Well, it’s time for another Uncle Aaron update. This is one that I have not wanted to make. You can probably tell why from the title.
Before I begin, let me say once again that the reason I write this blog is not to just tell funny or heartwarming Aaron stories. I began this blog years ago as an effort to educate people about special needs, autism and epilepsy in particular. Especially the autism part that makes Aaron so very amazing and unique.
But there is another side as well…a side of Aaron that has a hugely difficult if not impossible time adapting to change. Add to that issue the reality that Aaron is the center of Aaron’s world. He gauges almost everything in his life on how it will affect him. He has a heart as big as all outdoors in one moment, but in the next he might be having anxiety or a meltdown over something that isn’t going as he wants.
Our little grandson, Ryker, was born on December 21. Now Aaron was Uncle Aaron for REAL! But when we showed Aaron pictures, he backed away as if Ryker might reach out and slap him. Aaron was nervous and acted like he really didn’t care about our new family member. We knew then we needed to tread lightly as Aaron adjusted.
But look at Aaron’s smile when he opened this Christmas gift. We were hopeful.
I flew to meet Ryker a couple weeks after he was born.
Five days later, Gary and Aaron were flying in for a couple days. But the morning they were to leave, Aaron had a full-blown meltdown. The day before had also been rough.
To top it off, the flight was delayed that morning. Making the connection in Denver was doubtful. A very upset Aaron having to wait a long time for an uncertain flight in a strange airport far from home…ummm, I don’t think so.
Gary and I knew we needed to cancel the trip. The relief in Gary’s voice was palpable and I totally understood.
Aaron’s voice over the phone was thick with emotion and tears. After Gary cancelled the flight, Aaron was filled with guilt over what he had caused. He also worried about our reactions, and knew he should apologize. He was pretty pathetic. Here are Gary’s words in a text:
“He is 180 the other way now. Walking him back from his sorrow is almost as difficult as getting him out of his anger. Constant sniffles, watery eyes and suggestions in addition to the ‘I’ll go…I promised Mom and I promised Andrea’ there is ‘Can we get another airplane…can we drive, can we go tomorrow…dad, I’ll go.’ I feel like I just took a long trip!”
Gary continued: “He has said several times, ‘But I promised Andrea,’ and ‘I need to say I’m sorry.’ So I’ve said that we’ll call her and apologize. He walks to the phone and pauses, then says he can’t. It’s too emotional for him, I think.”
Down in Texas, I was full of both anger toward Aaron and sorrow for Gary, whom I knew should be there to meet his first grandchild. This picture should have included Gary.
It was good to talk to Gary, to Andrea and Kyle, and to have wise input from family and friends.
But most of all, the turmoil I felt was relieved by stepping back in the quietness two mornings later and reading scripture as I held precious Ryker. I read Psalm 62: “With You is unfailing love.”
How can I not love Aaron since God loves me in my stubbornness?
How can I not extend to Aaron the grace that God has extended to me? It’s honestly easier to accept God’s grace to me than to give that same grace to Aaron at times like this.
And like Gary also said: “I often wonder what God sees when He looks down at me? When I do not do what He would have me do or I don’t do what I should do, does He look at me like I look at Aaron?”
So, here we are. I wish I could report that Aaron has turned around and has decided to love and accept Ryker. But that hasn’t happened yet.
My second night home, this past Saturday, we had a particularly rough night with Aaron. There he was, sitting up in his bed, crying with brokenness and saying that he was afraid we would only love Ryker and not him. Gary and I assuring Aaron of our forever love for him while fighting our exhaustion and frustration.
Andrea is right when she said the next day that Aaron is just like a little sibling when a new baby comes into the home and the older child expresses jealousy. Aaron has no filters and makes no attempt to hide his feelings.
But here’s the thing and it goes back to autism.
Aaron CAN’T filter or hide what is going on with him right now. He is literally unable to do that.
Out it all comes and we are left to deal with it.
Sorry this is so long. Trust me, I could say a lot more but I’ll hush now and say thank you to each of you who have read this volume.
And a special thank you to those of you who have been praying for Aaron and for us. Please don’t stop. We need much wisdom and love.
Before I go, I just HAVE to share one more picture of our precious little grandson. It’s what a Gramoo does, right? 😊