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. 

Unto The Least

Aaron and I went bowling this past week with my dear friend, Joyce, and her sons.  Aaron and Johannes have bowled quite often together since Joyce and I started taking them last year. 

Johannes is non-verbal but look at how he speaks with joy all over his face when he watches his ball knock down some pins.

Last week Johannes’ brother, Christoph, was able to join us.  Christoph hadn’t bowled in quite some time. 

As I sat there watching Joyce work with Christoph before and during each of his turns, I was so touched by her kindness and her patience.

And in that bowling alley, I saw the hands of God.

Remember when Jesus told His followers that they had visited Him, clothed Him, fed Him…and they told Him that they had not done any of those things for Him?

But then Jesus told them that when they had fed and clothed and visited others, they had done it unto Him. 

“…as you did it unto one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”

Every parent caring for children is in many ways living out these verses. 

For those parents with special needs children who become special needs adults, the continual care doesn’t typically stop at a certain age.  The needs of our special sons and daughters are ever present…and often increase…with age.

We parents might often wish for more freedom to help in various ministries in our towns or around the world, but here we are at home still caring for the needs of our children after all these years.  Caregivers are nearly impossible to find or to afford.  It’s easy to feel stuck and rather useless as far as “serving the Lord.”

But in that bowling alley, God have me a powerful image of just the opposite.

In our own homes, every single day, we can live out God’s mission for our lives.

Every touch…

Every demonstration of love…

Every load of laundry…every cooked meal…every vacuumed floor…every cleaned-up mess…every repeated conversation, over and over and over!!….every doctor visit…every crisis…every decision…every tear shed…

We have done unto the least of these…the overlooked and sometimes forgotten ones…the marginal in many eyes…

And so we have done these actions unto God Himself. 

God has given us such a precious opportunity within the walls of our own homes!  An opportunity to serve Him every day without even walking out our doors.  It just doesn’t often FEEL that way to us.

I hope that all of you caregivers out there, in whatever capacity that may be…but especially in your own homes…will know that as you tend to your loved ones, you are also serving God in one of the most daily and difficult ways.

One day we will hear God’s words saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

For Joyce, today, I say, “Well done, my friend!  Very well done.” 

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.

Listen to The Music

The self-checkout at our nearby Dillon’s grocery store plays music when it’s time to take your receipt.  Only about four notes play over and over until you get your receipt.  It’s just another automated reminder and no big deal.

Unless you’re Aaron! 

Aaron is absolutely fascinated by the little electronic jingle.  Most of us would barely notice it or would brush it off as annoying. 

Again, not Aaron!

Every time Aaron and I go through the self-checkout line, he leans way over the scanner when he knows that I’m done.  He wants to clearly hear the music.

I took a picture of him a couple weeks ago as he listened to the notes.

There he was, a grown man with his long flowing sweater on, leaning way over the scanner. 

He did not care one bit about how he looked.

He did not care one bit about who thought what.

Here is something I have learned in our life with Aaron.  I have learned that it’s best if I also do not care one bit about how he looked.

And it’s best if I do not care one bit about who thought what.

Aaron doesn’t just march to the beat of a different drummer.  He marches to the beat of a whole different symphony!

He will stop to listen and observe and comment about things that most of us don’t even see.

He takes the time to listen to the music of life around him in ways that most people do not. 

So when he leaned over the scanner this last time, instead of being embarrassed and looking around to see who was staring at us, I just laughed and joined in the fun.  I didn’t grab my receipt right away so that the music would play a little longer and Aaron could totally enjoy it.

And you know what?

I totally enjoyed it, too. 

Looking at the world…and listening to the world…with Aaron, in his way, really is such beautiful music. 

At least it is most of the time.    😊  😊 

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! 

A Setback…But God

Seizures have been a part of Aaron’s life…and ours…since he was in the first grade.  He had his first seizure at home on a Sunday afternoon, out of the blue and utterly terrifying.  God was so good to let me be standing right behind Aaron when it happened there in our military apartment in Germany.  I was able to catch him.  If not, he would have fallen onto the hard kitchen floor and received a serious hit to the back of his head.

His seizures have morphed over the years, as seizures do, seeming to eventually bypass all the medicines and treatments that can be provided.  The majority of his seizures occur in clusters during his sleep, most often at night.  These clusters carry their own dangers, one of which is SUDEP – Sudden Death by Epilepsy.  Those words from his epilepsy doctors over the years always send a chill down my spine.

Aaron has occasionally had drop seizures here and there.  A drop seizure happens when Aaron is fully awake.  They hit suddenly, with no warning to us.  Aaron will fall either forward or backward like a downed tree, not able to break his fall. 

A few years ago, he began having more and more of these drop seizures.  He sustained significant injuries.  Cuts, scrapes, bruising, stitches, a fractured tooth that had to be pulled, and very hard hits to his head. 

Finally, on March 9, 2019, Aaron had a drop seizure on our stairs.  He had walked up a couple steps, then fell backward, and hit his head on a metal file cabinet handle.  He ended up with 8 staples in his head.  It was awful!

When we got home from the emergency room and checked our mail, there was a letter from our insurance company approving Aaron for the new pharmaceutical CBD oil, Epidiolex.  We had experimented with over-the-counter oils from good sources but had no success.  His Epileptologist couldn’t provide any guidance for those OTC oils, legally.  As soon as the FDA approved Epidiolex, Dr. Lee put in our request for approval.  Now here it was, on the same day that Aaron had fallen…a visual and sad example of why we really wanted to try this new drug. 

Dr. Lee was able to oversee Epidiolex since it was FDA approved and obtained through a prescription.  Over the next few months, we adjusted Aaron’s dose and tweaked another medicine and waited to, hopefully, see positive results. 

And we did!  Aaron’s drop seizures totally stopped!  We were elated, and soon began to relax.  Our fear over those horrible and dangerous seizures slowly went away.

Until this past Thursday. 

Aaron and I delivered for Meals on Wheels in the morning.  We enjoyed lunch at a cute Mexican restaurant.  Then home, where Aaron took a nap…and had a seizure while he slept.  This is nothing uncommon.

Later, as I was getting supper on the table, Gary had just come into the kitchen.  He was standing right beside Aaron when suddenly Aaron lurched and went into a seizure.  But instead of Aaron falling into the table and a chair, and landing on the floor, Gary was able to catch him.  This was truly from God, that Gary was there beside Aaron instead of across the room.  We were so thankful!

We got Aaron safely on the floor.  Such disappointment filled us both! 

Almost two years since a drop seizure, and now this. 

We hurt so for Aaron.

And I felt that familiar fear.  It had come back. 

But I also felt something else.  I felt God’s peace pushing back on the fear.  I forced myself to focus on God…His love and His plan for Aaron, and for us.  That knowledge was the best push-back on the fear that threatened to fill me.

I also thought about Mary’s response to the angel when she learned of the very hard path that God had chosen for her…the path of unwed pregnancy in a time when she was no doubt shunned and gossiped about and disbelieved.

Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”  (Luke 1:38)

Total submission.

Like the writer of Hebrews said, “Now the God of peace…equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us THAT WHICH IS PLEASING IN HIS SIGHT, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.”  (Hebrews 13:20-21)

God has been working on me this past year about being willing to pray in submission…being willing to say, “God, whatever it takes…”

Just two days before this latest drop seizure, I had been reading about Mary and then this benediction in Hebrews. 

I don’t know what it is…what it will take…for me to please God. 

But I do know that I need to be willing to let God do in me…and in Aaron…that which is pleasing in HIS sight, even when it may not be pleasing in mine.

Even when it hurts, deeply.

“Submission is preferable to consolation, for consolation pleases us but submission pleases God.”  (Thomas Hog, 1692)

Who is it that I most want to please? 

It’s tough when my submission involves my child.  I love Aaron.  I love all our children. 

But a huge area of my close walk with God, which I truly desire, is to be able to submit “whatever it takes” concerning my children as well.

I humanly want the consolations of God…the closeness and assurance that I feel when He blesses me, and them, with wonderful things.

But true submission to God comes only when I am willing to relinquish all the warm fuzzies for the stark hardship that often comes when the deepest lessons…and blessings…are allowed to occur.

Allowed to occur because I am submitted to God. 

God won’t bully me into submission.  Submission happens when I open my hands and release my desires to Him, trusting Him to do what He knows is best.

Even drop seizures, if they do start again, are somehow being allowed by God in Aaron’s life and in ours. 

The sky just before Aaron’s seizure that evening was so beautiful.  I have only to look up and know that God is there for us. 

The heavens declare the glory of God…and I want to do the same, as well.

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! 🙂 🙂