Heading Into the Fog

I set out on Monday morning for the last day of the Bible study that I have been taking this winter. It was a very foggy morning. As I turned down 151st street, near my home, this is what I saw ahead.

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Later, as I sat with several other precious women around a table in a beautiful conference room, we shared with each other what we feel that God is laying on our hearts as our divine burden. It was a sweet time as we bared our hearts to each other, many times with tears, of what God has impressed upon us to be or to do. A common element among us was the fact that we have a burden…..perhaps a calling…..but we don’t know where it will lead.

“I don’t know what God will do with this.”

“I don’t know how God will use this.”

“I don’t know where to begin.”

Make no mistake about it, when God calls a person to a task, He will lead the way. But He doesn’t often, if at all, open every door all at once. Our job is to obey, step by step and day by day. Just obey.

To obey when the way ahead is murky and uncertain.

Like Abraham…..called from Ur of the Chaldeas, of all places. Called because he was faithful to God. Not called because He was so amazing or gifted, but called because he was a man of faithful obedience to God. “You found his heart faithful before you,” Nehemiah said of Abraham.

So there we have our first directive. Be faithful in obedience to God.

That’s a big step in the right direction.

Finding God’s will for your life isn’t some huge, mysterious undertaking. It’s not getting up every day hoping that you do something that will somehow reveal God’s will for you.

“Finding” God’s will is simply doing God’s will for you, which means faithful obedience to the directives given to us in His Word, day by day.

So that’s what Abraham did, too. He set out to follow God from Ur to…..he had no idea where. He just knew that God said, “Come.” And so he did. He went with God, not knowing where.

Humanly speaking, that’s pretty scary stuff. We want to know where we’re going…..how we’re getting there….how long it will take…..will I be taken care of……what happens after I get there.

We set out on the path of obedience and we watch God open doors….shut doors….redirect…..

And sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s pure joy and peace. Sometimes it’s fearful and full of questions. But in the end we can be just like Abraham, who by the way wasn’t perfect and had tons of failures along this journey that God led him. Nehemiah also said, speaking of God calling Abraham, “And You have fulfilled Your promise, for You are righteous.”

God didn’t fulfill His promise to Abraham because of anything worthy that Abraham had done. God fulfilled His promise because HE is faithful to do what He has promised.

Often, God’s calling in our lives is to endure very hard trials. It’s not to be something or do something that will command great respect and attention. Instead, God may want me to endure suffering that will point me and hopefully others to Christ.

Whatever God wants me to do doesn’t depend on me at all, except for my obedience. I don’t need to feel worthy enough or important enough or smart enough or capable enough. God will be all those things for me.

As I head into the fog of the unknown, in obedience, I will begin to see some things clearly. One step at a time the way will be made known. And one day my view will be the same as my view on that road near my home later that afternoon.

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“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day.” (Proverbs 4:18)

 

My Faith Looks Up to Thee

 

While life’s dark maze I tread,

And griefs around me spread,

Be Thou my guide.

Bid darkness turn to day,

Wipe sorrow’s tears away,

Nor let me ever stray,

From Thee aside.

 

 

 

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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Choosing My Focus

A blog from three years ago that I needed to read again today. My early Saturday wake-up from Aaron today wasn’t because of seizures but because he drank too much water before bed last night, I guess. And I needed to remind myself to be thankful instead of frustrated as I carted his bedding downstairs on a morning when sleeping in was far preferred!

He Said What?!

I had my day all planned today, my to-do list made, and the order of that list firmly in my head.  Take Aaron to Paradigm, then the post office, return an item to Gordman’s, stop at the Vintage store to ask about milk paint, run quickly into Dillon’s, probably get gas, home for a quick lunch and indoor straightening, and then outside into this upcoming warm afternoon where I was looking forward to some leaf raking out of our drainage ditches and picking up branches and maybe pine cones and cleaning off the front porch and vacuuming out the van……whew!…..and pick up Aaron and home to make supper and then Wheel of Fortune and ironing and then bedtime before I know it. 

There.

What I wanted to get done today is based on what I need to get done tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. 

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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!

 

The Nightie……..Retold

 

While in Wal-Mart the other day, I noticed that they are in full Valentine’s Day mode.  Candy, cards, flowers, clothing………..which sends a little shiver up my spine.  Not because I’m so wild about all the Valentine’s Day commercialism, but because of what happened when I was in Wal-Mart with Aaron several years ago.  I decided to share this story again because I realize that many of you haven’t read about that little incident.  Plus it’s good therapy for me to write about it……to let it out.  I’m actually not in therapy, but after reading this story you may think that I should be.

 

Aaron and I did our typical entrance into Wal-Mart on that particular day…….which means that Aaron stopped dead in his tracks in the middle of the crossing as we headed to the entrance.  He then held out both arms, like a policeman stopping traffic, which garnered all sorts of attention and stares.  I told him to stop like I always did, and he told me that he just wanted to be sure the cars stopped, like he always did.

 

Once in the store entrance, while I got a cart, I looked over and saw Aaron staring up at the security camera.  He had a huge smile on his face and was flashing the peace sign with both hands, while I’m sure the security personnel were busily trying to ascertain Aaron’s threat level.  Oh brother.  I whisked him on into the store, where I gave him the list of do’s and don’ts as he decided to head by himself to the video section.  It was mostly don’ts.

 

Aaron, don’t make the passing gas sound.  And you know why.  People think it’s you passing gas for real, or worse yet, when I’m with you they think it’s ME.  No, it’s not funny.

 

And no fox whistles.  That could get you in some trouble with boyfriends and husbands.

 

And lastly, as he took off down the aisle, I told him not to run.  There he went, walking briskly with both arms swinging furiously and his rear end swaying back and forth.  Quite a sight.

 

I picked up a few things and then headed over to electronics to pick up Aaron.  He was going with me to the grocery section.  I saw him looking at videos, and after a brief look at whatever new movie he wanted, I took off down the center aisle with Aaron close behind.   I wasn’t paying much attention to what was displayed beside us as we walked………right there on the side of that main aisle.

 

Valentine nighties.  Lots and lots of little nighties.  Red ones……black ones…….animal print ones.  Some with feathers, even, and others with sequins.  My internal alarms should have gone off.  You see, Aaron is attracted to the unusual……..and these tiny nighties were most unusual to him.  But no, I was focusing on peanut butter and tea bags and frozen mixed vegetables…….not on little, very interesting Valentine nighties.

 

But Aaron noticed them.  Oh yes, he did!  Something else I didn’t notice was that Aaron had lagged behind me……..quite a ways behind me.  Suddenly I heard his unmistakable loud voice saying, “MOM!”

 

I turned around in the middle of that very wide aisle full of very many people…….and there stood Aaron, a huge smile on his face……..and holding up a little tiger print nightie.  A very tiny tiger print nightie.  Things seemed in slow motion from that point forward.

 

“MOM!” he repeated.  “YOU NEED THIS!!!!”

 

I just stood there, sure that most of the people passing me were thinking, “No, young man.  Your mom does NOT need that.”

 

I wished that I was Korah.  You remember Korah, of Old Testament fame, who sinned against God and was swallowed up by the earth as punishment.  I would have welcomed that.

 

But there was no escaping my large, very happy Aaron standing there holding this unique very tiny tiger nightie way up high for me and all the other hundreds of people there to see.  OK, there weren’t hundreds but I sure felt like there were.  What could I do but tell him to hang it up, and turn and walk once again toward the groceries?  I couldn’t wait to stick my head in amongst the frozen vegetables to cool my flaming face.

 

Aaron couldn’t understand my embarrassment at all.  He thought that this was a very funny moment but not awkward.  Why wouldn’t mom want to look at this cool tiger print little thing?  I just told him to trust me on this, and I was very thankful when we were headed home.

 

No way was I going to tell him that I liked the red one with the feathers better.

 

MERCY!! AARON!!

I’m a southern girl.  Well, from southern West Virginia – born and bred – so no matter what the Civil War folks say about my home state, I still consider myself to be from the south.

I guess that’s why sometimes I just want to look at Aaron when he’s being a particular form of disagreeable and just say, “MERCY!!  AARON!!”

And then tell him that he just needs to hush!!

When I talk to Andrea or Andrew on the phone, Aaron invariably barges in the room and wants to talk.  This happened on Saturday evening as Andrea and I were gabbing away.  I knew Aaron would persist until I caved, so I finally put the phone on speaker and off Aaron went.

He was particularly fixated on Luigi’s Mansion 3 – his newest Nintendo Switch game.  And he was even more fixated on going over Luigi and Gooigi.  I think I spelled that right.

He wanted Andrea to know who Gooigi is.  What Gooigi is made of.  What color Gooigi is.  What Gooigi looks like.  What Gooigi does.

Andrea, ever patient with her brother, commented on everything Aaron said.  She even asked questions…good questions…which fanned Aaron’s flames and off he blazed.

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.

It took me awhile to put out the flames.  I usually have to end the talking by telling Aaron to say goodbye, after he has pushed me away several times from taking back the phone.

Never once does he ask about Andrea or Kyle, or Darcy or Oakley or Aries or Siggy…all dogs, by the way.  😊

For some reason on Sunday evening, Aaron kept referring to that phone call.  He declared that I only wanted to talk to Andrea…that I never talk to him (REALLY??!!)…that I would hardly let him talk to her…and so forth and so on.

Everything is bad to Aaron when he gets like this, including the fact that I am a bad mom.  I eventually shut down when this happens, meaning that I do not fan the flames of Aaron’s anger by things I say.  Even my eyes – “Don’t squint your eyes, MOM!!”…or my voice inflections, can increase his anger.

Nothing that I say helps.  Nothing that Gary says helps.

Aaron’s lack of empathy and his inability to connect the dots like we do is a most frustrating part of his autism.

The next morning, weary and bothered, I thought of how my friend – a manager at Aaron’s day group – deals with these issues on the day after they occur.  Aaron often doesn’t want to go to Paradigm on that “next day” after he has blown it, but Barb always reminds him of an important truth.

“It’s a new day, Aaron,” she says.  “We just start all over and don’t let yesterday bother us.”

Thinking of that…of a new day…reminded me also of the wonderful promise in Lamentations 3:22-23:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

God’s love and mercy to me, no matter how much I sin, is new every morning.  And I know that I must also face every new morning with Aaron in the light of God’s loving-kindness to me.

If God is so loving and kind to me, how can I be any less to Aaron?

That next morning was still a little rough on Aaron’s part.  And then when I picked him up in the afternoon, as I watched him approach the van, I saw him stop and turn, running back into the building.

He returned, holding a paper that blew in the wind as he ran toward me again, his face all smiles.

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“MOM!!” he said as he got in the van.  “I colored this for you!”

With great delight he handed me this picture:

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I was so touched.  So amazed.

Amazed that Aaron sat still long enough to color.

Touched that he wanted to mend our fences in such a sweet way.

And both amazed and touched that it was a cross he colored for me.

You see, it’s because of the cross that I can even begin to love Aaron as I should, especially when he is at times so unlovable.

It’s because Jesus died for me, and because He is my Savior, that I AM loved and that I CAN love.

And I love how the old King James Version says that verse I wrote earlier.  “It is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.”

I am not consumed by hatred and sin or God’s judgment, but only because of God’s love and mercy.

Love and mercies that are new every morning.

Like I said, how can I love Aaron any less when I am so loved by God?

One more thing.  The cross is also the reason that I can bear the sadness and fear of Aaron’s 3:00 a.m. seizure today, and another one later.  The reason I can see him sleeping again now and know he may likely seize again.

The reason I can bear up under the disappointment of our doctor day being canceled…because doctor day means, to Aaron, eating out day.  And he does LOVE eating out!  It’s always a fun and happy day, but not today.

Aaron goes through these disappointments and rough days often, which means I do as well.

But like the verses above said, great is God’s faithfulness.  He doesn’t leave me to handle it all alone.  He is right beside me, my best friend, with His mercies and love that give me His peace that passes understanding.

Speaking of understanding, I won’t even go into all the detail of having to wash Aaron’s favorite fuzzy blanket today because he spilled coffee on it…and how it’s the only blanket that he wants to use on his lap when he’s at his desk…or on the couch.

About trying other blankets.

Rejecting those blankets.

Checking his blanket in the wash.

Observing me putting it in the dryer.

Following me around the house because without a blanket he can’t sit or lay.

MERCY!!!   AARON!!!