To Tim and Alicia

Tim, our hearts are across the country with you and the family today as you celebrate Alicia’s life.  We are with you…with Bryson, Brayden, and Willow Grace…as you honor your amazing wife and mother.

I wish I had all the answers for you and the children about why God took Alicia so suddenly and so soon.  Of course, I don’t.  No one on this earth does. 

Only God.

I wish I could take away your pain and deep grief.  Of course, I can’t.

Only God.

What I do know is that God is with you.  I know you know that, too.  You may not always feel it right now, but you know it.

I thought of you this week as I read Genesis 46, about Jacob traveling down to Egypt to see the son whom he thought was long ago dead.

Jacob was settled in Israel, content there, and old.

Israel was the land God had promised to him and his descendants.

But now Jacob was faced with the inevitable…traveling down to Egypt to see Joseph. 

Egypt. 

Egypt was the enemy.  Egypt was a place of fear…unfamiliarity…full of danger and totally distasteful to Jacob.

But God told Jacob, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt…”

And God continued, “I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again…”

Tim, as the dust settles, and your life continues…but without Alicia…I pray that you and the children will know that God has gone down with you to this Egypt.

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there.  If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

Even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.

If I say, surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,

Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day.

Darkness and light are alike to You.”   (Psalm 139: 7-12)

Tim, God is with you and the children in this Egypt.  And just like He promised Jacob, He will bring you up again. 

God will heal your hurt.

God will comfort your deepest sorrow.

God will walk with you each step of this very hard road.

God understands the question, “Why?!” 

Alicia, last week Tim messaged me and said that more than once you said you would love to have met me. 

Let me tell you, that I have always wished for that as well…and never more so than now after reading the multitude of posts about how many lives you touched.

Tim said you were the kindest lady he had ever known and that he was blessed to have been loved by you.

I have seen this week that this is the lifelong impact you have had on many lives as a wife, mother, sister, friend, and a brand new RN. 

And especially as a follower of Christ, your kindness and love will live on in the hearts and lives of so many people. 

Death has not…and will not…dull your testimony.

In fact, I do believe that God will use this as the means to show us all how very important it is to know Jesus personally…to shine brightly for Him…and to always be ready to meet Him.

Speaking of meeting, you and I WILL meet one day…of that I am very certain.  I look forward to that day in heaven when I do finally get to give you a big hug and to thank you for the impact you have had on my life even from afar.

Tim, Bryson, Brayden, and Willow Grace – you are covered in our prayers.

May you, as time goes on, be able to say with Jacob, “God answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 

We love you.

The Happy Uncle Aaron

Aaron has difficulty understanding family relationships.  He understands Mom and Dad, and brother and sister.  He struggles, though, with titles outside of our immediate family.  Sometimes his given titles for family members can be hilarious.  Such was the case when his sister, Andrea, was engaged to marry Kyle.  Aaron thought that Andrea would no longer be his sister, and this thought was intolerable to him.  One day we tried, yet again, to explain that he would not lose his sister but would instead gain a brother. 

“Well, I don’t NEED a Grandbrother!!” he angrily declared.

We waited to laugh until Aaron had left the room.

Other times, Aaron’s descriptions of family relationships can be suspicious.  This happened one recent evening as Aaron was trying to tell me something about Kyle.  You know…Kyle.  Aaron’s Grandbrother.

“Kyle,” Aaron said, “who lives with Andrea.  Dad said he’s the brother-in-law.”

“He is to you,” I replied.

“So Kyle,” Aaron continued, “Andrea’s father…..”

“No!” I interjected, “he’s her husband.”

“So Kyle,” he began again, “Andrea’s father-in-law….”

Please, if Aaron is ever trying to explain our family to you, come to us for clarification before you ever repeat what you think you have learned.

But Aaron’s new position as UNCLE Aaron has taken root in Aaron’s mind.  I’m still not sure he grasps exactly why he is the uncle, which is based on the fact that he is Andrea’s brother and as such then he is automatically the uncle of their soon-to-be born baby boy.  All of this gets pretty complicated to him.

Yet he has taken on the mantle of The Uncle as if it is his new designated title…something like The Duke or The Earl. 

Aaron is The Uncle.

Here is a typical conversation that Aaron might have with people.  Literally, with anyone he encounters, even strangers. 

“My sister is having a BABY!” he exuberantly declares.  “And I’m The UNCLE!!”

He makes this declaration loudly while bending over, rapidly rubbing his hands together, and grinning as broadly as he can possibly grin.

To say it’s surprising to all these random recipients is putting it mildly.  Yet it’s also endearing and precious.  Most folks respond with a huge smile and congratulations.  Bless them.

Time for me to insert a couple pictures taken last week when I was in Texas for Andrea’s baby shower.  😊

As you can see, the time is getting closer for Baby Boy to arrive.

And it seems that Aaron is getting a little nervous about what is expected from him in his new role as The Uncle.

“I’m not sure I want to be The Uncle,” he sometimes says.

“I’m scared to be The Uncle,” he has also said.

“I don’t know what to do as The Uncle,” he adds.

We assure him that being The Uncle simply means that his job will be to play with Baby Boy.  To love him.  To read to his nephew.

Oh wait.  We haven’t used that term yet…nephew.  Let’s not push these concepts too far.

After Andrea sent us her latest sonogram pictures, I shared them with Aaron.  He especially loved seeing Baby Boy’s foot…

And his hand.

Not long after, as we talked to our neighbor, Aaron remembered what he had seen.

“Andrea sent more pictures of the baby and I saw his hand and his foot!!” he very excitedly said.

“Oh Aaron,” Amanda replied.  “That’s so wonderful!”

“YES!!” he declared as he bent over and rubbed his own hands together.  “And now I’m HAPPY to be The UNCLE.”

There was that grin, huge and so cute!

Aaron will most assuredly have his fluctuations about all this business of his new title, The Uncle, being bestowed upon him.  As long as he continues to talk to us about his feelings then all should be well.

And most assuredly, he will continue to do just that. 

Aaron is Still…….

Time slips so quickly away from me.  I feel the frustration of having more to do than I have hours in the day.  Blogging regularly is one of the things that continually gets pushed onto the back burner of my life.

Speaking of back burners, our kitchen is nearly finished.  We’ve been fully using it for several weeks now.  I love it!   Our second new refrigerator was delivered a week ago.  Our first new fridge didn’t work for even one second and it was an ordeal getting the company to approve and deliver a new one.  Just another first world problem.  Our refrigerator in the garage filled the need.  All our furniture is in the family room and other rooms.  We slowly are settling in and are very thankful for Luke’s diligence during a difficult process due to supply issues and being short staffed.  We have no complaints.  I will show pictures when the kitchen is totally done.  Did I say we LOVE it?!

So many times, as we live life with Aaron, I find myself saying, “Oh, I want to share this!”  Yet this life with Aaron is one reason that I DON’T get to share all that I want.  He does keep me very busy.  So, let me just give a quick update and maybe more expounding will come later…but don’t hold your breath too long.

Aaron is still an adventure sitting across the table when we eat out.

Epic straw wrapper blowing, Aaron!

Or when we go shopping.

He is still trying to get Moe, our neighbor’s cat, out from under Gary’s truck.

He is still talking to our neighbors EVERY chance he gets…and we are still so thankful for very patient and understanding neighbors who are true friends.  Gina sent me this picture and said, “I took this the other night when he was telling us all about life!”  Derek has the same look on his face that we often do!  😊  😊

He is still popping over to Amanda and Colby’s house, where she put him to work one recent night making Kool-Aid.

He is still melting our hearts with his sweet relationship with Mollie.

He is still sharing things with everybody, like making sure we took this new pack of gum to Andrew a couple weeks ago when we spent time with him at a race. 

He shares this life of his with me and Gary every single day. 

What Aaron shares is funny and fascinating and sometimes very frustrating. 

Gary and I often laugh and always listen to his abundant talking.

But the frustrating parts of Aaron…well, we still know that we need to handle that with the same grace that God extends to us…every single day.

Easier said than done…and the subject of another blog…maybe…when life settles down.

Did I say don’t hold your breath?  😊 

I’m The Uncle!

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”  (Psalm 139:13-14)

Aaron and I were eating lunch out when I received this sonogram picture from our daughter, Andrea.  I showed it to Aaron right away, a huge smile on my face.  He stared at it for a few seconds.

“What is it?” he finally asked.

“This is your niece or nephew,” I told him.

Aaron stared at the picture again.

“It’s too small!” he said. 

I just smiled, still in awe over this amazing view of the miracle taking place in Andrea’s womb.  I have, like you, seen hundreds of these sonogram shots but this one took my breath away.  Isn’t it just amazing that when the baby is yours, as in this is MY grandchild, then the picture takes on a whole new depth and meaning?

It’s another miracle of God, this love that He puts in our hearts for our own flesh and blood.

There in the restaurant as we crunched on chips and salsa, I pointed out to Aaron the baby’s head and torso and the beginnings of his little body. 

Several days later in the grocery store, Aaron and I saw a friend.  Aaron quickly launched right into what was still fresh on his mind.

“I saw the stomach picture of my sister and I didn’t know what it was!” he excitedly said. 

I saw the look of confusion on our friend’s face, so I quickly explained about the stomach picture!

Aaron rarely gets family relationships correct.  Not too long ago, before we knew that Andrea was pregnant, he had an observation.

“I wish Andrea was pregnant.  Then we could all be Granddads.”  😊

But now Aaron knows a few things.  For awhile this is what he would say to anyone who was fortunate enough to be near him or to anyone that I stopped to chat with.

“My sister is having a baby and I’m the UNCLE and we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl because it’s too little!!”

But now…NOW…we know that Andrea and Kyle are having a baby BOY!!

Aaron’s rote phrase has changed.

“My sister is having a baby and I’m the UNCLE and it’s a boy and he’s the NEPHEW!!” 

Then Aaron often adds that he is scared to be The Uncle and that he’s not sure he wants a baby boy.  We assure him that all he needs to do as The Uncle is to play with and love his nephew. 

Time to insert the first Baby Bump picture!  Andrea asked Kyle if she looked pregnant or if she looked like she had just eaten too many donuts.  😊

Aaron has obsessed about changing the baby’s diaper.  The nurse at his day group actually brought a baby doll in and taught Aaron how to change a diaper.  Aaron tells us all that he passed the diaper test!  Now we tease him about being the main diaper changer, so maybe this is why he’s scared to be The Uncle.  😊 

But really, we have all been very surprised and touched by how excited Aaron is about this new baby business.  A recent example happened just a few days ago.  The background is that Andrea has been very sick with this pregnancy, having a hard time finding food that will stay down.  One weekend she felt like biscuits would taste good.  She and Kyle bought a can and of the eight biscuits, she ate seven!

Kyle didn’t waste any time in buying more biscuits…many more biscuits!  He stacked them on their counter, and we laughed and laughed when we got this picture.

As Aaron and I were picking up a few groceries the other day, he suddenly started briskly walking toward the biscuits in the cooler. 

“Mom!!” he declared, “I want to buy some biscuits to send to Andrea!” 

It was the sweetest thing for him to want to do that.  I explained that we can’t mail biscuits but that we would buy her some on our next visit. 

 Aaron continually infuses our lives with his own very special way of life and his own unique view of our world. 

We often stand beside him either smiling or laughing or explaining to others or doing damage control from the things he says.

But all this wonderful baby business and Aaron’s way of dealing with such a huge life change for us has, as always, offered another view into the complex and compelling world as Aaron sees it. 

Baby Boy is growing!

And so are we, with Aaron coming along as always.    

My Dad’s Heritage

My Dad was color blind.  We five children thought that this was very fascinating, but also very funny.  Now don’t get me wrong.  We were not cruel, but we grew up in a family full of humor and laughter.  Dad was often the brunt of our joking.  I have written about it in the past, telling about some of the elaborate jokes we played on him, often with the help of my fun-loving mom.

I remember how we loved to ask Dad what color the trees were because pine trees, for instance, looked red to him.  Peas and carrots looked the same color to him.  Mom would decorate the house at Christmas with lots of blue because Dad could see blue.  And she quit wearing her pretty pink Avon lipstick and nail polish when Dad finally told her that her lips and nails looked blue. 

One day, many years later and with my own children, I was driving down the Autobahn in Germany.  I passed a bright pink truck. 

“Look!” said little Aaron, “there’s a blue truck!”

And I knew that Aaron, like my Dad, was color blind.

He’s proven it over the years as he talks about the color of certain items.  One of the funniest is our daughter’s dog, Darcy.  Aaron calls Darcy the green dog.  😊

One day not too long ago, Aaron was discussing his color blindness.  We have told him many times about Granddaddy being color blind and that Aaron gets his color blindness from him.

“Mom,” Aaron commented that day, “I’m taking over what Granddaddy was.”

Aaron has the most uncanny, God-given ability to put profound truth into his concise and unexpected comments.

I know without a doubt that my dad was the kind of man that any of us who knew him would want to say what Aaron did…that we are taking over what he was.

That we are becoming…or are…even a small part of the wise, godly, and loving man that he was.

My Dad didn’t leave his five children with a huge earthly inheritance, but he left us with something far more valuable.

“Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked.  The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever.”   (Psalm 37: 16,18)

The word “inheritance” actually means “heritage.”

I’m so thankful that my Dad walked with God.  He exhibited such kindness and caring to absolutely every person he knew.  He met the needs of everyone that he possibly could.  Oh, the stories I could tell!

You know, everything done in the past…for all of us…is over.  Only the effects of those actions remain. 

That is our true heritage.

So, at this time as we celebrate fathers, I just want to honor mine by saying that he truly is a man who left his children and grandchildren the best heritage there could ever be.

Dad, I want to take over what you were.

UNCLE Aaron!!

We got the BEST news on Sunday night. I had been talking to our daughter, Andrea, for over two hours. We were winding things down when she asked if I would go get Gary…that she and Kyle had something to show him on Facetime…and I just assumed it was something they wanted him to see about the big door installation they had worked on when we were there last month.

We were soon chatting when Andrea said they had a picture to show us, which she then texted to me and Gary. Here is the totally adorable picture she sent:

And oh my goodness, the surprise was real! I whooped and hollered, and we laughed and I cried and it was so wonderful!! Our first grandchild!!

We got our son, Andrew, on Facetime and his reaction was equally fun.

We wondered about when to tell Aaron. For the longest time he has asked Andrea when she is going to have a baby. I have told him not to ask that question because it’s personal, but none of that matters to Aaron one bit. He has continued to ask anyway, and she always handles it with humor and patience.

Soon we heard him coming loudly down the stairs. He was surprised to see everyone on the phone screen. I knew this would be the time to tell him.

“Aaron,” I said, “guess what? Andrea is going to have a baby!”

He grinned a huge grin. Then he bent over at his waist and rubbed his hands quickly together while he laughed and laughed. He was thrilled! His reaction tickled us all to pieces.

“You’re going to be Uncle Aaron!!” we told him.

He laughed again as he absorbed that news.

“Andrea!!” he exclaimed, “does that mean you’re going to be fat?”

Andrea was her gracious self while I reminded Aaron for the umpteenth time that you do NOT say a pregnant woman is fat…that she is pregnant, not fat.

Can you tell this isn’t the first time he has made that comment?

Yesterday, Aaron and I were at our neighbor’s house. Suddenly Aaron leaned in to say something to Amanda while he softly rubbed his hands together.

“My sister has a baby in her stomach,” he slowly began, as if in awe. “And the baby is too little to tell if it’s a boy or a girl.”

He spoke softly, not with the exuberance of the night before. It was as if he was sharing the most amazing fact…which it really is.

It was so precious and sweet. Amanda’s face was beaming, as was mine, and Aaron knew that he had shared something very special as he saw our reactions.

And we knew, as we saw his look of wonder and heard the same in his soft voice, that Aaron was getting it.

“Aaron,” Amanda said, “you’re going to be an uncle!”

“I’ll be an uncle!!” he repeated.

Uncle Aaron!

I like the ring of it…and I think Aaron does, too.

Aaron’s Note

I have another funny note story to share.

When we were in Houston last month with our daughter and son-in-law, we also got to see our other son, Andrew.  He was in town because there was an NHRA drag race there, and he works on one of the teams.  

Andrew was able to come over to Kyle and Andrea’s one evening for supper.  While he was there, Aaron ran inside and came back with something for Andrew.  It was a pack of Juicy Fruit gum.  Random, I know, but Aaron loves giving things away and this is what he grabbed for his brother. 

This past Monday morning we got a text from Andrew.  He was getting ready to leave for the track in Richmond.  He sent this picture:

“Tell Aaron I’ve been chewing his Juicy Fruit every morning when I leave for the track.  I’m almost out.  Guess he needs to send more.”  😊

Aaron jumped on that in a flash.  He pulled out his three-pack of unopened Juicy Fruit gum and said he wanted to send that to Andrew.

“Mom,” he directed, “you put it in a box, and I’ll sign a note.”

The plan was made!

I got the box, placed the gum inside, and gave Aaron a piece of paper for him to write his note. 

This is what I later found. 

How I laughed!  But not in front of Aaron. 

Remember my last blog about the note he wrote to Cody?  Here was another note, this one to his brother, and this one also flat and factual with nothing personal added.  Nothing endearing.  Not even a “Love, Aaron” to be found.

Yet this note IS very endearing because it is so very Aaron.  I could have dictated to Aaron what to say, but then it wouldn’t be Aaron’s words from Aaron’s heart and Aaron’s unique ways. 

And those unique ways are what make Aaron endearing in his own right. 

Believe me, there are plenty of times that Aaron’s words and ways are anything but endearing.  But these moments that are totally Aaron are moments that make us smile and make us thankful that we can share in his very special ways.   

Little Huge Gifts For Mom

Last night Aaron and I were headed downstairs to watch a couple shows before bed.  This is our nighttime ritual.  He gathered his blanket, his drink, his new bag of cheese cubes, and his empty bowl in which his cheese cubes would soon be poured. 

Speaking of ritual, Aaron’s life is full of those.  Something as simple as putting his blanket over his outstretched legs requires the ottoman to be just right, his legs on the ottoman while still wearing his slippers AND slipper socks, and then the blanket shaken several times to get out as many wrinkles as possible and to be in just the perfect position to then be pulled up over his legs and onto his lap.  I always cringe when he realizes he has forgotten something because the blanket is thrown back, and the process must be repeated. All of this must occur before we start watching our program. 

Sigh.

After he was sufficiently settled last night, he opened his bag of sharp cheddar cheese cubes and poured them into his bowl.  Aaron will not eat out of the bag.  He must have a bowl for everything, including a bowl for chip crumbs…croissant flakes, as he calls them…the crackers he doesn’t like in his Chex Mix…his Red Hots…peanut shells…  The list is endless. 

Soon our show was on and Aaron was allowed, in his mind, to begin eating his cheese cubes…but only after the opening song was finished.  One does not actually start eating, my friends, until the program has actually begun. 

The store only had sharp cheddar cheese cubes when we went to buy them.  Aaron usually gets mild cheddar.

“So do you like those sharp cheddar cheese cubes, Aaron?” I asked.

“YEAH!!” he declared happily.  “They’re GOOD!”

Soon, without saying a word, he reached over and placed this lone cheese cube beside me.  It was his gift to me.

I’ll be honest.  Sometimes eating food that Aaron has handled can be a challenge for me.  I know where those hands of his may have been.  I see how he puts food into his mouth with those same fingers that are now on the food he wants to give me. 

But how could I say no to this little gift that came straight from his heart?

To Aaron, this little cheese cube comprised a huge gift for Mom.

“Awwww, Aaron, thank you!” I told him as I looked down at the little cheese cube. 

“Oh, Lord, please protect me,” I also added silently as I ate the cheese.   😊

Aaron rubbed his hands together and gave his guttural chuckle as I ate the cheese. 

He was even happier to give me that gift than I was to receive it.

What a small little thing a cube of cheese is!  But what a huge deal it was to Aaron to give it and to watch me receive it with thankfulness.

This long-term mothering of Aaron is full of those sorts of gifts, but often if I’m not careful I don’t see them as such.

I never planned to be actively mothering at this age.  I read that I am considered “elderly” now, though I don’t feel that way.  Yet numbers on paper say that I am.

How can I be this age and still going from morning to night mothering my grown child? 

But here I am, by God’s doing…and may I not ever forget that.  God has led me to this path, and I must trust Him as I walk each step. 

On this Mother’s Day I want to give to each of you who are still fully mothering in your older years a word of love and encouragement.  Whether you are mothering your own child or children, or your grandchildren, please know that your work is not unnoticed by God.  We honor Him by caring for the ones He has given us.

May we see each small milestone…each smile…every hug…and so many other small huge gifts as what they really are.

Gifts from God. 

Through our tears, our fears, our frustrations, our exhaustion, our envy of other’s lives…whatever we are going through – may we not miss those beautiful and small huge gifts around us from our children every day.

Go buy a bag of cheese cubes and have a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Another Trip to Texas

Two weeks ago today we were travelling down to Texas to see our kids.  Our “kid” Aaron went with us, somewhat compliantly until the morning we left.  The reality of actually leaving the house and his room and all his things was too much for him to handle gracefully. 

All during the packing process I encouraged him to downsize what he took.  For instance, I told him to take the one Handy Answer book he was reading…not five.  He won’t read five books in the next three years.  That’s because he will ONLY read at night before bed, a few pages, and nothing so far has ever changed that reality for him.  He agreed to this deal, but as I was putting something in one of his bags, I uncovered two extra Handy Answer books that he had hidden from me under some clothes.  I removed them, saying nothing.  He put them back, saying nothing.  HaHa!  We finally agreed on taking one extra book, which of course was never opened. 

We also let him use his money to buy a Nintendo game he had wanted.  He bought it two days before we left, but the game was in our possession until he walked into Kyle and Andrea’s house in Texas.  Call it bribery if you want, but we call it another of our clever survival tips for traveling with an autistic child.  Survival for us even more than Aaron.

Other than dragging Aaron kicking and screaming out of the house on the morning we left…not literally, but almost…he did great on this trip.  I’ll start my photo dump now. 

Happy Aaron blowing his straw wrapper on me at Quik Trip. 

Spending Easter morning at church with Kyle and Andrea.  A huge blessing!

Then giving Aaron the basket that Andrea made for him.  Sweet sister!

He helped Kyle gather sticks before their new fence was installed the next day.  Kyle is great about getting Aaron involved with activities. 

He fed the dogs every chance he got!

Our big outing was to NASA.  He was having a slow day physically and mentally, but he loves telling everyone about that day.

Our son, Andrew, was in town for an NHRA race.  He got to come over for dinner one night.  What a joy to have us all together, even briefly.

Gary, Andrea, and I went to the race on Saturday while Kyle stayed home with Aaron.

And on Sunday, their Monster Energy team won!!  Sadly, we were unable to be there that day.  ☹

I love the love that Andrea, Kyle, and Andrew show to Aaron.  I wish I had a picture of Kyle trying to teach Aaron to do push-ups while we were at the track. Or one of him the night we arrived giving Aaron the special game he bought him.  😊

The week was packed with much more, but I’ll end this now with a funny story:

Background:  For years my family has had fun with my association with cows, as in cow Patty.  I also go by Moo as much as Mom.  😂

On our way to Houston, we stopped at our favorite tourist center/rest stop in Oklahoma City.  Aaron was ecstatic that Gary told him he could buy me a little stuffed cow.

Aaron decided to explain his purchase to the clerk at the cash register.

Loudly.

“I’m buying this for my mom because she’s a COW!!”

I explained as best I could.

Then she pointed me to a bag of candy.

Cow Patties.  😂😂😂

Thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Don’t Try to Change Me!

The word “change” is not a welcome word to many who deal with the issues of autism. 

You can phrase that concept any way you want.

“Come on, just roll with the flow.”

“Be flexible!”

“Try it.  You’ll like it!”

I have told you how Aaron won’t eat his popcorn at the theater until the actual movie begins.  The commercials before the movie are NOT the movie.  Neither are the sometimes endless trailers that are then shown.  Trailers are NOT the movie!  Aaron will continually look down at his big tub of popcorn that he has placed on the floor beside his feet, waiting expectantly to dig in when finally THE movie begins.  Then he will pick up his popcorn and visibly relax as he begins to eat. 

Aaron does the same thing at home.  When we sit down to watch a show, he will lay his snack close to him, but he will not begin to eat it until the show actually begins.  He will sit through opening credits.  He will sit through a long intro such as Blue Bloods has.  You’re not going to fool Aaron.  He knows that these programs are tricky and that they have opening music that hasn’t played yet, so don’t EVEN try to get him to eat until all the preliminaries are over and done.  Ice cream may even start melting, but Aaron doesn’t care. 

Aaron has carried this “waiting for the actual event to start” idea over to his music that he listens to in the van.  This past Thursday we started on our way to pick up our food delivery for Meals on Wheels.  We had been listening to Brad Paisley.  I pushed the button to start the music.

Aaron pushed the button off.

I pushed the button back on.

“MOM!  I don’t want to listen to music right now!”

“I know you don’t, but I do,” I replied.

He pushed the button off.

I pushed the button back on.

“MOM!!” he protested, “I said I don’t want to listen to music!”

“It’s not just about you, Aaron,” I responded with more patience than I felt.  “I do want to listen to music.”

Aaron was still and quiet for a few seconds.  Then off went the button again. 

I sighed a very deep sigh.  My lungs are in such great shape, living with Aaron.

“Aaron,” I began, “you want to wait until we actually start delivering our meals before you turn on the music, right?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“But we can listen to music now.  It won’t hurt anything to do that,” I told him.

I pushed the button back on.

I could feel the pressure building in Aaron, just like my pressure cooker at home.

He pushed the button off.

“Mom,” he began, “uh…you know…uh…”

And thus began Aaron’s attempts to start a conversation under the guise of wanting to talk instead of listening to music.  I just decided to let it go.  Hey, that’s a song!  It should be my theme song!

Bless Aaron.  I know he can’t help it, but really…!

Later that afternoon, Aaron was very happy that Gary was going with us to Nellie’s Pond for a walk.  But there was that issue of Aaron wanting to sit in the front seat of the van because that’s where Aaron sits when I drive and he and I are usually in the van by ourselves so the front seat is his and that’s the way he likes it and that’s the way it should always be…..

“Mom!” he began as he was processing his plan, “I know.  Dad can ride in his truck and you and I can take the van!”

“No, no Aaron,” I said with a laugh, “that’s not the way it’s going to be.”

But Gary, in order to give Aaron a perfectly happy experience, sat in the back seat while I drove, and Aaron sat in his front seat.

Just the way it should be, in Aaron’s world.

And sometimes we do put ourselves into his world…actually, lots of times…so that he can relax and have total fun.

Walking through life with Aaron…balancing discipline with the rigidity of autism…is certainly an exercise in patience and wisdom. 

Gary and I do not possess either of those qualities in the abundance that is usually needed but I am so thankful that God gives and also forgives.

So often, too, I find that it is me who needs to do the most changing.  God knows that all too well!

I wonder how often I am the Aaron in God’s life.   😊