried people there.

I saw a very elderly and frail woman with beautiful white hair sitting on the counter where her caregiver packed their groceries…and she was sound asleep, her head bowed, seemingly oblivious to the noise around her.

And I saw Aaron as we stood in the check-out line, his arms hanging down and his hands folded together while he stared down at the end cap display beside us.

He was somber and quiet, very uncharacteristic of him when shopping.  Usually he rubs his hands together happily as he stands in line talking about a game or a movie or what he wants to eat for supper or any number of other things.  Usually I must remind him to talk softly.

But not today.

Today, Aaron saw and felt the crazy all around him.  I was calm all through the store, talking to him and to others, trying to maintain a sense of normal.

That’s because I know how necessary normal is to Aaron.

But today was anything BUT normal, and Aaron was not to be fooled.

I’ve written about how Aaron is very tired of this Coronavirus…how done he is with store closings and restaurant closings and crowds and shortages.

I really didn’t expect Aldi to be part of the crazy today.  I didn’t expect our trip there to add to Aaron’s angst.

Yet there we were, sucked into the crazy while not wanting to contribute to it.  I was just there to get normal groceries.  But the crowds…the lines…the empty shelves…the waiting…the jostling – all made Aaron most unsettled.

“Mom,” he said.  “You’re just here because of the crazy Coronavirus!”

I tried to assure him that I was there because of needing normal groceries.  But Aaron wasn’t buying it.

All through the store…thankfully in a quiet voice…Aaron told me over and over that I was a part of this crazy because of the Coronavirus.

“You’re just buying that because of Coronavirus,” he muttered as I bent over the sandwich meat.

“You just want that because of the Coronavirus,” he said again as I added coffee to the cart.

Seeing him in the check-out line, so still and serious, made me very sad.  All the times I’ve wanted him to be quiet and now he was…but for a reason that yanked at my heart.  He was most uncomfortable…most uneasy…most worried.

This whole scenario of our current lives is new to me…new to all of us.  Watching Aaron’s manner and seeing his worried face was a real insight into how this strange time is new to him as well and is affecting him.

Normal is gone for now, and for who knows how long.  So, for many of us with special children…children who respond strongly to their environments…this may be an extra stressful time.

Let’s encourage each other and pray for one another.

And if you’re out and about in the crazy, and you see a mom with a special-needs child, give her an extra big smile, would you?

 

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Aaron, Autism, and Coronavirus

Surely y’all knew I was going to do this, right?  That I was going to talk about Aaron and Coronavirus.

Does anything…except normal social cues…escape Aaron’s attention?!

Of course, talk of this new virus is everywhere.  We can’t turn on the television for three minutes without someone talking about Coronavirus.

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Let me try to explain how Aaron thinks.  To do so, I’ll go back a little way to the time I took care of our elderly neighbor, Nora.  I helped her for five years, during the time of her husband’s cancer, his death, and her move to assisted living.

Aaron struggled with Nora.  Honestly, he just didn’t like her.  It had nothing to do with whether Nora was likable or not.  So why didn’t Aaron like Nora?  Let me list the ways:

  1. Nora talked in a high-pitched voice that bothered Aaron.
  2. Nora talked too much.
  3. Nora didn’t hear well.
  4. Nora didn’t always respond to Aaron’s comments appropriately, or at all.
  5. Nora became a topic of conversation here at home as I cared for her, so I talked too much about her.
  6. Nora took too much of my time.

I listed the highlights.  I could have listed more but you get the point.  And the point, to all of us, is that Aaron sure did seem selfish and unkind to not like Nora for the reasons listed above.

But you see, to Aaron and to many others with autism, their world and its order is all important.  If a person or an event disturbs their world, woe be to that person or to that event.  And woe to the persons living within range of the anger that will no doubt ensue due to said person or event.

Now we come to today’s current events.  Let me preface this by saying that for some reason unknown to Gary and to me, Aaron has decided that he doesn’t like President Trump.  I don’t want this to turn into a political statement, but Aaron hasn’t heard that sentiment from Gary or from me.  Aaron has decided this on his own, and for reasons he can’t adequately explain to us.  We can only guess that Aaron doesn’t like Trump’s voice and his demeanor.  So there.

Then along came Coronavirus.  Aaron is sick of it, as Nora would have said.  I won’t tell Aaron that Nora would have said that.

But why on earth is Aaron sick of Coronavirus, of all things?!  Let me list the ways:

  1. Trump talks too much about Coronavirus.
  2. Trump talks too much, period, according to Aaron…so if he talks about Coronavirus then Coronavirus is irritating!
  3. Mom and Dad talk too much about Coronavirus.
  4. Mom and Dad need to talk more about Aaron.
  5. Coronavirus has made Wal-Mart very crowded.
  6. Because Wal-Mart is very crowded, Mom doesn’t want to go shopping there.
  7. Since we didn’t go to Wal-Mart, Mom took me to Sam’s.
  8. Sam’s doesn’t have all the things I wanted, and Sam’s was also crowded.
  9. Sam’s is dumb.
  10. This is the fault of Coronavirus.
  11. Coronavirus is dumb.

That’s it in a nutshell.  Coronavirus has become Enemy #1 in more ways than one at our house.

This could be a very very very very long huddling-down-at-home experience.

Although…Aaron does LOVE to stay at home.  If I do decide to keep him at home…and I probably will…and I tell him it’s because of Coronavirus…

We just might have found the cure!

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Talking Points #4

We’re watching some NHRA qualifying. Aaron is still trying to get used to the fact that Andrew is on a new team. His driver, Leah Pruett, was being interviewed so we pointed her out to Aaron. His observation?

“She has nice eye polish!!” 😂

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Aaron and I are getting ready to play Skip-Bo and he’s talking about TNT. Yep…….TNT. So I made the comment, as he asked me all about TNT, that Dad would know more about TNT than I do. Off he trotted downstairs to ask Gary about TNT and I got a little break. I think I will continue to promote Gary’s smartness when these subjects come up.

 

Aaron was describing a woman in the mall who had a long dress and a head covering. He thought she was “Amnish.” After several questions we realized that she was a nun. “Yes, a nun!” Aaron said. I asked if she was with someone and he said, “Yes, she was with her children.” Oh.  I think we have a problem.

 

I took Aaron to Taco Bell after I picked him up from his day group. In typical fashion, he stood at the counter looking at the menu on the wall. He looked and looked and looked and looked some more. Finally, it seemed he might be ready to order.

Aaron: Do you have enchiladas?

Cashier: Yes, we do. They’re not listed on the board, but we do have enchiladas.

Aaron: Oh, OK.  I’ll have a taco salad.

Hahahahaha!!!!

 

Aaron’s always fascinated by the little crossing guards at a particular school crossing that we sometimes drive by. Today we drove by at 5:00 and they weren’t there. Aaron said, “Hey!  Where are those street stopper people?!”  Well, they went home to rest. Street stopping is hard work!!

 

Aaron, who is staying home from his day group today, ate a HUGE plate of scrambled eggs and a HUGE bunch of bacon for a late breakfast. So just now, as he’s ever hopeful for some fast food or a Dillon’s cheddar pasta salad:

Aaron: Mom, what is there for lunch?

Me: Lunch? I thought you would still be full of all those eggs and bacon.

Aaron: But I just wondered, if I eat lunch, what there is for lunch.

Me: But I just thought your stomach would still be full.

Aaron walked away, but not for long. He returned:

“Mom, when all the food in my stomach settles down, at 12:30, then what is there for lunch?” 😂😂

 

Aaron and I ran into a slowdown in the big construction zone this morning on our way to Paradigm. So tonight at supper, Aaron said, “Dad!! Today we hit a slow motion road!”

 

Aaron went into the bathroom after supper & ran out telling me to come quick & see something. I went in the bathroom, he turned the water on & I saw that it was coming out a little crooked. “Look!” he said. “The water is coming out bent!!!” That really bothered him & he tried to press on the faucet to straighten it out. He wants it fixed! No bent water allowed in this house – it’s not right!!

 

It’s so nice to have another day of sunshine. Aaron went outside for awhile, which he loves to do. I asked him if it was nice out there. “Well,” he said, “It was half cold!” Hey, I’ll take it! Half cold beats whole cold any day!!

 

Aaron: We better hurry. It’s almost 8:00.

Me: It’s only 7:20.

Aaron (looking at his watch….wait for it): Well, it’s not on MY watch.

Me: What time is it on your watch?

Aaron: 7:18.

There is nothing new under the sun. And if I must hear this every day, SO DO YOU PEOPLE!!!

Thank you.

 

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His watch!!  🙂  🙂 

 

 

 

Talking Points #3

Aaron’s been having what may be Myoclonic (jerk) seizures on occasion. While I in no way take these seizures lightly, what he said about it yesterday was pretty funny. He said, “ALL my arms and ALL my legs were shaking!!” Excuse me now – I need to go count his arms and legs to see just how many he has!

 

Aaron likes to call us Master, sometimes adding a not-so-flattering word with it, like Master of Darkness. It comes from some of his games and movies. Yesterday at Aldi, I told him to carry our bag of groceries to the van while I put the cart up. “Yes, Master,” Aaron replied. The young mother also putting up her cart heard him, and just smiled. I wonder what she thought? Either that I’m a very stern mom, or that we’re way too hooked on I Dream of Jeanie.

 

Aaron: Did we get any mail today?

Me: Yes, we got three things.

Aaron: Was any of it bad? (Junk mail)

Aaron (Before I could answer): Did Dad tear any of it in that paper breaking thing? (shredder)

 

Aaron: Mom, you know what I noticed the Olympics is all about?

Pause for me to answer.

Me: What did you notice the Olympics is all about?

Aaron: SNOW!! It’s all about snow!

We’ve explained Winter Olympics and Summer Olympics, but I’m not sure it stuck. ☺️🏂⛷️

 

On our way home from his day group:

Aaron: I’m STUFFED!! The bacon and eggs you fixed for breakfast, and then I had burritos!

Me: You had burritos for lunch?

Aaron: Yes! Barb and Brandy took me and Yolanda to get burritos.

Me: Were they good?

Aaron: Yeah! The people asked if we wanted beef or chicken for the insides! 🙂 I got chicken!

I never thought of burritos as having “insides.” Not sure I WANT to think of burritos as having “insides!”

 

I sent some food with Aaron to Paradigm today – peanut butter crackers, cucumbers, a granola bar – so he just told me that they stopped at Quik Trip and he bought two sausage biscuits and a slushie. He added, “Later I ate the food you sent so it would settle my stomach.” Tomorrow I’m just sending Pepto Bismol.

 

Aaron’s ear was bleeding, so I asked him what happened.

“I was scratching an itch off my ear!” 😄😄

 

I asked Aaron what movie they went to see today.

Aaron: We saw Samson! He was Noah’s brother, right?

And later: God gave Samson his strength. Then he could beat up people!!

I think we need to revisit that Bible story. 😁

 

Aaron walked up behind me at 6:44 this morning. He had just gotten out of bed, not even stopping at the bathroom first.

Aaron: Mom, guess what I saw?

Aaron then waited on me to guess.

Me: What did you see?

He reached into his right pocket. Nothing. He reached into his left pocket. Nothing.

Aaron (finally!): Spiders!

Me: WHAT??!! WHERE??!!

Aaron (very calmly): On my floor.

Me (not very calmly): OH DEAR!!!

I grabbed my glasses as I tried to gather my nerve and wondered if our exterminator could make an emergency call today…or if another emergency call would be made and I would soon be in an ambulance.

Aaron was in no hurry as he walked up the hall to his room. TORTURE!!! Once in his room, he turned and gave me a smile. And I knew.

Me: Aaron! Did you just dream about spiders?

Aaron (flatly, but with that smile): Yes.

He is quite happy that he pulled one over on Mom. He should be happy that he is still standing and breathing!

I am, too. Still standing and breathing, that is. And happy. Happy Aaron’s little story was so clever…and NOT true!!

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Aaron went to the mall today and was telling me that he got an M&M ice cream thing at Dairy Queen. I had told him not to get the triple death by chocolate upon chocolate thing that he usually gets, so he was quite proud of himself for just getting the M&M creation. Then he told me that his friend, Shauna, saw him eating it.

Aaron: Shauna told me that was her favorite.

Me: Did she?

Aaron: Yeah. So is it OK that when it was half high, I let her have the rest?

Aaron not only has a sweet tooth, he also has a sweet side. He loves giving things away to his friends.

And I LOVE how he described giving it to her when he had eaten some of it while Shauna watched. He didn’t give it away until it was “half high.”

He’s not half bad, is he?

And of course I told him it was a very wonderful thing to do.

 

Me: Aaron, go ahead and take your pills. It’s 9:30.

Aaron, pushing up his sleeve to see his watch: It is not 9:30.

Me: What time is it?

Aaron: 9:26.

Me, in my head: AAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

There. I feel better.

 

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Tired of This

Recently, Aaron had his Epilepsy doctor visit.  After his appointment we had to walk over to the building next door for Aaron to have some blood drawn.  His liver function needs to be checked routinely due to one of his newer seizure drugs.  Aaron wasn’t thrilled about that because he really wanted to hurry up at the doctor and then go to Pizza Hut like we had planned.  Eating lunch out, after all, is the real reason Aaron was with me that day.  At least that’s the real reason according to Aaron.  Going to the lab was just another annoying delay in reaching his true objective.  The Pizza Hut Buffet…oh, and Wal-Mart after that.  We mustn’t forget the all-important Wal-Mart visit!

The next morning found us going down to the air base for yet another lab visit for Aaron.  This time we were preparing for Aaron’s 2-year physical, so labs had to be done ahead of time for that.  No matter that we were getting some sleet and snow – we needed to get this done.  Aaron had resigned himself to no lunch out that day but instead I would take him to his day group on my way home.  However, our van engine light came on, so I had to go back over to our side of town…run to our shop to ask about the light…and by then, I just decided to keep Aaron at home.  Happy Aaron!  A tiny bit frustrated Mom.  And an even happier Aaron when he heard the words “Taco Bell” come out of my mouth.

On the following afternoon, the air base called to tell me that they had messed up on one of Aaron’s tests.  We would need to come back and have more blood drawn.  UGH!!!  Fasting blood work, which would mean getting there in the morning.  But the next morning I had to take Gary to his foot surgeon appointment.  Gary, who still wasn’t driving due to his surgery.

I’m just scratching the surface of my life right now.  And honestly, I’m not complaining.  I’m just reporting.  (Thank you, Alice Zwemke, for giving us that wonderful statement so many years ago!!).  😊

There we were on that cold Friday morning, back at the air base lab.  Aaron was dreary and slow, tired in several ways.  He pulled up his shirt sleeve without being told because he knows the routine so well, looked at his new watch perched halfway to his elbow the way he must always wear it, and slowly stretched as he waited for the tourniquet and needle.

 

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“I’m tired of this,” he muttered in his resigned monotone voice.

There went my heart.  I wanted to scoop him up in a motherly hug, but it wasn’t the time or place for that.  Besides, motherly hugs rarely have a time and place in Aaron’s autistic world.

But I had another reaction as well.  The depleted side of my spirit nearly kicked in.  My thought was this:

“YOU’RE tired??!  I’M the one who’s tired!!”

Yep.  Those truly are the words that swarmed around in my head.

Tiredness has been closely following on my heels lately.  Not just physical tiredness, although that is certainly present, but a soul weariness that has crept into my spirit.

All of us reach that point at some point.

“I’m so tired of ________.”

Then all of us can fill in that blank…or several blanks, right?

With Aaron, being his mother AND his caregiver, I am pulled this way and that.

Seizures.  Autism.  Medicines.  Side effects of medicines.  Weight loss.  Low sodium.  Needs to eat more.  Needs to drink less.  New medicines.  New side effects.  Blood work.  Behaviors.   Routines.  Disrupted routines.   Needing caregivers.

Sometimes I’m just so tied up in all of it.

And tied down to all of it.

Discouragement can sneak in unexpectedly.  A comment.  A picture.  A thought.  I can let it get to me in ways I know I shouldn’t.

Discouragement can roar in like a Kansas tornado.  A seizure.  A behavior.  A disappointment.

What I do at that point with my discouragement is key to my frame of mind from that point forward.

I can nurture a heavy spirit, or I can let the Holy Spirit do His sweet work in my heart.  I can’t change my situation, really, but I sure can work to change my attitude.

I do this through thinking more about my blessings than my burdens.  No matter what, I do have so many blessings and it does my tired heart good to think about those instead of wishing for what isn’t.

Another thing that helps me is to go to my Bible, especially the Psalms.  For instance, just read and hear the wonderful instruction and hope in these verses.

When I thought, “My foot slips,” Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.  When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul.             

(Psalm 94:18-19)

It’s not a shallow pep talk.  It’s listening to God Himself and trusting that He knows where I am and what I face…and He cares!

Then sometimes there are extra nuggets of love from Aaron himself – rare as nuggets of gold – that warm my soul and remind me of the value of this life that God has given me.

Not long ago, after some seizures and while we watched a show, Aaron looked over at me and surprisingly said:

“Mom, I’m glad you’re caring for me.”

He rubbed his hands together happily as he saw the smile on my face.

“I’m glad I’m caring for you, too, Aaron,” I replied.

And very, very glad that God is taking care of us both!

 

 

A Cow Up Close!

Our sweet friends, Bing and Lolly, lead our Life Group.  At our last meeting, Bing was showing a picture of an adorable calf that was born just that day to the cow owned by his son and his wife.  Troy and Nikki have a few cows, some goats, ducks, and chickens at their country home.  And I must mention their beautiful Husky named Winter.

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Aaron loves cows.  We always look for cows in the various pastures that we pass as we drive around our side of town.  So, I asked Bing and Lolly if it might be possible to bring Aaron to see Troy and Nikki’s cows, along with the cute little calf.

“Absolutely!” they said.  So last Saturday Gary and I drove with Aaron the short distance to Troy and Nikki’s house for a little animal time.  It was SO much fun to just watch Aaron relax and interact with the animals.  Nikki was very patient and sweet with Aaron, helping him feed and pet the mama cow and the goats; pet a chicken; and watch Winter jump up high for a bone.

The precious little calf kept his distance but oh, he was just the cutest little guy!

I’ll let the following pictures do the talking.

 

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Aaron really does love animals.  He had such a good time!

And so did Gary and I.  Moments like this are a gift to us that can’t be bought.  They can only be experienced, and for that we are truly thankful.

 

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