A Cow Up Close!

Our sweet friends, Bing and Lolly, lead our Life Group.  At our last meeting, Bing was showing a picture of an adorable calf that was born just that day to the cow owned by his son and his wife.  Troy and Nikki have a few cows, some goats, ducks, and chickens at their country home.  And I must mention their beautiful Husky named Winter.

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Aaron loves cows.  We always look for cows in the various pastures that we pass as we drive around our side of town.  So, I asked Bing and Lolly if it might be possible to bring Aaron to see Troy and Nikki’s cows, along with the cute little calf.

“Absolutely!” they said.  So last Saturday Gary and I drove with Aaron the short distance to Troy and Nikki’s house for a little animal time.  It was SO much fun to just watch Aaron relax and interact with the animals.  Nikki was very patient and sweet with Aaron, helping him feed and pet the mama cow and the goats; pet a chicken; and watch Winter jump up high for a bone.

The precious little calf kept his distance but oh, he was just the cutest little guy!

I’ll let the following pictures do the talking.

 

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Aaron really does love animals.  He had such a good time!

And so did Gary and I.  Moments like this are a gift to us that can’t be bought.  They can only be experienced, and for that we are truly thankful.

 

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Number 10 Song

I was already fairly saturated with Aaron issues when he and I walked out to the van this morning.

Him standing outside my bedroom door earlier, wanting me to come look at his bed – and me knowing what I would find.

“Aaron, is your bed wet?” I asked.

“Yes,” he answered.  “And my pajamas.  Come look!”

My day was already taking a track I did not plan.

Him saying he didn’t want to go to his day group today because of the Valentine party.  No surprise there since he doesn’t like parties, of all things.  Too noisy, says the loudest person I know.

Him wanting to take his wallet if he did go to Paradigm, even though he didn’t need money on a pizza day.  I know his plan.  Give money away if he can get by with it.

Him wanting to take snacks even though food was to be provided today.  Again, his plan is to give food away even when he’s not supposed to do that.

There I was, redirecting and being level and not reacting and listening to him tell me that everything was my fault – including any possible seizures he said might happen today.  I didn’t hear a seizure last night and he doesn’t act like he had a seizure, but he was laying claim to that possibility in an effort to stay home.

He finally came around and compliantly went to the van with me, where he immediately wondered where his CD of choice was.  I had removed it earlier this morning along with a stack of others.  Varying choices I offered were not acceptable as we sat there in the driveway.

Finally, I saw one!  The Oak Ridge Boys Ultimate Collection!  He had wondered only yesterday if we had any other Oak Ridge Boys CDs.  We had just finished listening to the two that I remembered having, so this other one I saw laying there was a real find!

Or so I thought.  Aaron was not impressed.

He mumbled something about the other Oak Ridge Boys CDs…and I knew what was going on here.  He really wanted to listen to this third CD but not without completing his order of listening.  I knew that there was no other choice but to go back in the house to get the two CDs that were in that stack I had earlier removed.

“Seriously?!” I thought as I headed in the house.  “Why are you so…so…RIGID??!!”

I climbed back in the van, carrying the hopeful source of Aaron’s contentment.  Then I learned that Aaron didn’t want to listen to both of the CDs again.  He wanted…NEEDED…to complete the one that we had not finished yesterday.  This must be done before he could begin the new CD.

“We were on number 10,” he flatly said as he pushed the CD in the slot and pressed the button until number 10 was on the screen.

Aaron visibly relaxed as number 10 song began to play.  He was still and quiet, his hood pulled over his head and his gloved fingers entwined together.

 

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I say this often, but Aaron’s world was made right in that moment.  He seriously must finish the prior CD by the same artist before he can begin the new CD.  I do not feel that angst that Aaron feels, but I will certainly feel his angst if I do not cooperate with his very ordered view of his world.

I can’t be selfish, tired and frustrated as I may be at that moment.  Selfishness will only increase Aaron’s frustration and will lead to more conflict which will not in any way help our situation.

Aaron needs understanding.  That’s all.

Oh, and a dose of love.

He doesn’t want hugs and kisses, gooey words and all that sort of stuff.

He wanted me to get the CD, and to not make him feel dumb for needing it.  This is Aaron’s love language.

As we drove away, finally, the number 10 song was playing.  It’s a pretty song, and suddenly my heart was very touched as I listened to these words:

“You’re always in my heart, and you’re often on my mind.”

My love for Aaron was being sung in that number 10 song.  The tears trickled from my eyes, but I couldn’t let Aaron see me cry.  My tears make Aaron very uncomfortable.

“I like that song,” I said as it ended.

“Do you want to play it again?!” he asked with excitement.

“Sure!” I happily answered.

My affirmation, on every level, was just what Aaron needed.  But so did I.

Aaron is often on my mind for less than pleasant reasons.  Worries.  Frustrations.  Anger.  Dilemmas.  Prayers.

But Aaron is often on my mind for happy reasons as well.  Joy.  Humor.  Uniqueness.  Thankfulness.

He is always in my heart, for all the above reasons.

He needed more than Skittles and a goofy love card this morning.

 

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He mostly needed…and needs EVERY day…to know that despite my weariness and my worries, I get him.

Because I get him, I got his CD.

I liked the number 10 song.

That’s the BEST heart gift for Aaron…and for ME!!

 

 

 

 

The Bedroom

Aaron went to the Goddard Day School for three years, graduating from there at the age of 21.  His teacher, Tom, was just wonderful with Aaron and with all the students.  Tom would have one-on-one time with each student.  He would fix tea, sit with each one, and just talk and connect.  Tom called that time Tea with Tom.

When Aaron was a senior and ready to graduate, he was allowed to quit going to school earlier than those students who weren’t seniors.  Tom was still teaching, so one day he contacted me and asked if he could have one more Tea with Tom time with Aaron.  He said he would come to our house, so we agreed on a day for Tom to come. 

On the morning Tom was to arrive, I had things ready for our Tea with Tom.  Tom wanted me to join him and Aaron.  Gary was at work, even though he had a bad cold, and couldn’t be there for our tea time.  That little detail about Gary having a cold is important.

So is the fact that off our kitchen, down a couple little steps, is a guest bedroom.  And a small bathroom.  Because of Gary’s bad cold which made him cough all night, he had been sleeping in that guest bedroom.  This is another important detail to know. 

Tom, Aaron, and I were enjoying our tea as we sat at the kitchen table.   Aaron was full of non-stop talking, as always, and Tom was his usual patient self. 

Tom turned to me at one point and asked if he could use our bathroom.  I pointed him in the direction of the small bathroom.  As he headed that way, he saw the bedroom and for some reason he commented about it.

“I didn’t know you had a bedroom there,” Tom innocently said.

And before I could even reply, Aaron answered.

“Yeah,” he flatly replied to Tom.  “That’s where my Dad sleeps.  He doesn’t sleep with my Mom anymore.”

Well.

There it was, on the table……like a family secret thrown out there for Tom to know.

I was horrified.  Mortified. 

I looked at Tom, my face flaming at this point.  But Tom had turned and was heading for the bathroom.

“It’s not that way,” I somehow managed to say.

“You don’t have to say a thing,” Tom answered.

“YES, I DO!!!!” I blurted out.

So I explained Gary’s cold…..and his coughing……and his thoughtfulness in sleeping in the guest bedroom so as not to bother me……and that he and I were fine. 

Why was I having this conversation with a man??!!

And Aaron, as usual, was oblivious to my embarrassment and to Tom’s discomfort with the direction this conversation had taken. 

When Tom returned, our Tea with Tom resumed.  We chuckled and nothing else was said about this family secret, at least not that I remember.

Some things are best forgotten. 

Some things still make us laugh, years later. 

And Aaron…..nothing much escapes his notice. 

And he will tell it…..sometimes yell it. 

Every.  Single.  Time.

 

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Aaron’s Talking Points

I’ve been thinking about the fact that I don’t often write a blog where I just share some of Aaron’s sayings.  His unique way of expressing himself is, after all, the reason I started this blog.  Therefore, I hope to share Aaron’s Talking Points more often than I’ve been doing.  Many of these have appeared on my HeSaidWhat Facebook page, but many of my blog readers haven’t seen them.  So!  Here goes!

 

Sometimes Aaron is very precise in what he says. For instance, he ordered a Top Sirloin steak in a restaurant one day. With a little prompting, he ordered it well done. Thereafter, and probably still today, Aaron tells everyone that he ate a “Top Sirloin Well Done.” He says it all together as if it’s one name, the name of his steak.

He wanted to buy some saltine crackers. We bought Zesta crackers, but to Aaron they are “Zesta Original Crackers.” That’s what’s on the front of the box, people! “Mom! I like those Zesta Original Crackers!”

So, yesterday Aaron looked out the window just as the mail truck pulled up in front of our house.

“MOM!!! The U.S. mail is here!!”

 

 

When I picked Aaron up from his day group, he told me about going to Quik Trip.

Aaron: Antoine took me to Quik Trip today!

Me: Good! What did you buy?

Aaron: I got hot dogs and coffee.

Me (thinking of caffeine in the coffee): What time did you go to Quik Trip?

Aaron: 3:06.

Does his precision make you smile like it does me?

Every. Single. Time. 😃😃❤️❤️

 

We woke up to a very foggy morning.

Aaron: Mom, when I woke up this morning, my window was blurry! 😀😀

 

Aaron would eat 7-Layer Salad every day of his life if I made it often enough for him to eat every day of his life. He was putting in his order for his special meal tomorrow, and of course 7-Layer Salad was on his list. I told him I wasn’t sure if I was making that tomorrow. He thought about that for a few minutes.

“Mom,” he finally said. “I know what you can do. You can start the boil of the eggs in the morning!” 😀😀

 

Aaron, after checking last night to see if NCIS Los Angeles was on TV:

“Mom! It’s not on! The 62 Granny’s Award Show is on!”

Yay for 62 Granny’s getting awards!! 😂😂

 

Would you like a little pizza with your cheese, Aaron? 🤪😄😋

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Aaron has a friend at his day group whose heritage is Korean (I think). He was talking about her today, trying to tell me her nationality and having a hard time doing so.

“Mom? What’s that Chinese thing that starts with a K?”

 

We’re having bad weather today, including storms with lightning. Aaron is always concerned about the lightning hitting his computer so he asks and asks if he should turn off his computer. He also likes to look at the radar on my phone. He is his mother’s son!

I’ve often shown him the radar and pointed out some storms headed in our direction. I sometimes refer to them as a clump of storms coming our way.

So earlier this morning, as he followed me around the house and fretted over his computer being hit by lightning, he said, “Mom! Is that lump of storms going to hit us?!”

 

Aaron: Hey Mom, can I have some of that sparkling grape juice? You know, the kind that looks like it’s in an alcohol can. 🤣🤣🤣

 

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Aaron wants more of the sparkling grape juice tonight. He wants to be sure I put it in a clear glass so he can see it. And he’s still loving that bottle.

“It looks like an alcoholic bottle in a bar!”

Should I be worried? 😁 😁

 

Aaron would eat 7-Layer Salad every day of his life if I made it often enough for him to eat every day of his life. He was putting in his order for his special meal tomorrow, and of course 7-Layer Salad was on his list. I told him I wasn’t sure if I was making that tomorrow. He thought about that for a few minutes.

“Mom,” he finally said. “I know what you can do. You can start the boil of the eggs in the morning!”

 

I’ll end with a cute picture of Aaron and our neighbor’s cat, Moe.  And trust me, I’ll be back with more of Aaron’s words!

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The Good-Smelling Difference

Aaron was awake and out of bed very early Monday morning, especially considering the fact that he took a long time getting to sleep the night before.  We were late to bed on Super Bowl Sunday, and not just because of the game.  He and I watched a Dr. Quinn after the Super Bowl…a SUPER Super Bowl for us, by the way.  Aaron would tell you that the team we voted for WON!!  YAY!!

Aaron enjoyed watching the game with us.  He didn’t have many new insights, except for thinking that he heard something upstairs on fire.  What??  He was sure of it.

“I hear a snappeling sound!” he insisted.

Gary and I assured him that there was no fire upstairs, but finally he had to prove it to himself, so up the stairs he stomped – he does sound like a bull elephant! – and came back with the report that there was no fire upstairs.

“There’s the snappeling sound again!” he soon insisted once more.

Still no fire.

We eventually realized that the “snappeling” sound he heard was the sound of the player’s shoulder pads hitting together.  Who notices that sound?

Aaron does.  And isn’t that word just the perfect word for a crackling fire?

He didn’t eat much of the food I fixed.  He did try to convince me when I told him that he could have two Rice Krispie Treats that this was, indeed, only TWO!  😊

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On this Monday after Super Bowl, Aaron had an autism doctor appointment.  Aaron would tell you that we were eating lunch at Old Chicago as the main event, with the doctor visit as an annoying side trip.

He was chipper and happy, eating some breakfast I fixed him, but by the time we left the house later he had greatly changed.  I think he had a small seizure that I didn’t totally catch, only seeing the end of it.  Therefore, on the way to the doctor he was very tired, keeping his eyes closed most of the way.

The doctor does a good job with Aaron, trying to get him to communicate with her, but he was still draggy and tired…and his answers often very inaccurate.  She and I end up, as we did yesterday, talking about my Aaron concerns.

And my concerns seem to grow.  Weight loss…behaviors…seizures…a hard time on many nights going to sleep.

Adding a medicine…the concerns with that…

Just on and on.  And so many issues are unknown, even to doctors, when it comes to the brain and to the impact of long-term seizures and meds.

Now I was feeling dreary and burdened as we drove away, Aaron’s eyes closed again.  Even inside Old Chicago, as Aaron managed to eat two pieces of pizza, his mood wasn’t his usual over-excited self.

But on the drive home, Aaron and I had fun watching the temperature drop number by number as a cold front blew through.  He thought it was great fun!  It was also great fun to anticipate getting a haircut, which he loves.  I had signed in on-line and he was happy – but still very tired.

We ran home for a quick stop and to grab our jackets.  Then I told Aaron that I was sure a few Reese’s Cups would perk him up.

“Yeah!!” he agreed.

He carefully took three small ones, put them in his coat pocket, and off we went.

I never know when we go to Great Clips just how the visit will be.  As we walked in the door, I was just happy that Aaron didn’t barge in and loudly say,
“I’M HERE FOR A HAIR-CUT!!!” – as he so often has in the past.

However, yesterday I realized that we didn’t know any of the stylists.  I could feel discomfort invading my happiness.  I just never know if someone will understand Aaron or stare at him in that all-too-familiar way that makes me half angry and half sad.  I was hoping for someone who knew Aaron and was good with him.  Instead, we were given the perfunctory greeting as we entered, mixed with inquisitive stares.

UGH!!!

Aaron and I sat in our chairs, him totally unaware of my concern.  He wanted to know what Bed Head meant as he examined the products on the shelf, his voice still a little slurred.  Finally, he sat down and carefully pulled his Reese’s Cups out of his pocket.

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Two were placed neatly on the chair beside him, and the third he slowly unwrapped.  He ate it, and then repeated the action two more times.

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By then, the stylist walked our way and called his name…and I, with huge relief, saw that Aaron was in very good hands.

I knew he was in good hands because of the stylist’s big smile and her comfortable conversation with Aaron.  There was none of the awkward staring or obvious discomfort that we sometimes encounter when we are out.

Aaron sat in the wrong chair, one he has often used, but she handled it so easily.  Soon Aaron was sitting in the correct chair as the stylist asked him if he watched the Super Bowl.  Perfect question!

“Yeah!!” Aaron answered.  “Who did you vote for?!”

“I wanted the Chiefs to win,” she answered.  “Did you?”

“Yes!!” replied Aaron, rubbing his hands together in delight.

They talked about Super Bowl snacks as she cut Aaron’s hair and trimmed his facial hair, and soon she was done.

“Aaron, would you like some good smelling stuff in your hair?” she asked.

“I need to ask Mom,” he said as he looked my direction.

“MOM??” he yelled.  “Can she put some good smelling stuff in my hair?”

I laughed and said yes, of course, knowing how very happy Aaron would be with this turn of events.  He doesn’t have enough hair for good smelling stuff, but that’s not at all important.

Smiling, good smelling Aaron left there a very different person than when we walked in.  I did as well, I assure you.

And once again it hit me just how big a difference one person can make in another person’s day….specifically, in Aaron’s day…and thus, in mine.

Later that evening, Aaron was waiting on me to finish some things in my bedroom.  He was hovering, as he so often does.

“Mom!!”  he suddenly exclaimed.  “Do you want to smell my hair?!”

Normally, that would be a no.  A big no.  But not today, thanks to our difference-making hair stylist.

“Sure I do,” I answered.

Aaron chuckled in joy as I took a sniff.  He was rubbing his hands together, a sign of his total happiness.

Who would imagine that such a simple thing as good smelling hair stuff would bring such happiness to Aaron and to me?

His hair still smelled good, but more importantly, his heart was light and happy.  The residual nice scent was like the residual warmth in our hearts, both of us.

Never underestimate the difference you can make in someone’s life, especially in the lives of our special ones.  It isn’t necessary to spend money or to take tons of time.

A smile…a word…the warmth of understanding…are all such sweet gifts to each of us, parents and children alike.

That good smell lingers for such a long time!

Longer than the good smelling stuff in Aaron’s hair, trust me!   😊

 

 

Football – Aaron’s Way

Aaron, over the years, has slowly developed an interest of sorts in various sports – mainly football and basketball.  He has gone from knowing nothing – and not caring one bit that he knew nothing – to wanting to watch games with us.  He does at times enjoy the actual game, but I’m still convinced that his main motive in watching games with us is threefold.

  1. He can be in the same room with us and therefore TALK.
  2. He can play his hand-held game as he pretends to watch the TV screen.
  3. He has freedom and permission to eat snack foods.

Aaron has had some very funny comments over the years when it comes to his take on football and basketball.  So, since today is Super Bowl Sunday…and since Aaron is taking a nap and I just might have a few uninterrupted minutes…I thought I would let you view football through Aaron’s eyes and Aaron’s words.

The first thing that Aaron wants to set straight when we watch a game is this:

“MOM!!  Who are you voting for?!  SF or KC?!”

Once we clear up that question…and remind him of who SF and KC are…then he will feel free to enjoy the game.

And to make numerous comments.  Here a few that we have heard over the years.

 

  • “Why are those men wearing those striped suits?”
  • “Those referees look like they’ve been in jail.”
  • “Those cheerleaders are weird.”
  • “Those people who are yelling are crazy.”
  • “Why do some of those football players have long hair?”
  • “Those referees move their hands funny.”
  • “Why did those people paint their bodies?”

 

To each question we must have an answer.  Any answer will do, as long as it’s an answer.

Here’s the run-down from a college game we watched several years ago:

 

We settled in for a night of football – Aaron in the big easy chair that he loves, with his blanket over his lap like a nursing home patient; his digital clock that also shows the outdoor and indoor temperatures; tortilla chips; water; napkins; toothpicks; tootsie rolls; and possibly more food hidden under the blanket that I wasn’t aware of and chose to ignore.  So off we go:

 

“Mom, did you know that the temperature outside is 74 degrees?  Is that  cold?”

     “What does LSU stand for?”

     “Which color is WV wearing?”

     “There’s another referee in that jail costume”

     “Why do football players have long hair?”

     “Mom, now the temperature is 71 degrees?  Is that cold?”

     “I notice that sometimes coaches look mad.”

     “Do you think he can make a chance happen?”

     “A BOY cheerleader?  Now, that’s funny!”

     “How does that guy get that paint off his face?”

     “See, that coach looks mad!”

     “So are there five or six rounds in football?”

     “Why is that rope up in the air?”

     “Those refs in the jail costumes move their hands funny!”

     “Mom, now the temperature outside is 69 degrees. Is that because it’s   fall?” 

     “Why does that referee in the jail costume have an L on his shirt?”

     “See, that coach looks mad again!”

 

At last the game was over.  Sadly, we lost.  And the WV coach did look mad.  The temperature outside was 67 degrees.  Then Aaron asked, “So Mom, is there football on tomorrow?”   I don’t know, Aaron.  I think they cancelled all the games.  And besides, my ears hurt! 

 

And during an Alabama – LSU game:

 

“Mom, Alabama is wearing the red hats, right?”   Yes, Aaron, the red HELMETS.  And he replies, “OK, they’re wearing the red hats.”   Whatever.

 

Aaron is very fascinated with the cheerleaders, and not for the reason that you would think a 27 year-old young man would be fascinated with cheerleaders.  He just thinks that male cheerleaders are quite unusual.  He never thought of guys being cheerleaders.  “Mom, why are there boy cheerleaders?”   Well, Aaron, boy cheerleaders are usually called yell leaders, I believe.  “Yeah, so why do they have boy cheerleaders?”  Sigh.  Aaron, male yell leaders can hold up the pyramids better because they’re strong.  And they yell loud, too. 

 

Later the television camera panned over to do a quick shot of the girls standing on the boy’s shoulders.  “Look, Mom!!  The teenage cheerleader boys have to catch the teenage cheerleader girls so they don’t fall on the ground!”  He’s getting it.  I decided not to even talk about the age thing yet.  One concept at a time.

 

He loves watching the refs and trying to figure out their hand signals.  You have to take my word for it – his imitation of the hand signals is pretty hilarious.  And his comment at one point was, “Mom, that ref in his jail shirt has an “R” on his shirt!”  To Aaron, refs always have and always will wear jail shirts.  I guess he thinks they all have a rap sheet, too.  My apologies to the refs who may read this.

 

Coaches fascinate him.  He likes watching their expressions and seeing how they react to various decisions of the refs in their jail shirts.  This time he noticed their headgear.  “Mom, why does the chief of the team have those microphones?” 

 

He’s having a harder time figuring out the 4 quarters, but he’s doing better.  “Mom, is the halftime before the number 3 or the number 2?”   And as he started getting tired, especially when the team in the red hats that we voted for was losing, he said, “Mom, the 4th round is the last one, right?”

 

Trust me when I say that the fourth round cannot be over soon enough in some games!

 

He also, of course, has his own take on injured players:

 

“Mom, remember yesterday when that football player got hurt?  Those hospital people were bent over him.  He looked flattened!” 

“And then that bulldozer thing came in and picked him up!” 

 

There’s this:

 

“Mom, what’s that stuff they squirt in their mouths out of that bottle?”  It’s usually water, Aaron.  And he laughs and says, “Oh, I thought it was mouthwash!”  Some of the players may wish that it was. 

 

But the best question by far:

 

“How come football players look like they’re wearing a pacifier?” 

 

Well, that’s about it for now.  I may have more to add after tonight’s game.

I hope the team you vote for wins.

As long as it’s…well, I won’t say but I do live in Kansas, after all.  😊  😊

 

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She Took It All

One of Aaron’s favorite things to eat is a Cheddar Pasta Salad from the deli at Dillon’s.  The name has actually changed to Cheese Pasta Salad, but to Aaron and to me it’s still Cheddar Pasta Salad.  Aaron always gets a large size, watching carefully to see that the container is filled to the brim.  We go so often that we’ve gotten to know some of the deli workers, who can always guess what we want when we walk up to the counter.

Yesterday afternoon Aaron asked me if he could have a Cheddar Pasta Salad, so off we went to run an errand before the Chiefs – Titans football game, and then end at the Dillon’s deli.  Things were going smoothly, and I was happy that we would make it home in time for the game.

It doesn’t ever seem to matter how carefully I plan our entrance into Dillon’s.  Aaron always seems to somehow get ahead of me as we make our way to the deli counter.  He is definitely on a mission!

The problem is that he will often push in front of people if there are others standing at the counter.  Therefore, he and I are in a foot race as I try to head him off at the draw, before he offends the others who were there before us.  Aaron doesn’t care one bit about waiting his turn when it comes to his Cheddar Pasta Salad.  He doesn’t notice if people are staring or are angry, if they sigh or if they edge closer to the counter.  He only has eyes for the food behind the counter window, looking quickly to see if there is any Cheddar Pasta Salad.

Yesterday there was a mom there with her very cute little girl who was maybe four years old.  I made it to the counter just a few steps behind fast Aaron, just in time to touch his arm and remind him that someone was before us in line.

Aaron was very happy to see that there was some Cheddar Pasta Salad in the tray.  “Look, Mom,” he said.  “They have Cheddar Pasta Salad!”

“That’s what we’re getting, too!” said the friendly mom.  “It’s her favorite!” she added as she looked down at her smiling little daughter.

In an instant, I knew that we were in a dilemma.

In an instant, Aaron had figured out that there was NOT enough Cheddar Pasta Salad for both him and the little girl.

And in that instant, Aaron’s face fell.

“Oh boy,” I thought to myself.

The mother was telling me that her little girl just loved the pasta…that she never ate the broccoli…that the mom ate the broccoli…

“There won’t be enough for me!!” Aaron blurted out.

“Yes, Aaron, there will be some for you,” I assured him, while I felt dread creeping up my spine.  How far would Aaron go in his disappointment?  Would he become angry?

The mother also told Aaron that they weren’t taking all the salad, but Aaron could see that there would not be enough for his large container.

He stared down toward the floor, not making eye contact, as he tried to process the fact that these interlopers were taking HIS Cheddar Pasta Salad!

Their transaction done, the mother told us to have a good day and told Aaron to enjoy his salad.

“Shut up,” Aaron softly replied as he continued looking down at the ground.

I was horrified!!!!

The mother and cute daughter were walking away as I sternly told Aaron to say thank you to them.

He refused.

I told him through firm lips that he would NOT get his salad if he didn’t say thank you.

The girl behind the counter, new to us, was waiting on my order.  I fumbled out that we would take the rest of the Cheddar Pasta Salad.

“She took it all,” Aaron flatly said.

My face was flaming.

The mother and little girl were a short distance from us.  The container…the medium size and not the large…was being filled with the last of the Cheddar Pasta Salad.

“THANKS!!!” Aaron suddenly bellowed.

And the mother turned and smiled at us.  I wondered if she could see the distress on my face, and on Aaron’s as he processed taking home a medium container.

Not a LARGE!!

Then the mom and her daughter turned and walked right behind us.  I touched her arm and whispered to her.

“I don’t know if you heard what he said, but I’m so sorry,” I told her.

She said she didn’t hear anything.  I softly told her that Aaron has autism, but I could tell she knew.

“Don’t even worry,” she kindly said.  “My older daughter works at Open Doors with autism all the time, so I totally understand.”

Relief washed over me…partly because they hadn’t heard Aaron’s comment and largely because she was so kind.

I thanked her, turned back to Aaron…who was staring dejectedly at his medium container…and then she said to me:

“You’re a very good woman.”

I was so surprised!  I thanked her.

And I blinked back tears and swallowed the growing lump in my throat.

I was so happy that now Aaron was holding a jar of Chili Fig Spread, excited about his new find, moving on to the next thing as he always does.

He is so oblivious to other’s emotions.  So clueless as to the stress he inadvertently creates.

SO unaware of how embarrassing and wrong it is to tell someone to shut up!

But he did just that.

And he will do it again.

So, we give the lectures and we live the example, but none of that can permanently re-wire his brain.

I picked myself up off the floor, figuratively speaking, as I gathered my wits about me and picked up the pieces of my shattered motherly pride.

Yes, my son is the one who told you to shut up.

But this is our life with Aaron.

Aaron, who wants life to fall into place his way and when it doesn’t, is hardly able to do anything but to tell the offender to shut up.

But he DID say thanks!!  I’m so thankful for that!!

I DID give him his Cheddar Pasta Salad.  Look at his sad face, though.

 

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His medium…not large…Cheddar Pasta Salad.

“She took it all,” he said over and over as we walked through Dillon’s.

“She did NOT take it all!” I reminded him over and over.

We actually got a lot in return at that deli counter.

A large serving of kindness goes a long way!