Mom! Today we…………

I never know what Aaron will bombard me with the second he barges in the door when he gets home from his group.  He never says “Hi Mom!”  Instead he immediately starts telling me something about his day.  Like one day last week, as soon as the door burst open, it was:

“Mom!  Today we went to the east mall and I got a 12 foot sub!!”    [Wow!  Do they make them that big?]

“I got all the meat on it like I always do.”    [A club.]    “Yeah, a club!”

“And I got that white stuff on it……………you know……….”     [Mayonnaise]

“Yeah, mayonnaise!”     “And then when I was eating it some of the meat went down a wrong pipe on my throat, and it made me cough!”     [Did someone call a plumber, I’m wondering?]

But I decided not to ask him that.  Some questions just spoil the moment.  Wonder what I’ll hear today?

Colors

My dad was color blind, and that gene passed to his daughters to be possibly passed on to our sons.  Only two of us daughters have sons – Kathryn and I.  Kathryn’s son, Matt, is color blind.  And of my two sons, only Aaron is color blind.  I remember how as children we loved to ask my dad what color this item or that item was.  We were amazed at dinner, for instance, when he couldn’t tell the difference between the colors of the peas and the carrots.  Or we’d tease him in some way about colors.  He was the most patient dad on the planet!  Mom would hang his pants and shirts together, matching sets, so he could just grab a set and go.  He knew that they always matched and that he would look coordinated, not disastrous like it would have been if he was left to put them together.  When we were older and Mom would travel with her job, we’d threaten to mix Dad’s clothes up if he wasn’t nice to us.  Those were empty threats but we sure had fun giving him a hard time and having him play along with us. 

I also remember how my Mom wore this Avon pink lipstick with matching nail polish.  Dad finally asked her to stop wearing it because pink looked blue to him, which meant that her blue lips and nails were a little eerie looking!  One day, when we lived in Germany, we were driving down the autobahn and we passed a bright pink truck.  Little Aaron yelled out, “Look at the BLUE truck.”  I knew then that he was color blind. 

The other day Aaron bought a huge bag of Skittles and brought it home.  Often he likes to take a handful of Skittles and organize them by color.  He leans way down to examine them in an effort to match them correctly.  This morning he said, “Mom, I have a hard time with some of the colors in the Skittles.”  So I asked him which colors are hard (though I knew) and he said, “Just the green, orange, red, and purple.”  Well, that just about covers it – only yellow is left!  I asked him to sort some for me while I fixed him some breakfast, and he proceeded to lean over his little pile and begin separating them.  And sure enough, there in his pile of purple Skittles were two stray red ones that seemed just the same color to Aaron as the purple.  He does a good job, though, and can compensate just like my dad did.

Dad could see yellow, too, and blue.  So Mom would major on blue decorations at Christmas – a show of her love for Dad.  And yellow roses or other yellow flowers were a favorite. Mom always planted plenty of yellow miniature roses or other yellow flowers for him to enjoy.  When Dad died, though, Mom made sure there was a beautiful arrangement of multi-colored flowers adorning his coffin because now he could see and enjoy all the colors, not just the blue and yellow.  Another example of her love shown for him.

Funny how something like Skittles can lead to such sweet, unexpected memories. 

Hair and Fur

Aaron was in the kitchen chattering with me as I fixed supper awhile ago.  He saw me put corn on the cob on the counter, walked over and looked at it and said, “Mom, why does that corn have hair on it?”  HaHa!  The world through Aaron’s eyes!

Funny, though………last week he was talking about his legs having fur.  Now he says that corn on the cob has hair.  Is he confused or what?!

Mouthwash

Oral hygiene can be an issue with Aaron.  Not can be – it IS an issue with Aaron.  Some of his meds over the years have made his gums swell at times, for instance.  His lack of fine motor skills and manual dexterity make even brushing his teeth difficult for him.  Also, he thinks that the harder he brushes then the cleaner his teeth will be, so his gums suffer from being brushed too hard.  Don’t even get me started on the difficulty with flossing!  Even the taste of toothpaste, too, has been an issue with him over the years.

So when his hygienist told us a few months ago that Aaron should start using mouth wash to assist in his oral health, I was very skeptical that he would agree to it once he tasted it.  Even opening the bottle on the Scope I bought has been a nightmare.  The lid has to be squeezed and then turned. This was amazingly difficult for Aaron to accomplish because of his motor skills issues.  You just had to have been there to see me trying to show him how to do it.  Now he just grabs the bottle and uses brute force to open it, then laughs like he’s just killed a  mammoth for dinner! 

But he IS using the mouthwash every night, for which I’m very grateful and surprised.  He came downstairs some time back, though, and said, “Mom, that stuff I have to use in my mouth at night is very SPICY!!”   You know, I guess spicy describes it very well. 

But I thought for sure I bought the mint flavored, not the chipotle. 

Aaron’s Descriptions

Aaron has some very unique and sometimes comical ways of describing things.  Some of his word pictures are really very sensible.  The other day we were outside with our Great Dane and Aaron said, “Mom, Jackson doesn’t like those pointy things on a pine tree in a V section.” 

Those WHAT??!!

And he repeated, “Those pointy things on a pine tree in a V section.” 

He could see that I was still clueless, so he showed me:

PINE NEEDLES!!!!!

Lessons From the Dead Bugs

We soon learned after we bought this house 12 years ago that along with the house came some unusual bugs. Well, unusual to us since we had never lived with this particular species before that we know of. As our first summer here began to unfold, I did some research and found out that these are very common Box Elder Bugs. They are black and grey with a splash of red. Box Elders proliferate like crazy so as the weeks of summer go by, the number of bugs increases dramatically. These bugs live very comfortably in the dryness and heat of a Kansas summer, so this year they’ve done particularly well. They thrive in our front flower beds among the mulch and down in the dead leaves that hide behind the landscape bricks. And they totally love our Golden Rain Tree right outside the front yard. Thankfully, Box Elder Bugs don’t bite, sting, fly annoyingly around our heads, or eat our flowers. However, they ARE annoying simply by their sheer number. Hundreds and hundreds of them congregate on the sidewalk, porch, tree, flower beds, front door – you get the picture. They even climb my legs while I water or weed the flowers, and in my book that’s beyond annoying.

  So I bought the spray. Gary and I hesitate to use poison but desperate times require desperate measures! Gary did the spraying one evening after supper, and the next day when I went outside to water I was amazed at the spray’s effectiveness. Where yesterday there had been hundreds of active Box Elder Bugs, today there was stillness. I have to say that I was happy with each little dead bug body that I saw laying on the ground or on the porch. As I watered the Impatiens under the Golden Rain Tree I was surprised at the hundreds of dead bugs laying on the ground around the tree trunk. Piles of bugs lay there, poisoned and dead, totally ineffective after the poison hit their bodies.

This scene brought to my mind a very uncomfortable truth. I thought of the hundreds of people that come across my path. Some of them I don’t know at all; some are mere acquaintances; some are casual friends; some are dear friends; some are family. How many times have I damaged someone by the words that I say? Are my words like the poison that killed the Box Elder Bugs, full of bitterness or hatefulness? Am I irritated with the receptionist at the doctor’s office, silent with the stressed Wal-Mart cashier, or hesitant to take the time to talk to a lonely customer that tries to engage me in conversation in the store aisle? Do I gossip with my friends or speak words of bitterness that allows others to continue in their own hurts and frustrations instead of moving beyond the hurt and growing into Christlikeness? Do I encourage those that are tired or do I drag them down with my own issues? As I open my mouth every day, will I spray poison with my words or will I edify and bless? When I look around at the effect I’ve had on others, will I see dead and lifeless bodies laying on the ground? Or will I see the light of hope and blessing in people’s lives because of the words that I have spoken? Paul said in Ephesians 4:29 to “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Oh Lord, may my words today and every day bring hope and blessing instead of poison and death!

Aaron and HIS Weight

Those of you who have followed my life with Aaron on Facebook for awhile know that he often talks about his weight.  He asks – a lot – if I think he’s losing weight.  One of his “famous” sayings from a long time ago was, “Mom, do you think I’m almost losing weight?”   Well, now, how am I supposed to know if you’re ALMOST losing weight?  But when I posted this, many of us girls decided that this would be our new mantra.    [How’s the weight loss going?  You know, I’m almost losing weight!!  Yep, almost there – almost losing that weight!]   Sigh…………..story of my life…………..ALMOST losing weight!

Aaron’s conversation with me today was so typical of him.  He came bounding in the house after his group dropped him off and began immediately telling me about his day.  It went like this:
       
“Mom, I went to Quik Trip and you know those Corn Dogs?  Well, I bought four Corn Dogs.  Then I got a Slushee………..a number 52.”    (Does he mean a 52 ounce?  Do they even sell 52 ounce drinks?  Maybe a 32?  Who knows?)     Continuing:

“The Corn Dogs came to $5.00.  With the Slushee it became $5.63.  Is it good that I bought Corn Dogs instead of candy?”    (Well……..sort of………….but FOUR Corn Dogs?!)
    
“So, Mom, do you think I’m losing weight?”    (It’s really hard to tell right now, Aaron.)

“Hey, Mom, can I have some of that vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce on top?” 

 Me:  “No, Aaron, not after FOUR Corn Dogs, plus a number 52 Slushee.  And all that ice cream with chocolate sauce won’t help you lose weight!” 

Aaron:  “Oh.  Do you think I’m losing weight?”

Round and around and around he goes………………and where his weight will be, nobody knows!