Aaron grew and thrived normally, never giving us pause for alarm in any way. He was bright and curious, and as cute as he could possibly be. Aaron knew all of his letters, randomly, before he was two years old. Gary was so shocked one day as he held Aaron on his lap before his second birthday. Gary was reading a magazine and suddenly Aaron started pointing to the letters on the page that Gary was reading. Aaron was telling what each letter was and in his amazement, Gary called urgently for me to come. I thought that Aaron must have hurt himself, so I ran downstairs to find Aaron safe………..and calling out letters as Gary would point to them. We laughed and cheered for Aaron, and Aaron was delighted……..though he wasn’t quite sure why.
As Aaron grew, we noticed that he was sometimes a little different from other children. Still we weren’t alarmed. His funny clapping seemed like an appropriate behavior for a young child, and was something that we knew he would outgrow. He didn’t like the feel of certain clothes or the tags on shirts, but sometimes other kids didn’t like those things either. He was very hard to potty train, but aren’t boys often that way? Then came his first seizure in the winter of 1992 while we were stationed in Germany. We were terrified at this unexpected and awful event. Aaron spent nearly a week in the German children’s hospital in Mannheim and was diagnosed with Epilepsy. I cried one night at home until I felt that I had no more tears, and then Gary and I faced the future with faith in God and love for our Aaron.
There have been many ups and downs in our journey………..many hard times and hard decisions………many moments when we thought our hearts would break……….and many times when we just wanted to walk away in our frustration during a particular behavior. But Aaron is our son and we love him deeply. With time comes acceptance and knowledge and understanding. With God all things are possible.
God allowed Aaron to be the young man that he is today. Aaron has redefined our parenting……he has reshaped our family……..he has refreshed my world on so many levels with his unique view of the world around him. Would I have designed Aaron to be this way? Probably not. But I have a God Whom I can totally trust and Who wove Aaron in my inward parts. Even though I don’t know the answers to the “why” questions, I do know the Who of creation. I trust my sovereign God with all my unanswered questions. He is an awesome God.
This past Thursday, Aaron went to the mall with his group. He loves mall days because he loves the food court or Auntie Anne’s Pretzels or Dairy Queen……….it’s his Thursday food fest. On this particular mall trip he was proud to tell me that instead of making his lunch a super duper extra large Triple Chocolate Blast Sundae, he instead chose to eat a sub at Subway. I praised him for that decision and then asked him what kind of bread he decided to order. He answered, “Normal!” This means Italian. It’s scary that I know this.
Anyway, in addition to all the food he adores, he also loves all the fascinating sights and sounds of the mall. Remember the day he couldn’t wait to tell me about the very unique sight of a mannequin, wearing……..well, in Aaron’s words: “Mom!! I saw a statue wearing BRAS!!!” I didn’t even bother to ask him just how many bras she was wearing. Some things are better to just leave alone.
So on this past Thursday, Aaron rushed in the door and hurried to find me downstairs so he could tell me about his latest mall experience. Let me preface this by saying that Aaron has a great interest in nuns. Yes, nuns. Maybe it’s because one of his very favorite movies is The Sound of Music. Maybe it’s because of the habits that they wear, which are very foreign to Aaron’s world………..so therefore merit his full attention. And when something merits Aaron’s full attention, watch out. He will stare, he might point, and he will most definitely comment – sooner or later. We often hope it’s later but it’s usually sooner.
Anyway, here is Aaron’s story: “Mom! Guess what Cody saw me looking at? A NUN!!!”
So you saw a nun, Aaron? Where were you?
I was fighting fear at this point, wondering what had transpired.
“We were eating and I saw a nun! She had on those loooooong clothes that go like this!” And he proceeded to make hand motions from his head down to his feet, describing what this nun was wearing. This in itself is hilarious. He continued: “Cody told me to quit staring at her.”
Well, Aaron, we always tell you not to stare. Were you pointing at her?
“No, I was just looking at her. And you know what, Mom? It was a WOMAN!!!”
Good grief, Aaron! Yes, SHE is a woman………SHE is not an IT!!
But this was not all that Aaron had to say about this nun. “Mom, I didn’t know they were in the United States! I thought they were in another place outside the United States, like China!!! So they’re allowed in the United States?”
China. Why on earth does Aaron think that nuns are in China? He couldn’t tell me and I really have no clue………unless he’s heard that nearly everything “American” is actually made in China. I don’t know. I will be on the lookout now for Chinese nuns because this has made me curious. Chinese nuns that are allowed in the United States, actually.
I do hope that if Aaron made comments about this nun (who is a woman, possibly from China but somehow allowed in the United States!)………..well, I hope that his comments were made quietly. Aaron doesn’t do quietly very well, though. This poor nun may be wondering about Aaron’s stares and about his surprise that she’s a woman and about the Chinese connection.
And I would like to tell this woman nun not to worry – that we are often left wondering, too.