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! 

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! 🙂 🙂

This Gift Has My Name on It!

Gary and I were sitting beside our decorated tree one night before Christmas.  We were not alone for long, as is so often the case.  Aaron soon joined us.  He was, of course, drawn to the presents under the tree.  His observant eyes had seen his name on a gift!

“Look!!” he exclaimed, “this gift has my name on it!” 

His childish delight made us smile.

His childish delight is, in fact, a gift to us.

Yet there are other aspects of who Aaron is that we would not describe as a gift.  Maybe more as a burden?  An annoyance? 

We know that God gave us Aaron, and he is indeed the whole package.  It’s just that some of the contents of that package are not what we would have hand-picked. 

Am I being too blunt here?

This reality of God’s gifts to me carries over into every area of my life.  Gary and I had been married for five years before we had a baby…Aaron.  We prayed for a baby.  God gave us Aaron.

Do I really trust God in this answer to our prayers?

So many times in my life I have prayed over some matter…some decision…some issue.  But sometimes God’s answers are not what I would have chosen.

Oh, they may seem wonderful at the time but later the gift might turn sour. 

What happened?

How easy it is, then, to play the guessing game.

Maybe if we had moved there instead of here.

Maybe if we had joined that church instead of this church.

Maybe if we had raised our children in this way instead of that way.

Maybe…maybe…maybe.

Yet if I am walking with God in obedience, and I am praying for direction, I must trust that the way He leads is best and for a reason.

Good reasons, always.

But not always easy.

I must reach out and take God’s gifts to me with trust.

The children of Israel knew that God led them miraculously out of Egypt.  No one could doubt that.  But then it wasn’t long before they disobeyed God.  Even the manna God provided to them became a source of discontentment and complaint. 

Soon the Israelites were comparing their present lot with the life they used to have in Egypt, creating more unhappiness and grumbling.

I do that, too.  I pray…I take God’s gift of an answer…and then when things get hard, I fight the tendency to complain and to compare.

If only I had what they have…lived where they live…got to go where they go…blah, blah, blah.

Such a trap!

This morning, I read the answer to this dilemma in my life:

“Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, ‘Let God by magnified.’  (Psalm 70:4)

I must keep my eyes on God in every area of my life. 

My gladness and contentment is in God alone, not in the events of my life – good or not so good.

So, when I reach out and take God’s gifts to me, may I not focus on the gift so much but instead may my eyes stay on the Giver of the gifts. 

That’s easy to do when the gift is fun and happy.

But I must understand that some gifts are not fun and happy.  Some are hard and sad. 

Yet on each gift, I see the tag.

To:  Patty

From:  God

Thank you, God, that every gift from You is good and perfect.  You didn’t say they were easy and fun. 

Help me to trust You.

“Look!  This gift has my name on it!!”

Our Man Kid

A couple weeks ago I was talking to our daughter on the phone.  Almost always, when she and I are on the phone, Aaron will come bounding up to me and without lowering his voice he will ask if that’s Andrea.  I shake my head yes and so the hovering begins as he waits for HIS turn to talk to Andrea.  I finally let him have his time, knowing that if I don’t he will most likely linger close by until I do.

“ANDREA!!” he begins.  “Guess what game I’m playing now?!” 

And he’s off, talking about everything under the sun that has to do with his world.  He never asks about her life or how she’s doing.  Never.  But she understands that about her brother.  She laughs with him and talks to him about all his games and movies and answers his unusual questions about unusual things as seriously as if she’s talking to a lab manager about the proper way to conduct a molecular test. 

A couple weeks ago, she and I were talking about how Aaron is and how he must appear to others.  His conversations, his approach to life, his characteristics that others observe when they first see Aaron or if they know Aaron well…everything that makes Aaron who Aaron is.  Andrea said that he really is just a kid in a man’s body.

Then later that same evening, Aaron and I were talking to a neighbor and her young son out on our driveway.  This little boy just looked up at Aaron as Aaron went on and on about whatever.  Aaron was talking rather loudly, as usual, and all the time he talked he kept working his fingers together the way that he does. 

Finally, our young friend was able to get a word in…a question, actually.   

“Are you a man kid?” he asked Aaron.

That question went completely over Aaron’s head as he just barreled on with his topic of interest at that moment.

But it stopped me in my tracks. 

“What a perfect way to describe him!” I quietly told his mother. 

And how interesting that Andrea and I had said that same thing, yet not as precisely, just that afternoon.

A man kid. 

There stands Aaron, looking every bit like a man…and he is.  He has a man’s voice, a man’s physique, a man’s facial hair, and even a man’s balding head.  😊

But he acts so much like a kid!  And to other kids I know it’s a process to try to figure Aaron out.  We’re so used to him that we don’t often mentally step back and think of how it must be for children to understand Aaron.

Tomorrow is Aaron’s birthday.  Our son, who is a man, turns 36 tomorrow!

Our son, who is a kid, is exuberantly excited about his birthday.  He always is, every single year. 

If you ask him how old he will be, he pauses as he tries to remember his new age.  That number of “36” means nothing to him.

But oh, his birthday means everything to him.  Just ask our neighbors, some from around our circle that we don’t really know.  If Aaron is outside and he sees someone walking by, he briskly heads to the street.

“HEY!!” he yelled the other day to a couple of ladies.  “It’s almost my birthday!!”

They laughed and congratulated him as they went on their way.

And our man kid stood there rubbing his hands together in delight, with his deep chuckle bubbling up, his sweater flapping in the breeze, and joy all over his face.

Remembering that Aaron is a man kid helps us enjoy him.

But more importantly, it helps us understand him…and understanding Aaron is crucial in how we live with him and deal with him.

Happy Birthday, Aaron!! 

We love you, man kid!!

Aaron’s Talking Points #11

Here are more of Aaron’s sayings, collected over the years. Have fun reading!

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Aaron and I finished our Skip-Bo game. I reached out to get some cards that he was handing me.

Aaron: Your hands are skinny……

And all I heard was the word “skinny.” Something on me was identified as skinny??!!

Aaron (continuing): …..like an alien.

Hmmmmm.

I’ll take it!

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While talking about his group this morning, Aaron said, “Mom, a girl there likes me. I would put it as she doesn’t love me but she likes me.”

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Aaron drinks water or other beverages like he’s in a contest to see who can down his drink the fastest. He turns it up, chug-a-lugs, and down it goes. He even drinks his coffee that way, once it cools, which is a total travesty. We’re always telling him to slow down…savor each sip…taste each swallow.

Today I fixed him some hot tea that he wanted. He came downstairs later, cup empty, and gave me this report:

“Mom! I was not drinking all of it. I was just drinking PARTS of it!”

In other words, he SIPPED his tea! But as usual, his description is far more interesting than ours. 😁🥃☕🥛

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Oh, silly people who call this little round thing a coaster. Aaron told me the correct name last night.

This is a drink plate.

Got it?

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Aaron was telling me all about the chicken in the deli at Dillon’s.

“They have fried chicken. They have that chicken with no bones. And they have pop-tart chicken!”

Um, that would be popcorn chicken, Aaron. But with pop-tart chicken you could have breakfast and lunch in one!

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Aaron and I were talking about how some people do bad things, and that the color of a person’s skin doesn’t make them bad or not bad. He thought a minute and then said, “So not a person’s skin or their species makes them bad?”

Species? Let’s start over.

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Yesterday Aaron and I were listening to Zac Brown.

Zac Brown: …and if you say that I’m too late, I’ll curl up and die in misery.

Aaron laughed and laughed.

Me: Why are you laughing at that?

Aaron: He said he would curl up by Miss Ugly!!

I’m afraid I let this life lesson pass right by as we both dissolved in laughter. 🤪😂😂

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Aaron had a seizure last night. Just one, but is he ever wired this morning! He was out of bed very early and has talked pretty well nonstop. He considered playing a game on his computer, but I reminded him that this is not a good idea after having a seizure.

Me: Aaron, you know that playing a game might get your brain too riled up.

Aaron: So a game might make me wild up?

I didn’t tell Aaron, but I actually think it’s too late to stop that! 🤪♥️♥️

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In Wal-Mart today, Aaron’s eyes latched on to a display of colorful, adorable, stuffed pigs. He instantly latched on to the brightest one there. He had me when he said, “Can I own him?” 😃

Aaron may be our adult son, but sometimes he’s just still so cute and dear. ❤️

And he now owns a very bright pig!

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I was frustrated with Aaron today when I picked him up from his day group because he told me he had given some of his money away to a friend. We work and work to make him stop giving away his money, but still he sometimes does this.

So, I gave him the lecture.

Then I gave a big sigh.

Aaron: Mom, don’t fight and don’t breathe!

Well, I guess if I quit breathing then I would also quit fighting. 😜🤔

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Since Gary and I got home from Houston, and after all of Aaron’s weekend seizures, he’s been telling us that his legs are weak. Finally, yesterday, he got it figured out.

“Mom, I think those six seizures stiffed my legs!!”

I want to show I’m sorry about his legs, but it sure is hard not to laugh at his wonderful way with words.

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Aaron and I got home from eating lunch out (at last!!), and then running several errands. He was very compliant with staying near me while we were out, using hand sanitizer at the air base before we could enter, and only walking one way up and down the store aisles. 🙄

Soon after we were home, he wanted a piece of cake that we made the other day, so I told him to wash his hands. He finally showed his frustration.

“Is that a government law??” he asked with disdain.

I assured him it was Mom’s law and he REALLY better obey that one!! 😂😂

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Andrea got me some beautiful roses and there are some ferns mixed in. Aaron saw pieces of the ferns that had fallen on the table and asked what they were. “Mom, I thought your hair was shredding on the table.” I hope not. I have enough hair problems without adding shredded hair to the list!

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Aaron: “So are you getting something special since it’s your Mother’s Day?”

I walked over to him, put my arm around him and said, “Well, a hug is special.”

Aaron: “I was talking about food!!”

Ah, if Mom gets special food then Aaron might get special food. Smart boy!

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Gary took Aaron out today, and when they came home, in walked Aaron with his arms full of candy and cookies and a really fun card for me.

Aaron: Here, Mom! These are for you.

Me: Wow, Aaron! Thank you so much!!

Then I decided to tease him a little.

Me: So, do I have to share these with you?

Aaron: No. I don’t like any of them.

And off he walked.

Never underestimate Aaron’s honesty and clarity. 😀😀

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‘Til next time! And trust me, there WILL be a next time! 🙂

Aaron’s Talking Points #10

More of Aaron’s funny comments collected over the years. Enjoy!

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First initial report from Aaron about the circus: There were not a lot of clowns so that was boring. The elephants pooped in a bucket and that was NOT boring.

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Aaron, walking through the family room: “I’m going to use the bathroom. Do you think that’s a good idea?”

Why does it even matter what I think on that subject?

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Aaron has a hard time getting family relationships correct. Brother and sister, mom and dad – he’s usually good with those, although not always 100%. Aunts and uncles – I think he just calls them by those titles but he doesn’t really fathom their connection to mom and dad. And just forget cousins.

Now that Andrea and Kyle are getting married, Aaron has really struggled – in more ways than one – with this new relationship and how it will impact him. He feels like he’ll lose Andrea – that she won’t be his sister anymore. We’ve told him over and over that Kyle will be his new brother (brother-in-law, to be exact, though that confuses Aaron). And that Andrea will still be his sister.

So today he was telling our friend, Casady, that he does NOT want Kyle to marry Andrea. His reason, in his words:

“I don’t want to be a Grandbrother!!

That’s a new one! The family tree just got even more interesting. 🤣🤔

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Aaron’s been asking a million questions this morning. I’m a little phased out at this point, so I’m giving the standard answer of, “Hmmmm.” This doesn’t sit well with Aaron, so he challenged me about not answering him well.

Aaron: What do you keep saying?

Me: When?

Aaron: Every time I talk to you.

Me: Hmmmm.

Aaron just gave a big sigh and walked away. Maybe I’m on to something. 😁

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Aaron told us that he thought one of his staff was pregnant with her second child. This fascinates him. Today when I dropped him off for his group, this staff was driving. Aaron asked her if it’s true that she’s pregnant and she said yes. So he excitedly replied, “So you’re going to do another baby?!” He does have a way with words!

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Aaron was watching the news last night when on came a story of the Pope at an Easter gathering. Aaron leaned forward on the floor where he sat, taking in all the scenes of the Pope. Finally Aaron was done and as he gathered up his things off the floor, he said, “That pastor dresses funny. I’ve never seen a pastor dress THAT way!!” Can you tell we’re not Catholic?

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Another topic that Aaron talked about yesterday: clowns. He wonders if a clown wears that same kind of make-up that I do. O.K., now he’s gone too far!

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Aaron has talked and talked and talked and talked and talked…..you get the idea……about an alien picture that he saw. Earlier, he said that the alien was pink. But knowing that he is color blind, and that to him pink is sometimes really blue, I foolishly told him that maybe the alien is really blue. This statement that I made without thinking resulted in me having to stand in his room at his computer, observing the mutant alien on a very small picture. Was he pink? Well, sort of. But I could also see a tinge of blue. Hmmmmm……

Me: Aaron, I think he’s a pinkish blue.

Aaron: Pinkish blue?

Me: Yes. A little pink and a little blue.

Silly me. This pinkish blue business is just a bit much to comprehend in Aaron’s black and white…..it’s either all pink or all blue…..world.

So a few minutes ago, Aaron stood behind me at my computer, trying to figure out once and for all what color the alien really is.

Aaron: Mom, pinkish blue.

Me: Mmmmmm. (Not really paying much attention…..brain is numbing).

Aaron: Pinkish blue. That’s like pink and blue are connected.

A good laugh woke my brain right up! I think Aaron gets pinkish blue now!

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Our sweet caregivers, brother and sister long-time friends of ours, came over Sunday to go over some things before we leave for Houston. So this morning I had this conversation with observant Aaron:

Aaron: Mom, H. looks weird.

Me: She most certainly does NOT look weird!

Aaron: I think she looks weird.

Me: Why on earth do you think she looks weird?

Aaron: Well…..she’s skinny.

Obviously, Aaron is very unaccustomed to skinny here at our house. And trust me, this is his version of a compliment. I’ve already warned H. about her upcoming compliment, too, because I strongly suspect that he will share it with her as soon as she walks in the door tomorrow.

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Same song, second verse.

Aaron: “The movie 2012 is 159 minutes long.”

Me: “So it’s about 2 1/2 hours long.”

Aaron: “No. It’s 2 hours and 39 minutes long!”

 Silly me!! We must be precise!

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A few weeks ago, when Aaron had a respiratory virus and sore throat, he had some observations, as always.

“Mom, every time I blow my nose it comes BACK to my nose!!” 😝🤢

Then he started running a slight fever, complete with some chills.

“Mom, why do I feel cold? Is it because my body isn’t at its warming temperature?” 😃

So today during Wheel of Fortune, he took a chill and then laughed and laughed at the goose bumps on his legs.

“MOM!! LOOK!! Those are bumps to being cold!!” 😅😅

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Aaron: So are we going to watch an NCIS?

Me: Sure!

Aaron: Will it be 9:00, or 8:55?

Let me think about that, Aaron. 🤔🕘🙃

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Aaron held up a Snickers bar at Wal-Mart: “Mom, this is the kind of candy bar my friend likes! But what’s that stretchy stuff in the middle?” Uh, I’m hoping you’re talking about the caramel, Aaron.

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Aaron’s had a very hard time waking up in the mornings. When I have to keep talking to him or shaking his leg to get him awake, then he becomes angry. It’s not a good start to our day, so today I decided to improve the situation by offering him a stop at McDonald’s for a sausage biscuit. It worked!

After our biscuits, as we drove to Paradigm, Aaron’s eyes were still heavy and he was unusually quiet. We were listening to The Beach Boys.

“…I wish they all could be California girrrrls…”

Suddenly Aaron started chuckling and then outright laughing.

“What’s so funny?” I asked him.

“They’re singing about BIG California girls!!” 😂😂

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Aaron, talking about all the places he went today with Amy:

“Mom! We went to that store that has all that stuff that smells! We got Barb some of that smelly good smell stuff!”

I want some!!

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One of many observations that Aaron is making as he works his way through the movie, Titanic:

“The accent of those people on that ship. They sound like Europe!” 😁😁

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Aaron wasn’t out of bed for 60 seconds before he was standing beside me, talking about barnacles.

Yes. Barnacles.

His current focus is The Titanic, and the barnacles covering the wreckage have totally captured his attention…and therefore, ours.

I just googled Barnacles. I have learned more than ever about barnacles. Go ahead. Ask me a question about barnacles. And if I cannot answer your question, I’ll have Aaron call you. So leave me your number when asking questions. You and Aaron can talk for hours about barnacles. Trust me. HOURS!!

Doing so will provide me with very beneficial mental health assistance, too. Think of how happy that will make you feel, my dear friends and family!

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Well, that’s enough of Aaron this time.  Thanks for reading.  You may leave your phone numbers in the comments for that call from Aaron. 

Just kidding!!  😊  😊

Have a great weekend!

In the Eye of the Storm

Life has been pretty tempestuous and I’m not just talking about a whirling mess out in the Gulf by the name of Laura.  We’ve had our own commotion under our roof.  Hurricane Aaron has been building for several days and the other night we were inundated with his storm surge.  Honestly, though, my outburst was stronger than his by a long shot!

Ah, the wonders and joys of autism.  Aaron wants…needs…routine and predictability and all his things in all their proper places.  Upheaval of any kind creates stress for him, and stress for Aaron inevitably creates stress for Gary and me as his parents and caregivers. 

The stresses around us that cause us angst do affect him because his level world is easily tipped by what Gary and I are going through.  Aaron expects us to stay as level as he needs us to be, but we all know that life just isn’t that way.

When Aaron sees Gary and me off kilter, he will then seek to identify what is bothering us.  Then that person or that event becomes the enemy because they have affected him.  Aaron doesn’t mean to be narcissistic.  That delightful character trait is part and parcel with autism.  We know that fact in our heads but sometimes the understanding doesn’t transfer to our hearts during the turmoil.

Several events have impacted us over this past week.  A hoped-for trip to Indiana to see our son didn’t happen.  Disappointment over changed plans crept in.

Then last week we grieved with our daughter and son-in-law, Kyle and Andrea, over the sudden serious health issues of one of their beloved dogs.  Aries started having seizures.  The next week was heart-rending as he declined drastically.  So, this past Friday they made that awful end-of-life decision.  Gary and I were so sad, but I also think that seeing our children’s grief increased our own.  We loved Aries, and we love Kyle and Andrea, so our sorrow was two-fold. 

This is the prayer Kyle prayed the night they said goodbye to Aries:

Aaron really can’t handle seeing us cry but try as we might he did see our tears over the loss of Aries.  We now had the double whammy of changed trip plans and heartbreak over Aries.

However, we were only halfway done with disruptions.  Out in the ocean, Tropical Storm Laura was brewing.  Kyle and Andrea live to the east of Houston, near the water.  Kyle works on a fast responder ship, and those huge vessels don’t stay in the harbor during a hurricane.  Fast forward to today:  Kyle is now on the ship up in one of the channels and will stay there indefinitely.  Andrea is home alone with their other 3 doggies.  She knows she is welcome to go to Kyle’s parent’s home a little further inland but it’s not best to leave your home if you can possibly stay.  So, Gary flew to Houston yesterday and is there with her, which is such a comfort.  His retirement a month ago is a blessing!

Aaron senses our concern about all this hurricane business.  He usually likes to watch the progress of hurricanes, but not this time.  Why?  Because Gary and I are spending too much time, in Aaron’s opinion, monitoring Hurricane Laura…wondering about Kyle and Andrea…planning Gary’s sudden trip…and talking on the phone.  No matter how calm we are, all this time and talk is unusual to Aaron.  Sometimes it takes time away from Aaron. 

On Monday evening, as I finished looking once again at the Weather Channel, Aaron became rude and I became undone.  I lost my temper and lost my cool, and Aaron reacted, and we had our own tempest in the family room.  These things do happen, especially when we are stressed, but then the tension and guilt are increased.  It takes some doing to un-do it all. 

Aaron paced in and out of the family room where I still sat.  We tried to watch a Little House episode but he just could not settle down so he chose to end it and go to bed.  But he kept coming back to me with one more word of anger.  Then he finally stood in front of me.

“I know what I’ll do!!” he belligerently said.

And with that, he stuck his tongue out at me. 

I tell you, I just had to laugh.  He didn’t mean for it to be hilarious, but it was.  I kept my laugh to a minimum and somehow he didn’t get more angry, but it was just really funny.  

I knew when Aaron was finally OK by what happened soon after.  He came bounding once again into the family room, stared at me, and then said:

“Mom?  Do you know what a sea mine is?”

A sea mine?!  But I was actually quite relieved to be talking about sea mines.  Aaron is playing Battleship on his computer, so talk of sea mines was perfectly normal for him.  It showed that he had at last moved beyond our anger and beyond the unsettled surroundings of his world, and he was back to his normal.  I didn’t care one bit about sea mines but trust me, at this point sea mines were a very welcome reprieve!

Aaron’s normal rarely involves human emotion or important life events that impact us.  These issues cause him distress, so he quickly reverts to talk of battleships and sea mines and gun turrets and whatever else comprises his focus at that time.  Gary and I so often shake our heads, but we know we must jump on board with Aaron in order to preserve our peace.  It’s both very frustrating and very fascinating to see how his mind works. 

There is one more thing going on.  Aaron’s bedroom remodel begins tomorrow.  Gary and I had to empty it before Gary left for Houston.  That caused some anxiety, to say the least.  But beyond that is the fact that now Aaron is in another bedroom where all his things are NOT in their normal place. 

“Mom!!  This bed isn’t like my bed!!”

“Mom!!  I like my lamp better!!”

“Mom!!  I don’t like this hard floor!!” 

“Mom!!  I hope I’m not getting a hard floor!!”

“Mom!!  I want to keep my carpet!!”

“Mom!!  My chair doesn’t work right on this hard floor!!”

Shall I continue?

No.  But Aaron will, trust me.

I took Aaron to Outback yesterday after we dropped Gary off at the airport.  Aaron was in his happy place…a restaurant with his choice of food!  As we munched on the warm bread and butter, Aaron looked down at the two pieces left on the cutting board.

“Mom,” he said, “you can have this one and I’ll have the other one.”

I laughed because the one he generously gave to me was the much smaller piece while he got the bigger one.  And it just reminded me of how life is with Aaron.  He doesn’t mean to be this way, but he does require the bigger part of our time and of our understanding and of our attention. 

Therefore, Gary and I require a bigger part of God’s grace and God’s understanding and God’s strength on days such as we have had this past week. 

And God’s forgiveness when we blow it. 

I’m so thankful that He understands.

And I was so thankful to see Aaron smile yesterday as I was able to restore some of his normal.  It’s my responsibility, yes, but also my joy as his mother and his caregiver.

By the way, in the eye of the storm there is peace.  God’s peace, which never fails, is there for me. 

I’m thankful for that, too, during each storm!

Aaron’s Talking Points #9

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

 

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

Aaron: MOM!! LOOK!!

Me: What??!

Aaron: Wait!! It’s coming!

Waiting.

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

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

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

Thinking.

Aaron: It hassss……CHICKEN FOOD!!!!

Soundsssss…….YUMMY!!!

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Remind me not to call her travel agent. 😲 🤣

 

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

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

To the receptionist: It’s not about you.

To his therapist: Just let it go.

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

We need to start listening to my hymn CDs.

 

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Elvis, Take 3:

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

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

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

Oh yes, Aaron has now discovered Elvis dancing.

Aaron: MOM!! Let’s show DAD!!!!

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

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

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

Aaron: Elvis was ROWDY in 1956!!

Stay tuned.

 

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More about Elvis on our drive home from Paradigm today.

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

Me: He doesn’t sing normal?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aaron: Yeah. He’s just not NORMAL!!

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

 

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

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

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

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

Aaron: Lunch?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

‘Til next time!  😊  😊

 

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When is the Time to Trust?

A couple mornings ago I felt compelled to open my very old copy of the classic devotional book, Streams in the Desert.  This book was a gift from my home church when I graduated from high school way back in 1973.  But even though my graduation date makes the book old…of which I am all too aware more and more each day…the actual writings of Mrs. Charles Cowman were first published in 1925.  Her writing style may be old school, but the deep truths contained therein are timeless.

I was touched deeply by what I read that morning about faith and trust.  I jotted a few notes, tucked the truths away in my mind, and was soon about my busy day.  Aaron was staying home that day and we had fun plans!

Our plans were to meet some friends at All Star Sports for a morning of games.  My friend Joyce and I had decided to get our two sons together.  It would be the first time that Johannes and Aaron would be with each other for an outing, and we both wondered how it would go.

How it went was great!  I mean, there wasn’t tons of interaction between them, but the ice was broken, and plans were made for more time together.  Sweet Johannes held his hand out and with a prompt from me, Aaron shook his hand without squeezing it too hard, and Joyce and I laughed and were happy.  The boys had a good time and that’s what mattered!

 

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Aaron and I then went to eat some lunch and to drop off donations at Goodwill before heading home.  Soon after we got home, Aaron took a nap.  I had the monitor nearby, listening as I always do when he sleeps.  I really didn’t expect to hear a seizure, so I was surprised when I suddenly heard that unmistakable sound coming across the table where I sat.

It was a hard seizure, lasting close to 3 minutes.  And exactly one hour later, to the minute, he had another one.  It wasn’t as long as the first one but was still 2 minutes long.  Thankfully, he was done then and had no more the rest of the day.

It’s so surprising, even now after all these years, how quickly Aaron can go from being out and about, happy and fine, to having a seizure.  I don’t try to figure them out like I used to do, but I still find myself wondering why.

Even the next day on the way home from his day group, his speech was somewhat slurred, and he was very tired.  He fell asleep on the way home instead of his usual non-stop talking.  Was it the residual effects of yesterday’s seizure, I wondered?  Is his sodium low again?  Will he have another seizure when he gets home and takes a nap?

 

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So, even though this is Aaron’s life and our life, it’s still disconcerting.  Worrying.  Unsettling.

My mind was drawn back to the devotional I read earlier that morning.  I went back to it and was, as I always am, so amazed at how God has for me just what I need when I most need it.

Mrs. Cowman’s words were based on the story of Paul’s shipwreck in Acts 27.  The south wind blew gently as the sailor’s pulled anchor.  Paul had warned them not to take this trip, but they didn’t listen.  And that south wind was such a hopeful sign to them that they were right, and Paul was wrong.

But soon a terrible storm hit.  For days the ship was violently tossed on the waves.  During that horrible storm, with no sun or stars for days…with everything thrown off the ship that could possibly be tossed overboard…verse 20 says that all hope of being saved was abandoned.

But an angel of God stood before Paul to assure him there would be no loss of life.  Paul stood bravely before those battered and terrified seasoned sailors, and confidently said, “So take heart, men, FOR I HAVE FAITH IN GOD!!”

I thought about our life with Aaron…the ups and downs in so many areas…and the fear concerning his seizures.  How that day had been so much fun and so without fear, and then out of the blue came two hard seizures.  It was easy for fear to replace our fun.

My need to trust God is always there, right at the surface, even underneath all the normal and the fun and the hopeful.

But ACTUALLY trusting God is a must when suddenly the normal and the fun and the hopeful is yanked away.

That level of trust is a conscious decision that I must make.

That level of trust isn’t based on circumstances or on feelings but is rooted in God Himself…in Who I know Him to be.

This year for all of us has seen the rug pulled out in so many areas of our lives.  Things were going along pretty well for most of us.  Then…BAM!!

COVID…jobs…riots…anger…fear…disagreement.

I want to leave you with the hope that God is not taken aback or surprised by any of this.  He has a purpose and a plan.

Can you say, with Paul, that you have faith in God?

I want to leave you with a wonderful poem shared by Mrs. Cowman that I read that morning.  I hope it will mean as much to you as it did…and does…to me.

 

When is the time to trust?

                        Is it when all is calm,

                        When waves the victor’s palm,

                        And life is one glad Psalm

                        Of joy and praise?

            Nay!  But the time to trust

                        Is when the waves beat high,

                        When storm clouds fill the sky,

                        And prayer is one long cry,

                                    O help and save!

 

            When is the time to trust?

                        Is it when friends are true?

                        Is it when comforts woo,

                        And in all we say and do

                        We meet but praise?

            Nay!  But the time to trust

                        Is when we stand alone,

                        And summer birds have flown,

                        And every prop is gone,

                                    All else but God.

 

            What is the time to trust?

                        Is it some future day,

                        When you have tried your way,

                        And learned to trust and pray

                                    By bitter woe?

            Nay!  But the time to trust

                        Is in this moment’s need,

                        Poor, broken, bruised reed!

                        Poor, troubled soul, make speed

                                    To trust thy God.

 

            What is the time to trust?

                        Is it when hopes beat high,

                        When sunshine gilds the sky,

                        And joy and ecstasy

                                    Fill all the heart?

            Nay!  But the time to trust

                        Is when our joy is fled,

                        When sorrow bows the head,

                        And all is cold and dead,

                                    All else but God.