Aaron’s Prayer

Last week Aaron was extra grouchy every morning when it came time to get out of bed.  Nothing I said or did made a difference.  Nothing Gary said or did made a difference, either.  So, it seemed we were stuck in perpetual morning grouchiness.

Believe me, Aaron can re-define what it means to display said grouchiness.  Can he ever! 

I have many AAAAAHHHHHH moments when he is on that level of refusal to get out of bed.  Aaron can be very verbal, and not in a nice way, when he is tired and sleepy at the beginning of his day.

Therefore, I sometimes tell him that I am done and then I disengage.  I don’t respond to his words or his demands, and I tell him that the decision about his day is his to make.  He eventually settles down and all is well.

Last Thursday, our Meals on Wheels delivery day, saw Aaron once again very angry about getting out of bed.  I quickly decided to get off that path, telling him that I would go without him and proceeding to get ready to leave.

Aaron could not bear that thought.  As we drove to the senior center a while later, Aaron’s mood improved.  His music made him happy as did the thought of eating lunch at a restaurant after our deliveries.

Aaron was very helpful and he enjoyed seeing our clients, as well as the various dogs and other animals that we have come to know. 

“Mom, did I do good today?” he asked as we finished at our last house.

I assured him that he did just fine, and he smiled happily as he rubbed his hands together.

Soon we were at Jose Pepper’s being pampered by Emily, our server that we have come to know.  She loves Aaron and is excellent with him.

We were munching on chips and salsa, along with a free espinaca, when Aaron’s salad arrived. 

“OK,” Aaron said, “let’s pray.”

I love it when the praying part is his suggestion.  I also love it when he agrees to ask the blessing, which he did on this day.

Now Aaron’s prayers are always two sentences, and they are always thanking God for things.  He might say, “Thank You for the food and thank You that we got to go to Meals on Wheels.”

But on this day, as we bowed our heads, Aaron got completely off script in a very wonderful way.

“Dear Lord,” he said, “next time on Thursday will You help me do better about going to Meals on Wheels?”

I seriously cannot remember Aaron praying like that in a very very long time.  Maybe ever. My heart was so touched and warmed by his simple yet heartfelt prayer.

Aaron does feel things much more deeply than we usually know.  It’s hard for him to process his feelings and thoughts in a controlled way when he’s frustrated.  Hard for him to let us know what it is he is feeling without hurting OUR feelings.

We enjoyed our lunch so much, even if Aaron wasn’t totally sure what he was eating.

“Mom?  What’s this green stuff?!” 

Being color blind makes Aaron’s life even MORE interesting…and ours as well. 

Green food and a great prayer. 

Thank you, Lord, for those blessings. 

But She Got Scared!

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.

Aaron’s Talking Points #13

Time for more of Aaron’s funny comments from over the years!

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Just awhile ago Aaron said, “Mom, someone in my group told me that eating pears will put hair on your chest. Is that true?”

Me: “Well, Aaron, I’ve eaten plenty of pears.”

Aaron: “But girls aren’t ALLOWED to have hair on their chests!”

I cannot tell you how relieved I am right now!

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Aaron and I are sitting on the front porch enjoying this beautiful evening. A neighbor that we don’t know real well came walking by with her dog. She spoke and I spoke, which Aaron saw as his wide-open door.

“HEY!!” he loudly yelled. “WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE VOLCANO??!!”

She was a trooper and answered him. while he vigorously rubbed his hands together, totally delighted.

He’s just hilarious!!! So random!! 🤣

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Aaron loves giving away things to his friends at his day group, including sharing candy or cookies. He’s realized that several of the clients have diabetes, so can’t have the sugary treats. Last week I let him take some sugar free candy to share. Today while we were shopping, Aaron decided he wanted to get more candy to share, but this time he wanted to be sure he had some for his sugar free friends.

“Mom!!! Can we get some of that free fattening candy for Paradigm?!!”

Aaron just gave the perfect name for my perfect food choice: FREE and FATTENING. 😋😜🍬🍭🍰🍩

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So last night we were sitting around chilling out in the family room, when I heard a sniffing sound coming from Aaron. I looked at him just as he said, “Mom, my deodorant gave away after awhile. I need to put some more on.”

Some things I just don’t want to know.

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Time for another Aaronism…….getting into the very hot van and he said, “Whew!! I can swallow the heat!”

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Aaron just asked me, “When are you and Dad going to that anniversary for dinner?” I don’t know. I’m still trying to find it in the yellow pages!

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Aaron is thrilled with his new mouse pad.

“MOM!! My new mouse pad softens my arm!!” 😊

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Aaron: Mom! I think I’ll put my short pants pajamas on.

Me: It’s too early to do that. It’s only 4:00.

Aaron: No. It’s 4:11.

🤣🙃🕓

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Aaron and I just had a meeting here at the house with his state insurance representative. This is a required yearly meeting to update paperwork, medical issues, etc. Aaron sees it as his yearly opportunity to talk about his latest movies, alien sightings, and food exploits. I had given him the yearly lecture on what TO talk about and what NOT to talk about. He was doing pretty well, actually. I only had to employ my evil eye a couple times. He was answering questions like: Do you know what to do in case of a fire? What activities do you enjoy? What foods do you like to eat? And then something was mentioned about movies and television.

Aaron: I DO NOT LIKE LOVE SHOWS!!!!!

Well……OK.

We won’t put down the Hallmark Channel as one of your favorites, correct?

Representative (after much laughter): I’ve never heard those movies called by that name before.

Yep. Just hang around awhile and you’ll hear lots of things you’ve never heard before. Guaranteed.

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Aaron went to the zoo today with his day group.

Aaron: Mom, I loved the Chimpanzees! They put their hands on the glass.

Me: Do you mean the Gorillas? The big ones?

Aaron: No! The Chimpanzees. The green ones!

Being color blind is…..interesting.

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Chubby Update:

Chubby sits here every day, where Aaron places him along with his bright red peace hand, as if he’s looking up the hall waiting for Aaron to come in his room.

Aaron has not forgotten that Chubby is in reality a piggy bank. I had some friends over last Thursday night. We were sitting on the patio when Aaron burst outside.

“Hey!!” he blurted out. “Do you have any change?”

And despite my protests, these dear ladies dug in their purses and donated to the cause.

Aaron was thrilled!!

Anybody need a marketer? I have one for you! I may have finally found a career track for Aaron!! 😅💰💵

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So Aaron saw this sign today in the Dillon’s parking lot, and of course asked me what an expectant mother is. I asked him what he thinks it is and he said, “It’s when they’re expected to have birth!”

So glad I didn’t give him my boring definition but let him give me his hilarious version.

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I just remembered that I cut a cantaloupe yesterday, so I offered some to Aaron. He watched me place several slices in one of his bowls.

Aaron, staring down at his bowl: That?

Me: Is that too much?

Aaron: No! It’s less!

He does have an unusual way of asking for more.

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Aaron has never shown interest in learning to wash dishes until last night. He did very well. We only had a little water on the floor; he carried bubbles downstairs to show Gary; tried to introduce bubbles to Jackson: kept holding up his hands to look at the wrinkles – oh, and he did wash some dishes in the process!

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Aaron: “MOM!! Kenny Rogers sings POKER!!” 🤣🤣

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Aaron saw some Civil War scenes on TV the other night. This morning he saw me with spots of makeup on my face before I smoothed it in. Of course, he has to comment! “Mom! You look like one of those people in the war in history!”

Say anymore, Aaron, and I’ll be on the war path!

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Aaron told us he saw a minor car wreck. “Mom, there was a piece of fender bender in the road!!”

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This morning, Aaron was telling me about his friend who was mad at one of the staff at his day group.

“Mom, N was giving Barb a mad eye!” 🧐 😅

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Aaron, listening to Neil Diamond sing Kentucky Woman:

“CHUNKY woman??!!”

Never a dull moment.

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I hope all of you enjoyed a few more of our Aaron comments from over the years.  Never dull is correct! 

Too Much Love!

I guess the best way I could describe Aaron and the subject of love is this: 

Aaron holds love at a distance, admiring the concept but not wanting or able to become too involved in the process.

Welcome to how autism colors every single aspect of Aaron’s life, and therefore ours as well…or anyone who is associated with Aaron.

Valentine’s Day has been on Aaron’s mind since soon after Christmas when all the red hearts and cute stuffed animals and boxes of candy appeared on store shelves.  Aaron flits from one shelf to the next, holding up items and laughing as he very loudly says, “MOM!!  Look at this!!  Can I have it??!!”

It’s all great fun as he zooms around finding lots of treasures.  This idea of love is safe as Aaron, ever hopeful about his quest for “things,” attempts to score a bag of candy or a cute trinket to tuck away in his room.

Aaron does love showing love, but on his terms.  Aaron’s terms are dictated by his inner workings and thoughts, deeply affected by the effects of autism. 

At our local Dillon’s just down the road, we have come to know Jody.  She is a joy with a warm and loving heart.  Jody has personal family connections to special needs.  She has come to know Aaron and loves to interact with him.  Jody knows that sometimes Aaron enjoys buying flowers there that he gives to certain people, often ones in his day group, Paradigm.

One recent day, when I was in Dillon’s without Aaron, Jody asked me if I thought that Aaron would like to give flowers to his friends at Paradigm for Valentine’s Day.  Dillon’s donates flowers to all sorts of local places like hospitals, nursing homes, etc. 

I thought that was a wonderful idea, so we made our plan.  Barb, Paradigm supervisor and second mom to Aaron (though she’s too young to be his mom!), gave me numbers, and Jody did the ordering, and Aaron and I did the picking up. 

Perfect, right?

Wrong.

Aaron and I were eating lunch after our Meals on Wheels delivery the day before the flower pick-up and delivery.  The day before the big Valentine party at Paradigm.

Aaron does not handle parties and celebrations well…at all. 

Aaron does not handle expectations well…at all.

“Mom?” he began as we ate our lunch, “you make me feel like you think I need to be in love with the clients.”

I knew we were in trouble with all this business of flowers and parties and LOVE.

I explained, much more than once, over the remainder of that day about the purpose of the flowers.  I knew I was fighting an uphill battle, though.

I especially knew this when yesterday morning, Valentine party and flower delivery day, Aaron stood by my desk early…eyes droopy with sleep…and spoke his first words of the morning:

“Mom, I feel embarrassed by this love thing.”

Sigh.

Over the course of the morning, I told him that I would take the flowers…that he didn’t need to go…that it was fine for him to stay home from all the party stress…and so forth and so on.

But no, Aaron felt compelled to go…to give this difficult day a try.

Later, as we picked up the big box of beautiful roses from the Dillon’s florist, one of the ladies there very happily looked at us and said:

“You’re delivering some LOVE!!!”

Bless her heart, she had no idea.  I don’t think she heard Aaron’s reply.

“No!!” he simply said.

But that simple reply told SO much!

I made it to Paradigm with grouchy overloaded Aaron.  He was showing anything but love, except to Barb when he gave her a gift he had made.  He managed a smile for a picture.

He fell on the floor when he backed up into a friend in a wheelchair (neither were hurt).  But that certainly didn’t help his love feelings.  The party atmosphere was loud and just too much for Aaron, but it always is, so we left and headed home…with Aaron feeling terrible about the fall and the unmet expectations.

The flowers were beautiful and made the clients, especially the girls, feel loved and happy.

Aaron enjoyed seeing a picture of his happy friends that Barb sent.  But again, seeing it from a distance was best for him.

Gary and I took Aaron to lunch at a small local Asian restaurant nearby.  This made Aaron happy.  He processed the morning as he talked about it with us. 

He also made us laugh and laugh at his reaction to only having ONE fork.  To Aaron, one eating utensil is never enough!  This is Aaron’s norm:

But he handled that one fork very well, which was an accomplishment worthy of note to me and Gary. 

Small victories are pretty big to us. 

Aaron’s happiness is big, too. 

A trip to Wal-Mart after lunch.  Some Red Hots and a new game for Valentine’s Day.  All these things made Aaron very content and happy.

We know to do life Aaron’s way when we can.  Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. 

Seeing Aaron’s reaction to his one fork held a world of meaning to me and Gary. 

I’ll hold that in my heart on this Valentine’s weekend.

We love you, Aaron! 

Up close or from a distance, depending on Aaron – of course! 

HALT!!

Walking into Wal-Mart with Aaron is like opening a box of Cracker Jacks.  You never know what the surprise inside will be. 

I sure do have some Wal-Mart stories.  Like the Valentine nightie story.  Maybe I should share that one yet again since we’re in that time of the year.  And yes, Aaron has seen some sexy little lingerie hanging in our local Wal-Mart, but I gave him THE look and walked briskly away with him trailing behind before he could say more than:

“MOM!!  LOOK!!  BRAS!!”

I made a mad dash for the electronics section then since I knew Aaron would follow me there…because as much as he was fascinated with those BRAS, he does love those shelves full of games and movies. 

I almost always give Aaron a few instructions as we walk into Wal-Mart, especially if he wants to branch off on his own…heading to electronics, of course.  Or the snack aisle.

Aaron, don’t run.

Aaron, don’t make funny noises…and yes, that includes farting noises.

Aaron, don’t ask the Wal-Mart associate for help a dozen times.

Aaron, if you do ask the Wal-Mart associate for help, don’t begin by saying, “HEY!!!”

Aaron, not everyone wearing blue is a Wal-Mart associate.  Please don’t ask multiple random people for help.

There are a few other guidelines that I wish I had given Aaron in the past, but the past is in the past, right? 

Aaron, please don’t pull a box of cereal out of the lower row of that huge cereal display at the end of the aisle. 

Aaron, please don’t make the fox whistle, especially when there are multiple couples nearby…including men with big muscles, you know.

Aaron, please don’t keep flashing the peace sign at every security camera you see.

And this one especially:

Aaron, please don’t sing the last line of the last song you heard in the van.   Repeating “Man!!  I feel like a woman!!” over and over was a bit much for me. 

This past Friday, Aaron and I made our weekly Wal-Mart excursion and of course Aaron wanted to venture off in his own direction.  Soon, I saw him up ahead in the snack aisle.  He saw me coming and immediately he did this:

He just held his arm out there for the world to see…and they did. 

He did NOT want to be interrupted in his private quest for the best and the most snacks he could round up without Mom’s interference and unwanted input. 

Oh Aaron, you do make me laugh!

And at least you weren’t singing or whistling!!

Set It Aside

One morning shortly before Christmas, Gary and I sat down to eat breakfast with Aaron.  We were enjoying our eggs, sausage, and biscuits while listening to Aaron talk…always Aaron is talking! 

Aaron pushed back his chair and got up to get something from the kitchen – probably more napkins or silverware since one napkin and one set of silverware is never adequate in Aaron’s book.  I looked up then to see that Aaron had put his biscuit off his plate.  He had set it aside in order to keep his plate from being crowded and to keep the food from touching. 

We just left it there, choosing not to make that action an issue on this pleasant morning.  Aaron has his particular ways.  And Gary and I have learned to choose our battles carefully because disrupting Aaron’s ways can leave a trail of anger and frustration for all of us…and many times, it’s just not worth it.

Such is our life with autism, this matter of what to set aside and what to put back on the plate.

I had a full plate of Aaron issues last week.  We had unaccounted money gone from Aaron’s wallet, which means he probably gave some away at his day group.  He knows better, but he has a very hard time resisting the urge to share his money with his friends.  Therefore, he has become quite adept at not telling the truth, which was another issue we had to handle with Aaron.

Aaron became so frustrated that on Wednesday, he erupted in anger and tears at his day group.  He called me on the phone several times…he threw his shoe and his glasses…he yelled…and all in all was just extremely unhappy. 

His coat also got torn on both sides.  Aaron said that was done in fun as he and another client chased each other.  Either way, Wednesday was a rough day in more ways than one.

On Friday night, shortly after midnight, Aaron had the first of four seizures…the last one being at 6:40 Saturday morning.  I was fixing his favorite salad that morning, hoping he could enjoy it for supper as I hauled his wet bedding down the stairs and then helped him get settled on the couch for more sleep…and hopefully no more seizures. 

Bless his heart.  He can’t help his behaviors any more than he can help his seizures.  Yet while his seizures touch my heart, sometimes his behaviors do quite the opposite.

I thought about his biscuit as I was processing all that happened last week.  What do I set aside, and what do I keep on my plate?

I need to set aside resentment and anger, which is not always easily done.  Living full time with Aaron can take a toll on me and on Gary.  But God has led us to this life, and we know that He will keep us where we need to be if we just focus our eyes on Him and not on our circumstances. 

I must set aside selfishness.  Mending Aaron’s coat…taking him to have his bent glasses adjusted…washing his bedding and clothes…listening to his explanations over and over and over…  All these are actions that take my time and energy.  As any caregiver knows…as any parent knows…selfishness and service do not mix.  One must go off the plate.

Fear is another thing that needs to go.  Aaron’s seizures make my heart leap with fright for an instant.  I don’t think one ever gets used to them.  His future, too, can cause my heart to fear.  But again, I know that this path we walk is not alone.  God is with us each step and He has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. 

Now what do I keep on my plate?  I keep the reminder of God’s great faithfulness.  I keep His Word in my heart.  I am mindful of His grace for each day and each moment.

I keep humor nearby, always.  A cheerful heart is the best medicine, like God said, for me and for Aaron, even when Aaron gives me a blank look when I think I’m very funny.  😊 

 I also count my blessings!  My plate overflows with blessings if I but look around me.  For instance, on Saturday I was very thankful for the blessing of a washer and dryer instead of a bucket and a clothesline.  Thankful for a warm house, food to eat and to fix for Aaron, and thankful that Aaron could eat some bacon and eggs later that morning.   And Aaron, who loves using multiple napkins, decided that the grease on his fingers could not wait for his napkin.  His eyes shot over to me as he wondered if I saw what he just did. 

“I was wiping a grease of bacon on my pants,” he seriously informed me.”

There’s the humor!!  😊 

Thankfulness, too, for Aaron’s amazing way with words.  After all, that’s a big reason I started writing this blog and named it He Said WHAT?!

And there is yet another blessing!  All my readers mean more to me than I can express. 

See how it goes?  My plate is filling up with good stuff, none of which I want to set aside. 

Time to taste and see that the Lord is good!

Aaron’s Talking Points #12

It’s high time I shared more of Aaron’s fun (or sometimes not!) way of viewing his world. Enjoy!

I took my bracelet off in the van on our way to Aaron’s day group this morning because I didn’t think it matched the red in my blouse. Within three seconds of taking it off, Aaron had it on. When we pulled up to Paradigm, he jumped out of the van faster than greased lightning! He didn’t want me to make him take the bracelet off. Here’s the picture that Barb sent me. HaHa!

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Aaron was excited to tell me what he did today at Paradigm. It involved a Spangles hamburger, but he was also glad to help buy things for group homes at Sam’s.

Aaron: Mom!! Today I went to Sam’s with Amy!

Me: You did? What did you buy?

Aaron: Things for group homes. And we stayed a LONG time! Like til 1:09!!

Me: Really? It wasn’t 1:10?

Aaron: No!! It was 1:09!!

Me: Not 1:10?

Aaron: No! We stayed til 1:09.

This conversation never gets old and never ceases to make me laugh. 😁

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Aaron was talking about the drive home from his group today. “Mom, our driver missed the first two road spaces to our house!” Well, I guess turning off on the third road space was a charm because he made it home.

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Aaron was talking again yesterday about the girl in his group who likes him, so I told him to tell her that they could be friends without her having to be his girlfriend. Later he said, “Mom, I’m going to keep those words inside of me.” In other words, he doesn’t want to tell her that because he likes this situation! Oh boy!

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There was one piece of pizza left so I offered it to Aaron, although I asked him if he minded that I had taken a bite out of it. His reply: “Well, just so I don’t get your germs. I don’t want to become bossy!” Now I’m wondering who I caught MY bossiness from!

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Aaron was a little sad when I picked him up one day last week. It seems that his good friend was having a bad day…as many of the clients sometimes do, including Aaron…and she had hit Aaron. He talked and talked about it over the weekend.

He and I were in Dillon’s on Saturday, and we passed through the beautiful flowers in the florist area.

“MOM!!” Aaron blurted. “Can I get N some flowers because she hit me??”

At first, I laughed, but as I thought about it I realized what he was really saying. He wanted N to feel better, so he thought flowers should help. He was willing to give his friend something sweet even though she had been mean to him.

This sure has given me something to think about the last few days, and it’s not just that maybe if I hit Gary then he’ll bring me flowers. 😉 Aaron has focused my thinking far deeper than that, as he often does. 💕

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We got Aaron a new bed. It’s bigger than his old bed so we’ve cautioned him about bumping his legs on the end of it. He’s done very well with all the changes, including putting his night stand with all his “stuff” on it on the OTHER side of his new bed.

Tonight at supper, Gary asked Aaron how he slept last night.

“Good,” Aaron answered. “But the edge of that bed keeps hitting the edge of my leg!”

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Aaron: Mom, Jackson gassed. Can you smell it?

Me: No, I can’t smell it.

Aaron: I think you can smell nothing. I think something’s wrong with your nasals.

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Aaron’s EEG went well. I don’t know when we’ll get results. As we left on the elevator we wondered what time it was & so I quickly looked at Aaron’s wristwatch. I said, “Oh, it’s 10:45.” You know what’s coming, don’t you? Aaron then looked at his watch & said, “No. It’s 10:46.” I wonder if people could hear the laughter coming out of the elevator. And Aaron can’t figure out why on earth I think that’s funny!

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Aaron: “It’s cold! Does that mean it’s half-winter?” A new season has begun!

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Gary and I returned home after being away this weekend. Aaron was doing his usual talking, then paused as he remembered something important.

“MOM!! WAIT!! I got you something!!”

He ran up to his room and came back with a beautiful pouch that our friend Terri had helped him buy for me. Aaron was super excited as he handed it to me and said:

“MOM!! This is for you, but if you don’t want it then I can keep it!!!” 😁😁

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Aaron has been very happy that Gary and I were planning a trip to Topeka. “No parents!” he says. Yesterday he asked what time we were leaving, and I told him we were leaving at 3:00. “Can’t you leave early?” he asked. “Like 2:59?” 🙂

By the way, we left at 2:52. We showed him!

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Aaron and I are watching Rocketeer. When the girl hit the bad guy over the head with a vase, Aaron said, “She bonked him into sleep, right?” HaHa!

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Aaron saw a bowl of whole, uncapped strawberries on the kitchen counter and so he grabbed one to eat. He carried it over to me and said, “Mom, can you cut the flower off the top?”

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Aaron, watching Laura Ingalls at the fair on Little House on the Prairie as she tried unsuccessfully to find the coin under the shell: “She has UNLUCK!!” 😆😆

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Aaron pulled a muscle in his leg a few days ago. He’s been limping around but is better today. Still, it’s bothering him that this mysterious thing happened.

Aaron: Mom, I feel like I’m getting old!

Me: You’re not old!

Aaron: I’m 34!!!

Me: 35. You’re 35.

I’ve always had the gift of encouragement. 🤪😁😁

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Today our dear friend, Terri, spent some time with Aaron while Gary and I were out. They went to lunch, walked around a lake and saw ducks and geese and a snake, went to see Terri’s bird, and just had fun. Aaron totally enjoyed it. But as usual, Aaron has his own take on things.

Aaron: Mom, I don’t think Terri looks like the kind of woman who should be watching over me.

Me: What on earth do you mean?

Aaron: Well, she looks like a Grandma! 😅😅🤷‍♀‍

Terri, you meant it when you said you think Aaron’s funny, right?

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Aaron: “Mom, are cashews normal nuts?”

 Me: “What’s a normal nut?”

Aaron: “Nuts that aren’t cashews.”

 I need to sit awhile and think about this.

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Just awhile ago Aaron said, “Mom, someone in my group told me that eating pears will put hair on your chest. Is that true?”

Me: “Well, Aaron, I’ve eaten plenty of pears.”

Aaron: “But girls aren’t ALLOWED to have hair on their chests!”

I cannot tell you how relieved I am right now!

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Aaron and I are sitting on the front porch enjoying this beautiful evening. A neighbor that we don’t know real well came walking by with her dog. She spoke and I spoke, which Aaron saw as his wide-open door.

“HEY!!” he loudly yelled. “WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE VOLCANO??!!”

She was a trooper and answered him. while he vigorously rubbed his hands together, totally delighted.

He’s just hilarious!!! So random!! 🤣🤣

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I’ll be back with more another day, of that I am certain! 🙂 🙂

Aaron’s Talking Points #9

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

 

Aaron and I were driving home from Paradigm, passing downtown Wichita on Kellogg.

Aaron: MOM!! LOOK!!

Me: What??!

Aaron: Wait!! It’s coming!

Waiting.

Aaron: There it is!! LOOK!! A chicken on a building!!

And there it was. A chicken statue perched on top of a building…….except I think it was a rooster. Anyway…..

Aaron: It’s a CHICKEN restaurant!!!! It hasssss……

Thinking.

Aaron: It hassss……CHICKEN FOOD!!!!

Soundsssss…….YUMMY!!!

 

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We’ve been praising Aaron’s good attitude and his kind sharing. Today he said, “Mom, I gave Sandra a piece of my Big Red gum. I told her that she doesn’t need her breath to smell.”

Well, I think we need to work on refining the presentation.

 

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Aaron and I are watching Little House on the Prairie. He remembered how Charles told Laura that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But of course, Aaron has his own version which he told me yesterday.

“Mom, to get the love of a man is through his stomach!!” 😍😍

 

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Aaron is not a fan of leftovers. The other night he somehow guessed that what I told him for supper was, indeed, leftovers. He looked at me suspiciously and then asked, “So did you cook it once?” Busted!

 

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Aaron was once again talking about how I looked in pictures from years ago. “You used to have long hair, Mom. Did you like it long? Do you want it long again?” As usual I replied, “Yes, I liked it long but no, I don’t want it long now.” He stood there looking at me & said, “So you’re staying with that?” I tell you, he can slap me down to earth like no one else!

 

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Gary’s plowing the garden, so Aaron just walked in the kitchen and asked if we’re getting ready to “open the garden.” Yes, we are. I’ll post the hours the garden will be open and the admission prices soon.

 

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Gary and I got some of our garden planted. Aaron is wondering if the rabbits will try to eat any of the vegetables this year. “But Mom, the rabbits won’t eat the onions.” And why is that? “Well, because then they would have spicy breath!” And we all know that there’s nothing worse than a rabbit with spicy breath! I personally hope I never run into one!

 

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Aaron, watching the game: “Is this football almost over? It says final four!” HaHaHa!!!

 

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Aaron was asking me if the ice cream that dropped all over his shirt yesterday would wash out. We asked him how he got it on there anyway and he said, “Well, it was melting fast. You know, it was not the non-melting kind of ice cream!” I tell you, it’s really hard anymore to find that non-melting ice cream!

 

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I bought some packets of mixed nuts at Sam’s, which Aaron tried to hide under his bed so he could have them all to himself. Anyway, he was telling me why he hid them. “Mom, I like them – especially those wrinkled nuts!” Can you guess which ones are the wrinkled nuts? Yep – pecans! Or as Aaron calls them – Pee-Cons. Look at them – they ARE wrinkled!

 

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Aaron, talking about his day group: Brandi was taking a vacation to a cemetery!!

Remind me not to call her travel agent. 😲 🤣

 

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You know by now that Aaron will sing a main phrase of the last song that he has heard…..over and over and over again. Yesterday he got a new CD – the Essential Elvis Presley. I’m questioning that essential part right now. Why oh why was the last song he heard just before his therapist appointment today “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog?”

To the woman who held the door open for us as we entered the building: Really, it was nothing personal.

To the receptionist: It’s not about you.

To his therapist: Just let it go.

To our waitress at Carlos O’Kelly’s: Not you! Honest!

We need to start listening to my hymn CDs.

 

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Elvis, Take 3:

Aaron: MOM!! Look up Elvis Presley Hound Dog 1956!!!

So I did, because if I don’t then my entire evening will consist of Aaron hovering, saying: MOM!! Look up Elvis Presley Hound Dog 1956!!

I was sure that Aaron’s head would pop off from laughing so hard as he watched Elvis dance.

Oh yes, Aaron has now discovered Elvis dancing.

Aaron: MOM!! Let’s show DAD!!!!

Me (MOM): Yes, let’s show DAD!! Hehehe!

Aaron: DAD!! Look at Elvis Presley Hound Dog 1956!

Much laughter ensued, from both Gary and Aaron. And finally, Aaron’s critique.

Aaron: Elvis was ROWDY in 1956!!

Stay tuned.

 

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More about Elvis on our drive home from Paradigm today.

Aaron: Mom, I’ve noticed something about Elvis. He doesn’t sing normal.

Me: He doesn’t sing normal?

Aaron: No, he doesn’t sing normal. How would you say he sings?

Me: You’re the one who said he doesn’t sing normal. You tell me how he sings.

Aaron: Well, he sings……I don’t know…..he just…..he doesn’t sing…..you know what I mean…..he doesn’t sing NORMAL!! How would you describe it?

Me: I didn’t say he doesn’t sing normal. You tell me how he sings.

Aaron: His voice is…..it’s……JIGGLY!!!!

Me (laughing): I knew you would come up with the right word, Aaron!

Aaron: Yeah. He’s just not NORMAL!!

I’m sure that Aaron and I have just begun to discover the truth about Elvis.

 

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We just got back from eating at Chili’s, where we celebrated the birthday of Aaron’s friend, Rosa. Aaron – despite his sore tooth and despite grabbing his face in pain several times – downed a salad, a plate of chicken bacon quesadillas, and an order of French fries (each one dipped meticulously in honey mustard sauce).

He ran upstairs to put on his pajamas, then thumped down the stairs and stood by me, staring.

“Mom!!” he finally said. “I don’t want any supper!”

Me (incredulously): WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU JUST ATE??!!

Aaron: Lunch?

This, my friends, is what happens when you meet at Chili’s for supper with Aaron BEFORE 5:00!!!! 🤣😋😜

 

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Aaron and I loved the new Jungle Book movie. The only thing he made a comment on was when Mowgli howled with the wolves. He thought a howling boy was pretty dumb. Haha! On the way into the theater, Aaron was reading the names of the movies on the marquee.

Aaron: Look, Mom! My Big Fat Green Wedding?

So I corrected him, changing Green to Greek, and told him about the old movie.

We went to the vet to get dog food on our way home. Aaron loves talking to Misha, who works there, about movies. They talked about Jungle Book, Independence Day, Captain America, and on and on. Finally Aaron remembered another movie he needed to tell her about.

Aaron: Oh! Guess what else is coming out? It’s The Married Greek Woman!!

It’s a good thing Misha knows her movies and didn’t even bat an eye!

 

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I asked Aaron if his glasses were dirty and needed to be cleaned, so he handed them to me and said, “Check it out, sweetie!” Sometimes I just throw parenting out the window and laugh.

 

‘Til next time!  😊  😊

 

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Magical and Maddening

“Aaron, look!!” I exclaimed one recent night as I closed our family room blinds.  Aaron walked over to join me at the window.  There, emerging from the grass in our front yard, were dozens of fireflies.  Lightning bugs, we called them where I grew up in West Virginia.

Aaron thought they were very cool!  He insisted that Gary come to the window as well, and so we stood there together for a minute, enjoying the sparkling little bugs.

A few nights later, Gary and I sat on our front porch after the stifling heat of the day had subsided somewhat.  It’s nice for us to enjoy a few moments of quietness and of being together, just the two of us without Aaron’s loud interruptions.  As dusk fell and darkness was encroaching, up from the grass once again came those beautiful fireflies.

It was captivating watching their glow, so many of them combining into a magical light show right in front of us.  So peaceful.

Then…BAM!!

Out on the porch rushed Aaron, who is rarely quiet.  There went the peacefulness of our front porch evening!

“MOM!!  Are we watching a Little House tonight?” he asked, knowing the answer.

I assured him that we would watch an episode, as always.

But, as always, that wasn’t enough for Aaron.

“When?” he asked.  “Can we do it now?”

I knew what was ahead but wanting to remain in the magic of firefly glow I told Aaron that I would let him know when I was ready.  This answer never suits Aaron.

One of the very hardest things for Aaron to do is to wait…on anything.  He especially finds it nearly impossible to wait on me to watch a program with him when HE is ready.  He escalates quickly into anger at those times, no matter what I say or how well I prepare him for the inevitable wait.  That night was no exception.

Our evening was quickly reverting from magical to maddening.

Such is often the life of a caregiver.

My blogging friend, Cheryl, is the author of a caregiving blog written out of her experiences as she cares for her husband who has Parkinson’s.  Our situations are very different but also very similar.  I have loved her insights and her godly wisdom.

In one recent blog…linked here… (https://parkinsonscaregivernet.wordpress.com/2020/06/13/similar-yet-different-but-really-similar/) – she wrote:

“But we live for the moments of joy: seeing our loved one smile, hearing them recount experiences from the past, watching them respond to family and friends, hearing them tell a favorite joke. Those moments may be brief, so we hold them sacred in our hearts and bring them to mind when the times are difficult. Another is the joy of knowing we are doing our best, that we are doing the right thing, that we are doing God’s work here on earth by caring for our loved one. Let’s not forget that, especially when the moments are difficult or uncomfortable.”

The difficult moments with Aaron often involve his autistic behaviors…his demands that life revolves around HIS order and expectations of how things are to be.  During those times, no one else’s desires or needs are considered by Aaron to have importance.

Maddening.

On our firefly night, we told Aaron that he needed to wait.  We tried to get him to  enjoy the magical lights in our front yard but he was blinded by his own frustrations and cared nothing for the beauty around him.  Only one thing mattered.  And he wanted that one thing NOW.

Anger intruded into our evening and stood on our front porch, as opposite in its effect as could possibly be when compared to the earlier joy of time together with Gary among the little sparkles in our yard.

Later, the anger was gone as Aaron and I watched our show.  Aaron is usually oblivious to the effect he has on us during those times as he brushes off the recent outburst and is happy in his bubble again, where all is well.

Oh, that it was so easy for me to do the same!

Like Cheryl said, though, it’s important to hold the moments of joy sacred in our hearts and in our memories.  And to know that we, as caregivers, are doing God’s work here on earth.

My heart this morning was heavy as I helped Aaron during his second seizure…knew that I would have bedding to wash later…canceled my hair appointment…and tried to still my worried heart about other matters.

I had finished my normal Bible study and so I opened my Bible randomly to see where my eyes fell.  I love doing that!  It’s like opening a treasure box that I just unearthed, excited to see what’s inside!

And look what God gave me!!

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.  Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”  (Job 12:7-10)

It’s all in God’s hands!

Aaron…me…Gary…others I love…our world…

All life and breath is in God’s hand.  All of creation declares that truth!

Now it’s up to me to trust our loving God and to rest in His hand.  And to…most importantly…trust Aaron into His hand and know that God put Aaron into our lives for a purpose I may never know on this earth.

But may I trust God’s knowing.  Trust and know just as much as the beasts and the birds and the bushes trust and know Who has done all this!!

Fireflies know, too, I am sure.

Maybe that’s why they shine their magical lights for all to see!

May I do likewise.

Photo by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant Radim Schreiber.

 

Who Are These Special Moms?

As the mother of a son with special needs, I have often had people tell me that they think God gives special children to special moms.  While I realize that this sentiment is meant to be encouraging and kind, I also must say that I think it’s misguided.  A big reason I think this is because I know me.  I know me better than anyone else knows me, except God.  I know that I’m no more special than any other mom out there.  This isn’t fake humility, either.  It’s just the truth.

All moms need God’s grace for each day.  We who are His children need His grace for our own children in so many different ways.  How amazing is God’s grace, too!  He promises this undeserved favor to us over and over, greater grace for greater needs, along with His mercies that are new every morning.  He has all that I need.  He has all that any mom needs.  I asked God many times to give me grace for the challenges that I faced as a mom of all three of our children.

Having said all this, let me also say that I have a great respect for the moms that I know who are walking this life alongside their child or children with special needs.  My heart goes out to them, ones I know and ones I don’t know, as they face demands that they never dreamed they would encounter as a mother.

Aaron-mothers day 12May1985

So as Mother’s Day approaches, and we see the beautiful cards…….heart tugging commercials…….perfect mother and children photos…….and all the lovely images of motherhood through the years – let me give a “special” shout-out to all the “special” moms of special children.

Those dear Moms:

  • Who spend hours researching your child’s diagnosis rather than hours researching what sport for him to play.
  • Who pray for your child’s teacher to be understanding of meltdowns, bluntness, and a zillion other things that have nothing to do with her grasping of educational facts, and yet have everything to do with her ability to learn.
  • Who dread with a passion those IEP meetings.
  • Who dread having to once again explain your child in every new setting.
  • Who dread high school graduation because……then what?
  • Who try to ignore the stares from others in public places instead of basking in admiring glances.
  • Who are learning how to use your child’s feeding tube rather than planning his fun pizza party.
  • Who are searching for the best wheelchair rather than the best bicycle.
  • Who watch their child being marked for radiation rather than getting a cool tattoo.
  • Who are shopping with their daughter for a wig to cover her bald head due to chemo instead of shopping for the perfect new hair products.
  • Who are driving their older child everywhere because he can’t have a driver’s license due to seizures or other medical issues.
  • Who hurt because their child doesn’t have many, or any, friends.
  • Who are signing guardianship papers instead of college admittance papers.
  • Who are scouring the internet for the latest medical treatments instead of scouring for the best college scholarships.
  • Who know more drug names and side effects than they ever wanted to know.
  • Who spend far more time finding caregivers than finding cool vacation spots.
  • Who are adept at rearranging schedules due to unexpected medical issues.
  • Who lay in bed at night with the sound of your husband sleeping on one side, and your adult child breathing heavily in the baby monitor on the other side as you listen for seizures.
  • Who read your adult child the same book every single night of his life.
  • Who keep waterproof mattress pads on your child’s bed – your adult child.
  • Who have a hard time finishing a conversation with your husband without being interrupted over and over.
  • And who, for some, will find themselves looking at a gravestone on Mother’s Day instead of looking into the eyes of their child.

 

So to all of you amazing mothers of special needs children, I give you a huge high five!!  I hope you know that you are loved and that God does have special grace for you every day.

And may you, as my friend Atha would say, be established in your purpose……this God-given purpose……of raising one of His very special children.

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