Friday, September 28, 2012

Aaron's Confusing Night

I’ve written before about how Aaron likes to keep lists of things in his life.  He has a list of the times he watches programs that he has recorded.  He keeps all sorts of sticky note lists around his room with info regarding his games.  But perhaps the most interesting itemizing that he does is the very precise list he keeps of when he goes to bed and when he gets up.  He has pages and pages of this information, somehow necessary to him and very important. 

Aaron arranges his bed in a specific order every night, too.  He sits up and reads one of his Handy Answer Books every night before bed.  He wears his sweater along with either his long or short pajamas.  He wears his watch and ring, as well as his glasses.  He leans on his “husband” pillow, the new black fuzzy one that he recently got at Target when he went in search of Mike and Ikes.  On his lap is another pillow on which he rests his book.  At his feet is his long body pillow that he sleeps on during the night.  Beside him he places his back scratcher as well as the little towel he constantly carries……..the one he wipes his hands on when he feels like they are messy……..because he can’t abide having messy hands. 

He will read awhile, depending on how sleepy he is, and then when it’s time for bed he will get up and clean off his bed, putting everything back in its precise place.  He’ll place his long pillow on the bed where it belongs for him to use during the night, with the zipper always on the left side.  Always!   He’ll remove his ring and his glasses and his sweater, also putting them in their proper spots.  He’ll plug in the baby monitor so that we can hear him in our bedroom if he has a seizure.  And just before he climbs into his bed, he will open his notebook to write down the exact time that he is going to now turn off the light and call it a night.  The first thing he does the following morning is to open that same notebook that he keeps by his bed and write down the precise time that he wakes up.  This is Aaron’s routine.  Every.  Single.  Night.    Every.  Single.  Day.

Except for last night, a night which was very different.  Aaron came striding into my bathroom this morning as I was getting ready to dry my hair.  “Mom!  Guess what happened last night?”   I asked him to tell me what happened………..he would anyway………..and he continued, “Well, I was reading before bed and then I woke up at 3:33!”

You did?!  “Yes!  And you know what?!” 

What?!   “I had all my stuff on and everything was still around me!  I had on my glasses and my ring and my watch and my sweater!”   With this, Aaron began to laugh.  He thought this was all just too funny.  He went on, “Around me there was my pillow that I lean on and my pillow on my lap and my pillow at my feet and my towel and my back scratcher!!”  And he laughed even harder, which made me laugh.  He had fallen asleep while reading and then woke up to this unusual scene.  He said, “I woke up because something was poking me in my back!  It was my back scratcher!”   More laughter………..from both of us.

I asked him what he did, and he told me, “I got up and I took off my ring and my watch and my glasses.  I cleaned off the bed, and then I laid down and went back to sleep.  That was funny, Mom!  I had everything on and everything around me!”

He was still amazed at this situation and still laughing, when it hit me.  I wondered about his notebook, so I asked him what time he wrote down for when he went to bed and when he got up.  He told me that he wrote down the first time he got up……3:33…… well as the second time he got up, at 8:12.  Later, after he was gone for the day, I opened his notebook and sure enough, there it was……..both times.  I’m not sure about the going-to-bed times, but he did write down the two times that he got up.

Aaron is so interesting!  If he gets out of bed after sleeping, he will write that time down……..because he MUST!  After all, he has a list and this is the order of that list.  Aaron explained the situation very well, though.  We were on our way to meet his group and he once again was talking about his strange night.  “Mom, last night was very confusing!”

Yes, it was confusing, Aaron.  And to our Aaron, confusing is unacceptable……..and sometimes very funny! 








Thursday, September 27, 2012


War:  A struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end

According to the above definition, Aaron and I are in a state of war.  We are actually in a state of war on two fronts.  One front has been ongoing for a long time............the other is fairly new, but escalated today.

Moore War One:  The Fan Wars

Aaron has a tendency to get hot.  Not hot as in angry......well, sometimes he does do that.......but hot as in just sweaty hot.  Yuck!  Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that he often has his fuzzy blanket thrown over his lap as he sits at his desk and is on his computer.  And under that blanket may very well be long pajama pants, slipper socks AND slippers, and even a long sleeved shirt.  Never mind that we've told him time and again that he is way overdressed.  This is how he seems to be comfortable and if Aaron is comfortable then there is a slim-to-none chance that he will change what he is doing.

Aaron's solution to being hot isn't to dress lighter, although at times he does put on shorts along with a cooler shirt.........while still using that fuzzy blanket.  His solution is to turn on his ceiling fan, no matter what time of year it is.  The whirring of his ceiling fan is a very common sound upstairs where his bedroom is located.

A year or two ago I bought him a little portable fan to put on his bookcase beside his desk.  I showed him how this fan could be used to blow on him and keep him from being so hot.  I thought that this was a great idea and was sure that Aaron would agree.  I should have known better.  Before long, we noticed that the fan was positioned to blow directly on Aaron's computer...........not on Aaron himself.  So I moved the fan back to the blowing-on-Aaron position......only to walk in later and find it in the blowing-on-the-computer position.

When questioned, Aaron told us that his computer gets hot and so he uses his nice, new portable fan to blow on his computer in order to cool it down.  No amount of persuasion, pleading, demanding, or scientific data showing otherwise has caused Aaron to budge on this issue.  He is sure that his computer is too hot and that it needs the constant blowing of his fan in order to cool down and not explode, I guess.  Aaron keeps his ceiling fan on for himself, and has changed his little blowing-on-Aaron fan into a blowing-on-the-computer fan.

He also thinks that these fans need to be running constantly.  I do not agree.  When we leave the house, I always tell Aaron to turn his fans off.  And sure enough, sneaky Aaron will somehow manage on many mornings to keep those fans turned he did today.  Sometimes he'll even go back into the house under the guise of getting something or doing something - but in reality he is sneaking back upstairs to turn those fans on.

So the Fan Wars continue and will for the foreseeable future, I'm sure.

Moore War Two:  The Body Wash Wars

Do you remember Aaron's body wash that he said contained confetti?  Well, he threw it away one day because he said it was empty.  I rescued it from the trash because it was by NO means nearly empty.  When turned upside down, there were days and days of future showers in that bottle.  Listen, I am the woman who cuts open plastic bottles in order to use all the remaining face wash or lotion or other such things that are in there........days and days of face washes and lotions I have found inside those bottles!  So no way was I letting Aaron throw away days and days worth of his confetti body wash!

Aaron does not have my thrifty nature.  He also does not seem to appreciate upside down bottles.  He has refused to use the body wash that has gathered in the upside down bottle.  I have persevered, though, even while he got under his sink and pulled out a full, new bottle of a different brand of body wash.  He has used this entire bottle, even while the confetti body wash has remained there, upside down and untouched.

This morning Aaron came into my bathroom and said, "Mom, I threw out those hair detergent things.  When I turned it up and squeezed, it made an air sound."

Now notice that Aaron said he threw away those hair detergent things.......plural.  But then he referred to the air sound as coming from only one bottle.  Uh-huh.  He took the opportunity of having one empty bottle as a chance to throw both bottles away.  Who does he think he's dealing with?  An amateur?  No way!

After I got home from taking him to his group, and had turned his fans off, I checked his bathroom trash can.  Yes, I knew it!  He had thrown away his upside down confetti body wash that still has days and days of showers left.  Now that bottle of confetti body wash is perched upside down once again in his shower.  I am not easily defeated.

Problem is, neither is Aaron.  Things could get hot around here!  Wonder if he'd let me borrow his little fan?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

God is Great........God is Good

Last night I enjoyed a beautiful light and sound show, thanks to our great Creator God.  Just as we were turning in for the night, a pretty significant Kansas storm was cranking up.  Aaron loves storms, and so he was getting all ready to sink into his covers and watch the lightning through his windows that he faces from his bed.  Of course, that was after he made sure that all of his covers were just right and that his clock that was flashing from a previous short power outage was reset – using my cell phone as his reference point since his portable digital clock is broken.  I hoped he was settled as I finally made my way to bed.

I’m sleeping in Andrea’s former room right now due to a shoulder injury that causes much tossing and turning on my part, along with pillows and grunts and groans that I feel will bother Gary.  The windows in Andrea’s room face the direction from which the storm was coming, and it’s upstairs so the open, rural view is perfect.  The blinds were staying up so that I would have a perfect, unimpeded view of the storm.  I knew exactly what I was going to do as I climbed into bed and turned the nightstand lamp off.  Worship.  And rest in God’s greatness and power on full display outside.

Several years ago, Gary and I were going through a particularly trying time in our lives.  I had been praying for Gary in specific ways as he faced certain stresses and frustrations that were weighing him down.  As I prayed for him, though, I didn’t really know what to pray for.  I just knew that I needed to pray for God to do a work in his life and in our lives together.  God did just that.  He answered my prayer……but not in the way that I would ever have expected, and definitely not in a way I would have wanted.   God moved in a way that caused much personal pain for both of us over a period of many months, and still continues somewhat today.  Yet through that rough time, God showed us more than we could have imagined.  He proved Himself faithful, and He caused us to grow in our walk with Him and in our relationship to each other, to our children, and to our dear family and friends. 

Gary and I had gone to Missouri one weekend to spend some time with Andrew at a racing event.  On that Saturday morning in our hotel room, while Gary did some studying for his Sunday School lesson, I opened my Bible randomly and looked down at Isaiah 40.  I began to read that chapter as well as the next one, and was overwhelmed with the reminder of just Who God is.  God was speaking to Israel, but the concepts of His greatness and power apply to all of us today as well. 

Reading about the pure power of God in creation had a profound impact on me as I sat on that hotel bed.  This God of mine holds the oceans in His hand!  Imagine that!  He measures the universe with the span of His hand!  He weighs the mountains!  He sits above the circle of the earth, and stretches out the heavens like a curtain!  He calls each star by name!  And to Him, we are like little grasshoppers; nations are like a drop in a bucket or like a speck of dust on the scales; rulers come and go at His command.  I could go on and on from these two chapters in Isaiah that spell out God’s might and our insignificance.  What really struck me was this thought:  How can I doubt God’s ability to handle my life, Gary’s life, or our children’s lives when I catch a glimpse of His unbelievable power and strength?  How can I question whether he can arrange our lives when I just read about how he arranged universes? 

When I pray with my eyes on my problems, then certainly I pray in my own weakness.  But when I pray with my eyes on this God of the universe, then certainly I pray in His strength.  And in that strength I can rest, knowing full well that He can absolutely do anything and everything.  When I think in my heart, “Well, I don’t know how on earth God can manage to do this thing that I’m praying about,”  then I am relying on my own power…………and I have none.  It’s good for me to return often to Isaiah 40 and 41, and to be reminded of just Whom I am praying to and relying upon. 

God does things that I don’t understand.  In these Isaiah verses, He also asks this question:  Who has directed or counseled or taught God?  No one has done those things!  Who could ever teach this great God?  Yet there are times that I try to take that place in this life and figure things out……make sense of situations……give God ideas of how to work, all the while wondering if He can really do those things for me. 

I don’t know why God made Aaron to have Epilepsy and Autism.  I don’t know if Aaron was born that way……don’t know if it’s genetic………..don’t know about the vaccine connection or not.  But I do know my wonderful God………the God that I worshipped last night as I was nearly blinded by His fantastic light show.  I know that He is sovereign and perfect, and that I can trust His plan for me and for Gary and for our Aaron.  I know that He will take care of Andrea in grad school and of Andrew in his senior year of college. 

God is great……..I am not.  That’s the bottom line.  God loves me and He loves my family.  These Isaiah verses also state that He does not become weary or tired; that His understanding is unsearchable; that He gives strength; that He will uphold; and that He doesn’t want me to look anxiously about me. 

I relished the time with Him last night, being reminded of His power with every dazzling flash of lightning and every boom of thunder.  I felt small and overwhelmed………but so protected by this all powerful God Who loves me with a fierce love.  He can do anything and everything.  He wants my time and my obedience and my trust. 

Everything else He can handle just fine.  

Monday, September 24, 2012


Gary and I heard Aaron clomping down the stairs before 7:30 this morning.  Now that's unusual!  On most weekdays I have to wake him up in order for him to have time to get ready for his group.  Soon he was clomping back up the stairs and up the hall, where he stood at our bedroom door that was locked........because Aaron never knocks.......and he stood there saying, "Mom?  Mom?"  Gary told him that I would be out soon, so down the stairs he once again lumbered to wait on his slow mom.

I found him in the kitchen and as usual, there was no greeting when I walked in and said, "Good morning, Aaron!"   Instead he immediately launched into what is important to him........which is him.

"Mom!  I got up at 7:12!"   He paused for me to show my certain interest in this fact, so I did.......... because if I don't then he will repeat the fact that he got up at 7:12 until I do show my interest.

It was now around 7:30 and he had waited all that time to share this news with me.  I responded, "Wow, Aaron, that's early for you!"

And with a big sigh, he said, "Yeah.   I'm tired of this day."

Ah, yes Aaron.  There are many of your fellow humans out there who got up way before 7:12 (me included) on this Monday and who by 7:30 are also saying, "I'm tired of this day."

Keep your chins up, everyone!  It's just another Monday!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Walking With Aaron

Aaron wanted us to take a walk around our circle today with Jackson, our Great Dane.  Since I am wearing a sling from an injury, I was hesitant to take our 200 pound doggie.  Besides, Jackson had already been outside with Gary, Aaron, and me - so I convinced Aaron to be happy to just take a walk with me.  And he was happy - he loves to take these walks.............and talk............a lot, as always.  I thought you might want to join us tonight.

Aaron had already changed into his shorts and shirt that he wears to bed and was willing to put his normal clothes back on - except that they were in the washing machine already.  I told him to just come as he was since those clothes don't really look like pajamas.  He was all about not having to change clothes again!  We set out on our walk and he immediately started talking about our neighbor's back patio and how he'd like to go back there to look at it.

No, Aaron, you can't go into their yard unless you're invited.

A couple houses away found him trying to reach up and pick an acorn out of a front yard tree.  Aaron, I've told you not to touch any one's trees......or bushes.......or grass.......or flowers.   Or mailboxes, Aaron - do not open their mailbox!  Here, just walk on this other side of me..........away from the trees and bushes and grass and flowers and mailboxes that don't belong to you.

Aaron, don't point at the pretty yellow roses.  I know you like them but don't point.  Why?  Because people will wonder why you're pointing at their house.

Ssshhhh, Aaron.  Don't talk so loud.  Yes, that's the house that had a fire last year.  "Mom, do the same kind of people live there?"

Uh, yeah Aaron........the same people live there again.  And no, I don't know how the fire started and yes, they still have a sign on their door and no, we are not going to go up and read the sign on their door.

We stopped and listened to the aspen trees in the field as the wind blew the leaves in that pretty little rustling way that they blow.  I like to draw Aaron's attention to these details because they interest him.......but soon he's on his way, looking both down at the road for something to pick up and examine, and looking around him for something else to talk about.  There's always much of the same, and occasionally something new.

Yes, Aaron, those evergreens have funny little seed things on their tips, don't they?  And yes, those are hedge apples in that yard.  "Mom, they look like brains!"  Yes, they do, Aaron.............and no, you cannot go in their yard to get one.

"Mom, look at that fishing boat!"   Aaron, don't point.  "So when do they go fishing?  In the afternoon?  Isn't it getting too cold?  Why do they have a boat in the cold?"

Aaron, quit barking at those dogs.  I know they're barking...........they're dogs.  You're not.

And our neighbor was walking out to put something in her trash cans, so we stopped to talk to her.  Of course, Aaron reached over and pulled the end off of one of her tall decorative grass plants.  Aaron!  But Cheryl said it was OK, and Aaron was very pleased.  He had wanted to pull one of those for a long, long time.  Cheryl walked with us for a few minutes.  Before she left, she had heard about Paradigm, EEGs, Cellulitis, and I don't remember what else.  Somehow she and I managed to get a few words in edgewise, as well.

I heard about the show he watched on the Sci-Fi channel earlier in the day........about the old-time dentists and their weapons that they used to pull teeth.  Weapons?  That was probably an accurate description.  He told me about how he had a stick one day when he was out with his group and how he poked Rosie in the butt.  I told him that it was very wrong to hit anyone............and besides, I thought he was always nice to Rosie.  "Mom, I didn't hit Rosie.  I poked her."   So we discussed hitting and poking and besides, you should never hit anyone there...........especially not a girl.  "But she knows I like her, Mom!"

Oh, Aaron...........who likes to poke and whack and pinch and thump on our heads............and point and touch and pull and examine.............because he likes to do these things...........and because he does like us.  Some days more than others, and today was one of those days.

It's fun to walk with listen to him talk and talk and enter into his world.  I just have to work hard to keep him from entering everyone else's world as we do our walking!  Stay out of that yard, Aaron!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gotta Laugh - A Lot!

You may wonder how I remember all the comments that Aaron makes.  Well, I scribble things on post-it notes; or in a little notebook that I keep in my purse; or on my tablet; or on any piece of paper that I can quickly grab if I have nothing else and must write quickly in order to keep from forgetting.  I have quite a collection - and this is after all the blogs I've written.  I remove his sayings that I write about........and you should see all the ones I still have that are waiting to be told.  Therefore, I thought that I'd just randomly tell you a few of his spur-of-the-moment remarks so that I can remove some from my list or throw away a few sticky notes..........and hopefully give you a reason to smile or maybe laugh.

Aaron's internet was messed up some time back.  He had to wait for Gary to fix it.  Aaron's way to explain this situation:  "Mom, my internet crashed down."    Hope you were able to move out of the way, Aaron.

While he waited for our new grass to sprout out back:  "Mom, has any grass formed?"

He's hot natured, but sometimes still goes to bed with tons of covers and even a sweater.  One morning I was lamenting the fact that his pillow was sweaty and he said, "Mom, my hair gets hot!"

My dad was color blind and so is Aaron.  One day he was talking about his own color blindness and said, "Mom, do you think I've taken over Granddaddy's section?"

One day after a trip out to the mall with Paradigm, he was very interested in the blind man that he saw.  "Mom!  I saw this blind man and he was wearing a stick!"

The scented oil warmer in his room dried up and so Aaron asked, "Mom, can I have a good smell thing in my room?"

Today he was telling me about his friend at Paradigm.  "Mom, J's father is handicapped.  J has to help him with things.  I didn't go too far and ask him if he helps his dad go to the bathroom.  That would have been too far, right?"     Yes!  That would have been way too far, Aaron.

He has a friend in his day group, a girl, with whom he teases........a lot.  I think sometimes things get a little carried away, but they don't seem to get mad at each other.  Tonight he said, "Mom, if T calls me names........I mean bad word names..........I say, 'Good, I'm glad to.' "    Oh brother.  His response may not always be the best thing to say at all............but I am NOT explaining that to him.  Gary can.

And finally, one of my very favorites of all time was when he told me about going up the escalator in the mall with Cody, one of his favorite staff.  I didn't ask Cody about this story but here is Aaron's version:   "Mom!  Cody and I were going up the escalator at the mall.  I pulled this thing and I heard alarms!"    Good grief, Aaron!  Did you really?

"Yeah, I pulled this thing.  It said something on it."


He replied,  "Not to."

HaHaHaHa!!  I can laugh because I wasn't there.

And I hope these little snippets have made you laugh or at least smile.  And I've marked a few things off of my "Aaron's comments"  list.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wednesday on a Tuesday?!

Aaron has a pill box that I refill every Saturday night or Sunday morning.  On Sunday I spilled part of a drink on top of his pill box when it was full, naturally.  Some of the drink got into two of the full pill sections, so I had to throw those pills out.  The inside of those sections is a mess, so I decided to just buy a new pill box the next time I'm at Wal-Mart.  In the meantime, those two sections of pills are now empty.  The order is messed up on Aaron's pill box.  You know where I'm going with this.

This morning, Aaron came straggling into the kitchen right after he got up.  He and I sat at the table while he finished waking up, with him telling me his usual morning story about how tired he is.  I was asking about what he wanted for breakfast after he showered, and then I told him that he could go ahead and take his pills.  The Tuesday morning section is empty now, so I told him that he could just take the Wednesday morning pills........and that I would straighten it all up as soon as I buy that new pill box.

Aaron sat there, staring down........deep in pondering thought.  Then he softly said, "I don't know."  Well, I knew exactly what he didn't know and why he didn't know it, but I wanted to see if I could get him to bend just a veer just a tad from his usual pill box order.  I set the box down in front of him, and pointed to the Wednesday morning section on this beautiful TUESDAY morning.  "See, Aaron?  You can just take the Wednesday morning pills.  They're just the same as the TUESDAY morning pills."

He continued to stare at the disorderly pill box.  Then he slowly shook his head, as he quietly said, "No."

"Why not, Aaron?" I asked.

And he answered patiently for his rather slow-witted mother, "Because it's not Wednesday."

I know defeat when I see it.  I got the pills down and refilled the TUESDAY morning section.  "Now will you take them?"  I queried.

He brightened.  "Yes!"  he said.

What ever possessed me to think that on a TUESDAY morning Aaron could possibly take the WEDNESDAY morning pills?

Aaron is not Gumby.  He can only stretch so far in that orderly world of his.  You can't say I didn't try, though.  

Monday, September 17, 2012


This morning did not go as I had planned.  Maybe it's because I feel so tired.  I haven't slept well for several nights and don't know why.  We all do that at times.  And you know how those long nights are, when every little issue in life is magnified.  Nothing is horribly wrong, but even my to-do list seems overwhelming at one in the morning!  But all of this is an excuse, really, and I know it.

Aaron had a dental appointment this morning.  I looked forward to this being a morning of Aaron being in a compliant, happy mood because he would be looking forward to lunch and maybe a Wal-Mart trip.  Instead, I found Aaron down on my computer, looking up cheat codes for a game.  I fussed at him and he got off, but came up to my room wanting to know if I would print off some cheat codes for him.  He was carrying a large sheaf of stapled-together codes that he said a staff member at Paradigm had printed off for him.  It was very large - the number on the last sheet was 77!  And Aaron wanted me to print it off least that's what he said..........and so began the very frustrating process of trying to figure out the why and the what of Aaron's request.

Aaron couldn't explain to me exactly what it was he wanted me to print, even as I explained to him that I was not printing 77 pages - that he already had!  He began to escalate, and then hit my dresser with his fist as he walked out.  Thus ensued the fight - not physically, but verbally.  I was trying to understand what he wanted and at the same time calm him down, all the while feeling my tiredness and my exasperation mounting.  Soon I was yelling........and Aaron was yelling........and I yelled louder.........and Aaron responded likewise.  It was a lose-lose situation all the way around.  I backed off and walked away, taking a few minutes to calm down and then approaching Aaron again as he headed toward my room.  We came to an agreement..........more of a stalemate........and soon left for the dentist.  Both of us were quiet and rather depleted.  And I was feeling very guilty.

Aaron waited for me in the van as I put something in the mailbox, picked up the newspaper, and got the empty trash cans ready to roll back to the house.  I took a step or two and then saw it..........a weed growing up between a crack in our driveway.  What would have been an ugly weed, except for one thing.  Growing on that weed were such delicate little violet blooms that I had to stop in my tracks and stare down at it.  Those little blooms transformed that otherwise annoying weed into a soft spot of beauty on our driveway.  Instantly my heart was pricked.  My behavior with Aaron not an hour earlier was ugly and hateful.  I let my tiredness and my selfishness call the shots instead of letting the Holy Spirit empower me to respond to Aaron with love and kindness.

Out of my nasty behavior, I needed something soft and pretty to grow........something that only Christ could enable to bloom.  Forgiveness.  In particular, to BE forgiven by Aaron.  I've read and studied a lot about forgiveness over the past few years.  In fact, I just listened to some on-line lessons last week on this very subject.  I know quite a bit about the anatomy of extending forgiveness and being forgiven.  Could I practice this today?  With my child?  With Aaron?

I know that asking for true forgiveness means naming the sin you have committed, without making excuses for your behavior, and asking to be forgiven.  As Aaron and I ate lunch, I waited for him to pause in his monologue of the moment and then I said, "Aaron, I'm very sorry that I got so angry this morning.  I'm sorry I yelled and acted hateful to you."   Aaron looked at me, gave a little grunt, and stuffed more pizza into his mouth.  I continued, "So Aaron, will you forgive me?"  Another grunt.  And I repeated, "Will you forgive me?"  And he said, "Yeah.  Hey, did you know that I woke up at 8:33 but I stayed in bed, and then got up at 9:04?"

I chuckled.  This is as good as it will get with Aaron in the forgiveness department.  Oh, he heard me loud and clear...........and he registered every word that I said.  He may still call me weird, as he did earlier.......or maybe not.  He knows, though, that I am sorry.  He knows that I love him.  He knows that I am human........and weird sometimes.

And I know that a little flower began to bloom in my guilt-ridden heart.  For I had also asked God to forgive me and He did more than grunt.  He has given me assurances all over His Word that He is there, waiting with open arms to forgive...........and to forget!  I can't forget my behavior, but I pray that I will once again learn from my failure and grow in this issue of forgiveness.   Grow and from ashes, God says.

Just like my little driveway weed.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Type? What Time?

I just returned last night from a quick trip down to Fort Worth to see our daughter, Andrea, who is in her first year of grad school.  I dropped Aaron off to meet his group on Thursday morning, as usual.  I had prepared him for the fact that I was leaving for a couple of days and he was fine with that...........although I do think he was hoping that Dad was going, too, so then maybe Krysten could come over to stay with him.  That would mean pizza and movies and going out to eat.........but I reminded him that Dad is fun, too, and so he was agreeable.  He was his normal talkative self on the way to Quik Trip to meet his group.....talking about the bulls in the field:  "Look, Mom!  They're laying down!"  And the music on the CD we were listening to:  "Mom, I can tell that's jungle music because of the jungle instruments."  When I dropped him off, we said goodbye and then as he climbed into the van that Cody was driving, I said, "I love you, Aaron."  And Aaron mumbled, "Bye."  But no "I love you" in return.  I would have been shocked if he had responded any other way, though.  We may as well keep everything normal and usual.

Aaron called me the next morning in Texas.  I answered the call, knowing it was Aaron calling from home, and I greeted him warmly by saying, "Well, hi Aaron!"  And he said, "Mom, I got up at 9:11 and guess what? It's raining!"   No hello Mom or hey Mom or hi Mom.......not from Aaron.  He launches right into the topic at hand, which is about himself and involves what is important to him at the moment, which is what time he got up and the fact that it is raining...........he loves rain!

He continued with his conversation:  "Mom, when are you coming home?"  I told him that I would be home on Saturday afternoon or evening.  "So what time will you be home?"

Aaron, I don't know what time I"ll be home.

"Well, will it be raining when you get home?"

I don't know that either, Aaron.

"So you'll be home in the afternoon?"

Yes, Aaron.

"What type of afternoon will it be, then?  Will it be raining?"

I assured him that I had no idea what type of afternoon it would be.  There are some things we just can't lay out in advance, Aaron.

His call that evening was again about the rain and what he did at the mall the day before.   "Mom, I went to Auntie Anne's and got a #1 meal.  It's the unsalted pretzel and a drink........."    and he continued his rundown of his day as I hoped that he wouldn't ask again about what type of afternoon it would be when I came home on Saturday.  He didn't.  Wow!  But he did ask again about what time I would be home the next evening, so I promised to call him on my way home and tell him.

I was a couple hours from home when I called him.  He keeps the home phone by his side whenever he can, and so when he saw my cell number he eagerly answered:  "Hey!  Mom!  Are you coming home?"  I told him that I was on my way and that I would be there around 6:30.  Finally, Aaron had a definite time!  He could begin the countdown now.

He still had much to tell me.  "Mom, I dropped the Cheddar Pasta Salad that Dad got me .  It fell in the floor, so I tried to put it in a bowl and still eat it, but Dad said no and he went and got me another one.  Why wouldn't he let me eat it off the floor?"   I told him that he knows the answer to that question, but I answered it anyway because I knew I would have to in the long run and I may as well get it done.  And immediately after I answered the eating off the floor question, he asked, "Guess what #56 across said?"

Now we are used to following Aaron's zig-zag, random conversations, and so I knew exactly what he meant.  He was referring to the crossword puzzle in that day's paper, which he often reads.  He proceeded to tell me, "The #56 across said bedtime and it has 6 letters.  What would be bedtime that has 6 letters?"  So we went from eating cheddar pasta salad off the floor to the #56 across with 6 letters and then he jumped to........  "Mom, it's cool today!  Does that mean summer is over?"

Oh brother, here we go.  Every season, as the season nears its end, Aaron begins to ask if that season is over and when does the new season start........especially when the temps start varying and the precipitation changes.  I'll be so glad when Autumn really does begin and I can nail that door shut for another couple months.  Come on Friday, hurry up and get here!

Today Aaron was happy to help me make "chocolate puddin'," as he calls it.  He was talking all the while, of course, about why we couldn't make all four boxes instead of just one.  And about one of his friends:  "Mom, he made a stretch of his neck!"  And Aaron proceeded to show me how this friend bends and makes his neck crack.  Or about his other friend:  "Mom, she takes medicine a different way.  She has to take a needle shot!"

Gary and I took him to Dairy Queen with us tonight.  We decided to just go through the drive-through.  Aaron wanted a waffle-cone sundae, so he had to wait until we got home for him to eat it.  I placed the sundae on the kitchen table.  I put the nice red DQ plastic spoon in it, along with the nice DQ napkins right beside it.......and Aaron marched right into the kitchen, opened the silverware drawer, and walked back carrying a spoon and a fork..........yes, a FORK for a sundae.   And the whole napkin holder, as always.  I wanted to ask him why he needed a fork for an ice cream sundae, but I knew better.  He won't answer, but he'll always and forever have a fork with him no matter what he is eating.  And an extra spoon...........and all the napkins.  He dug in to his sundae, using the nice red DQ spoon and never touching the other spoon and the FORK.........but he had to have them.

We always know what type of afternoon.......or morning............or evening.......we're going to have with Aaron.  Not every detail, for sure, or every up and down emotion.  But we know it will be random and full of questions and comments and observations.........lots and lots of talking.........lots and lots of the same stuff over and over again.  But somehow he still manages to mix it up and throw in some surprises and lots of comments that make us laugh.  Or groan.  Or roll our eyes.  Or bite our tongues.  Or grit our teeth.

You get the idea.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quilted With Love

Some of my earliest memories of my mother revolve around her amazing skills as a seamstress.   I remember being very young and seeing Mom sitting at her sewing machine, turning out something beautiful and seemingly perfect from all sorts of fabrics.  She kept us girls busy in those early years while she sewed by giving us pieces of felt in various colors.  From this soft felt we fashioned  clothes for our little troll dolls, cutting and fitting each ugly troll as if it was a priceless and beautiful doll.  Mom provided glitter and sequins and odd buttons for us to glue onto our awkward handiwork.  We stayed busy for hours laboring over our important creations.  I don’t remember all the mess we must have made, but I do remember laboring over our little troll dolls while Mom labored over her more important sewing jobs.   Mom made small, meticulous Barbie doll ensembles which she sold in a local craft store, and also made some for us to keep.  Yet her most loving works of art were the countless pieces of clothing she made for her girls to wear.

Every Easter we had new Easter dresses.  I especially remember the Easter that she made all of us girls pink gingham dresses – and then made one for herself, as well.  I thought it was wonderful to not only match my sisters, but to also be dressed like my mother!   I remember the trips to Penny’s in Bluefield, the bigger town that was near our hometown of Princeton.  I loved the escalator ride down to the bottom floor, where we would choose patterns and fabrics and buttons for our new clothes.  Never did we go to the ready-made clothes upstairs or enter a dressing room.  Our clothing was there amongst the bolts of fabric, waiting to be matched to patterns and later sewn into pretty dresses and jackets and blouses.  I do believe that I took the longest to select the fabric to match the patterns as I had such a difficult time seeing the finished product in my head.  I would stand there, rubbing the fabric between my fingers, trying to visualize a finished product that somehow wasn’t materializing in my mind.  I can imagine Mom’s frustration as I lingered there trying to make this important decision……… well as the rolling eyes of my sisters who had finished this process long before I did.

Mom worked full-time after we were all in school, yet still managed to sew all of our clothes.  She was a natural at this art, yes, but it still took lots of time.  She would sew late into the night, her dedication undeterred by her tiredness.  I never gave enough thought to how tiring this effort must have been to her until I had children of my own.  How did she do it all?  I have no idea, really, but she did.  Her work was not only beautiful with matching plaids and perfect zippers and flawless fit, but each stitch was filled with a love that wasn’t recognized by us until years later. 

One of my most special memories was of the year when we were teenagers, and Mom made us skirts for Christmas.  I don’t know how many skirts she made, but there were quite a few.  Then she not only began looking for matching sweaters to wear with each skirt, but matching knee socks as well.  She did not give up this quest for the correct colors of sweaters and socks until each skirt had what it needed to make it a perfect ensemble.  We learned about this later, from Dad, who accompanied her on many of these trips.

Dad, who was color blind and absolutely no help when it came to matching colors of anything, would patiently take Mom on many of these shopping trips.  I can still see him standing silently on the sidelines in the fabric stores, hands behind his back and a sweet smile on his face.  He never rushed Mom or any of us, but stood there until we had come to the point of methodically selecting every button and every spool of thread.  I can still hear him say, “Did you know that there are 53 light bulbs in this ceiling?”  Or, “Did you know that there are 271 zippers in that display?”  Dear, sweet Dad!

John and Jeanie's Quilt
When Mom and Dad both retired, Mom only continued her sewing.  She had sewn for her children, for grandchildren, for friends, for the Crisis Pregnancy Center, and who knows what else.  Upon retirement, she decided to take up quilting.  Of course, she was a natural at this skill.  She practiced by making her and Dad a lovely quilt, and then took up the goal of making each of us five children and spouses a quilt.  These gorgeous works of art were each sewn entirely by hand with no sewing machine used.  She had us each pick our pattern and our colors – there I went again, having to make this difficult visual choice!  Mom never wasted a minute in any day, and before long she was completing our individual, personal, 
gorgeous quilts.  Dad took her to countless stores and quilt shops, patiently waiting over and over again as she selected just the right fabrics.  Each stitch was a labor of love……….each completed quilt a perfect picture of her devotion to her children.  I keep my quilt hanging in our kitchen area so that we can see it every day and enjoy its beauty, and bask in the warm memories that it evokes. 

Mom made many, many quilts during the next few years.  She made quilts for missionaries; she made a special quilt for a dear friend who had no mother of her own to make her one; she made a quilt for the Prophet’s Chamber at church where missionaries 
stayed when visiting; and she made a memory quilt that has special fabrics and mementos from each of us children and our children.

Bob and Jan's Quilt

Jimmy and Kathryn's Quilt

Mom has Alzheimer’s now and lives in an assisted living center.  Tomorrow she will celebrate her 86th birthday.  Dad knew that Mom was showing distressing signs of forgetfulness before he passed away nearly four years ago, and he worried so about her.  He would be happy with her living arrangement now and with how well cared for she is.  She doesn’t sew at all now.  She’s even forgotten how to put her jigsaw puzzles together that she loved so much.  Sometimes she doesn’t remember all of our names, and definitely not the names of all the grandchildren and great-grands.   But she is sweet and she is happy and she still seeks to serve others.

Bob and Mary Beth's Quilt
Gary and Patty's Quilt
And just as our keepsake quilts will always be an heirloom to pass down to our children, even more so are the pieces of our lives that she shaped and fashioned together with her tireless love and effort.  She took care of us, providing the atmosphere of a happy and warm home to treasure as she sewed and cooked and played and laughed.  She made sure that we had family devotions every morning before school because Dad was at work and so it was up to her.  She took us to church when Dad was working late, and didn’t just drop us off – she was there, too, worshipping and serving.  She  showed us how to love and how to work and how to pray and how to laugh and how to persevere through hard times.  She exemplified great care in 
how she took care of her mother for 14 years, as well as her mother-in-law for part of that time.  And she loved Dad, totally.  She never left his side, especially for the eight years that he fought cancer.  Even when they no longer could share their bed they had slept in together for 59 years, she slept right beside his hospital bed, her arm and hand resting on him between the bed rails. 

These traits of our mother are the stitches that are sewn into our very being.  The pieces of our lives were begun by her, thought-out and cut, measured and pieced, day by day.  As the years marched on, the shapes of our lives began to unfold.  The beauty of the various patterns began to be seen.  These are the treasures that are eternal.  These are the heirlooms that have more value than any quilt will ever possess.  And while our mother may not remember much anymore about the details of the past or the present, we have the evidence in our lives of her love and her faith…………a beautiful quilt of a life well lived.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How Do Pineapples Grow?

Aaron loves fresh pineapple, so he was happy to see the other day that I had bought a nice pineapple at Sam's.  He also loves fruits and vegetables that have unusual appearances, and I do believe that a fresh pineapple would fit under that category.  All those spines and that odd, wild growth on top does nothing but stimulate Aaron's curiosity.

This is why he came into the family room on Sunday evening carrying our pineapple.  "Mom!  I like this pineapple!"

Yes, Aaron, I know you do.

"When can we eat it,"  he asked?  So I told him that we would probably eat it the next day.  I was chilling out at that moment, watching football, and not in the mood to tackle a pineapple.

Aaron proceeded to go downstairs and have nearly the same conversation with Gary before returning to the family room, still carrying the pineapple.  "Mom, I asked Dad if pineapples grow on trees and he laughed.  So do they grow on trees?"

Well, pineapples grow............uh, they grow...........I think they know, I'm not exactly sure. And this is why you would have found Aaron and I sharing my tablet screen, looking at various pictures of pineapples and how they grow..........while Aaron excitedly rubbed his hands together and held his special fresh pineapple in his lap.

Yesterday morning, you can be assured that Aaron talked again about that it grows, where it grows, what it tastes like, and making sure that I had not forgotten that I had said we could have the pineapple that night.  Aaron returned from his group a little late and found me in the midst of cooking supper.  He talked a few minutes about his day before he went over and grabbed the pineapple, placing it on the counter in front of remind me that I had said we would eat the pineapple...........tonight!

I know, I know, Aaron!  But he was persistent.  "Mom, you said we'd eat the pineapple tonight.  Aren't you going to open it?!"  I laughed and he continued, "So how do you open the pineapple?"

Aaron, you open the pineapple by cutting it!  And he once again urged me to open the pineapple as he scrambled up to his room.   He was full from his day of eating who-knows-what, but later as we played Skip-Bo, he had himself a nice bowl full of the pineapple that I had opened for him.  I had to remind him several times to chew with his mouth closed as he chomped that open pineapple.

This morning, he came into my room and began talking about the open pineapple, and how it looked rotten because of the color on the outside.............but it wasn't rotten, right?.............and how good it tasted...........and could he have some for breakfast.  He managed to polish off the remainder of our open pineapple this morning, enjoying every bite.  Believe me, I know.........because he carried his bowl up to my room, and chomped and slurped once again while I finished getting ready.

Aaron sure can take something as normal as a pineapple and make it into a very interesting experience.  We'll have to open another one soon!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lessons From the Window

It was a holiday weekend and Andrew was coming home.  Between college and his pit crew travels, we hadn't seen him in 2 1/2 months.  We were excited to have him home!  I was busy doing the things that a happy mom does when her child is coming home after being gone for so long.  I was fixing some of his favorite foods; doing some vacuuming and dusting; cleaning bathrooms; and getting his room all ready.  We weren't sure exactly what time he'd be home, so as I zipped from room to room I found myself repeatedly looking out the windows to see if I would find his blue truck pulling into the driveway.  My anticipation was mounting with each passing hour!  I couldn't wait to hug him, to look at him, to talk to him, and to sit down at dinner together with laughter and sharing as we always do when we're all together again. 

I was upstairs in his bedroom, changing his sheets and glancing out his windows every few minutes, when the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to my heart.  It was as if He said, "Patty, I do wish you looked forward to seeing the Lord at His return as much as you look forward to seeing Andrew when he returns."  I have given this much thought since that day and have been convicted over and over by my attitude. 

How many times have I spoken of the rapture and linked it to being rescued from a situation that I'm tired of?  So often I have commented that it sure will be wonderful when the Lord returns and we won't have to face death and sickness anymore.  And won't it be a blessing to be in heaven and see all of our family and friends that are there now?  Oh, and the world is in such bad shape that it will just be a joy to be rid of it all and be with the Lord.  No more having to make painful, long term decisions about Aaron; no more financial struggles; no more conflicts with people; on and on the list goes.

While all of these factors are legitimate reasons to want to be with Jesus, I have often missed the real and most important goal.  It hit me with such force as I compared the reasons I wanted to see Andrew compared with the reasons I wanted to see Jesus.  I wouldn't run up to Andrew when he returned and say, "Oh, Andrew, I'm so glad you're here because I'm tired and need a break from things here.  Thanks for what you're going to do while you're here to relieve me and refresh me."  No!  I just wanted to be with him, to talk to him, to enjoy his fellowship and love. 

So while it's natural to want freedom from our trials and stresses and to be with Jesus, I want to think more about Whom I will be with rather than what he's rescuing me from.  I want to look forward, as Paul said in I Corinthians 5:8, to being absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.  I want to anticipate time with Jesus, talking to Him, enjoying His fellowship, basking in His love, and praising Him.  In John 16:22, Jesus said to the disciples, "......but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you."

I look forward to being taken away from this old earth and all the junk that goes with it.  But may I look forward even more to glancing out my windows some day and seeing Jesus come to take me to heaven, where I can sit at His feet and talk to Him and praise Him forever! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tattoos and Enchiladas and..........

On Thursday, Aaron had his Epilepsy doctor appointment.  I was very relieved to be called back rather quickly from the waiting room.  Aaron was way too fascinated by the dad who was sitting there, arms covered in tattoos.  “Mom, look at his tattoos!” Aaron whispered………except Aaron doesn’t really whisper………’s more of what we would call a normal voice but to him is quieter than his usual loud voice.  Then I whispered for him to hush and he wanted to know why and I was hoping this man didn’t hear or at least that he was kind and understanding.   It was very nice to escape that situation!    Aaron’s seizures and his medicine levels are stable, so there wasn’t much new there.  However, we love time with the nurse practitioner, Keith Trevolt.  He is a lay pastor as well as a very knowledgeable health care provider,  and our visits with him are always uplifting, informative, and fun.  He seems to have all the time in the world to listen to Aaron, and as Aaron got wound up, Keith had lots to listen to……….mostly about (drum roll)………..Battleship!!!!  Aaron would have replayed every scene and every conversation and every alien move had I not finally intervened.   I rescued Keith, and Aaron and I went on our way to the next destination……….the real reason Aaron wanted to come, which was lunch, of course.

I had suggested that we eat at Carlos O’Kelly’s.  Aaron was happy about this choice because it’s a place he has been to rarely, if ever.  We were thankfully ushered immediately to a booth and so began this serious eating-out process.  I told Aaron to first decide on his drink……….and of course, he immediately spotted the margarita selection on the back of the menu.  “Mom, is that a beer?”  His fascination with beer continues, of course, so I had to try to quickly explain the difference and then urge him to confirm his choice – iced tea, thankfully.   

Aaron and menus have become a very time-consuming combination.  He wants to look at and read every item.  I tried to suggest various food choices and his response, invariably, is to say, “Let me see it.  What’s in it?”  He wants to see a picture and get a full description of each choice, which takes forever, so I finally strongly suggested an enchilada……….and then we had to face the selection of sides………..and determine what the soup of the day was………..and let him ponder that while the waitress had her pen poised………and Aaron had more questions……….and needed a picture…………JUST ORDER, AARON!!!!!

His Tortilla Soup arrived in a very tiny bowl, with a glob of sour cream on top.  As soon as Aaron methodically cleaned the sour cream swipe on the side of the bowl, he proceeded to spill much more of the soup down the sides of same bowl as he tried to scoop soup out of a much-too-small bowl.  He managed to eat most of the soup, completely soaking the cute little napkin under the soup but thankfully not getting too much of the soup on the table or his clothes.  He’s a little shaky and so soup can be difficult, but I ignore the mess so he won’t feel badly about it. 

His enchilada had been delivered and he dug into that next, very carefully smoothing out that dollop of sour cream on top so as to cover the entire enchilada.  This took some time as he smoothed and smoothed again that sour cream, as if he was painting the top of his enchilada.  But then his fork was covered in sour cream and this was a problem………..because Aaron will not put the fork in his mouth to clean it.  No, no, no…….Aaron will only clean his utensils with a napkin.  So he took a napkin and wiped his fork off in it, watching me to see if I objected.  I was thankful that the waitress had brought extra napkins earlier.  How did she know?  Next Aaron carefully removed the jalapenos and put them on his little soup plate. 

Now it was time to seriously eat.  He observed his plate and then began to eat the garnish first.  Aaron eats one item at a time, and he considered the little pile of onions and spices to be an item to eat……….not an item to put onto his enchilada.  The enchilada was all smooth with his sour cream and was not to be further disturbed.  After finishing the garnish, he tackled the rice.  His waitress kindly offered to get him a spoon and as she walked away, Aaron asked, “Can I have a knife?”  Because with every meal, even if it’s cereal, Aaron must have multiple spoons and at least one knife and one fork.  She didn’t hear him and somehow he survived without a knife for this meal. 

My meal didn’t take long to eat, so I spent the majority of my time sipping my Pepsi and watching Aaron and of course, listening to Aaron.  I listened to Aaron clap his very loud clap, telling him to stop, and then listening as he tried to quietly slip in a clap here and there………or clap under the table.  I listened to Aaron as he talked about everything around him.  “Mom!  Look!”  He was pointing behind us, to the bar.  “Look at those levers.  They turn them and beer comes out!”
I asked him if his food was spicy.  He thought for a second and then said, "Well, half of it was and half of it wasn't."    There he goes with that half business again!  He saw the waitress  bring me a take-out box for the remainder of my lunch, so he asked me if we could take the chips home.  As the next waitress passed our table………..not our waitress……..Aaron saw her and said, “HEY!!”  She stopped and thankfully she smiled and thankfully she understood and thankfully she brought Aaron a nice bag in which he could thankfully take home those chips. 

Finally, four napkins and two spoons and one fork and a bag of chips later, we were ready to leave.  We made a quick run into Target, where Aaron asked if he could go find some Mike and Ikes……….and I reluctantly agreed.  He promised to come back quickly and meet me where I was checking out some sale items.  He took longer than I thought he should and of course, I should not have been surprised to look up and see Aaron lumbering toward me with this:

He was very happy to have found this wonderful pillow.  As I placed the pillow in the cart, he then pulled 3 boxes of Mike and Ikes out of his pockets.  Thank you, security guys, for not questioning my son about why he was stuffing Mike and Ikes into his pockets.  Good grief, Aaron! 

It was nice to arrive home, in more ways than one, and to have Aaron lay down for a nap.  My brain needed a break, not to mention my nerves. 

And I was thankful for the either deaf or patient tattooed dad;  our kind nurse practitioner;  pleasant, understanding waitresses; and either blind or unobservant security personnel. 

It’s all part of a day with Aaron.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Spitting Farmer

So now that you've read the title, I may as well just get on with the story.  Last night Aaron and I were playing Skip-Bo.  He was doing his usual........eating..........talking..........and trying to cheat whenever my eyes turned away for more than 5 seconds.  I can control the eating.........I am keeping baggies of sliced cucumbers in the frig  as a healthier snack option.  Of course, he must have a bowl into which he dumps the cucumbers..........he will NOT eat out of the baggie - but at least he's eating cucumbers and not Skittles.

I can also control the cheating by not letting my eyes stray onto my tablet or phone, or by not leaving the table.  Even then, I have to be very alert.  Aaron is a quick cheater.  I like to think of him as being very smart instead of being a very big cheat.  I am his mother, you know.

As for the talking - we have yet to find a way to control the talking.  A captive audience is Aaron's favorite, and since I can't leave the table when playing Skip-Bo with Aaron, I am a captive.

As I sat there, captivated by his non-stop chatter in his mostly monotone voice, I was captively listening to his usual talk of his day and his friends and his activities and his food choices and his games, etc., etc., and etc.
Then he said it.

"Mom, Dad caught me doing something and he made me stop."

He paused as he often does, for effect.  I was bracing myself for what Aaron might have been doing that Dad had to make him stop doing..........and wondering why Gary had not told me about this thing that Aaron was doing that he had to stop doing.

Then Aaron finished with, "I was trying to be a farmer and spit on the steps."

Those of you who know me, or who have read my blog for awhile, know that I often withhold laughter in front of Aaron when it means that I am laughing at Aaron.  I don't want to make Aaron feel bad for being laughed at, or I don't want to encourage poor behavior by laughing in front of Aaron.  I try to wait until the time that I can laugh behind his back.  However, there are those times that withholding my laughter is very unhealthy for me..........and last night was one of those times.  I chose my good health and I laughed.  I laughed very loudly........while Aaron blandly went on with his Skip-Bo move and his monotone talking.

He then demonstrated the way that he tried to spit........minus the spit, thankfully.........but the little ppfftting sound he made was even more hilarious.  Oh my goodness!  Now I have some questions about this behavior on several levels.

Number One:  Why does Aaron think that farmers spit?

Number Two:  If Aaron wants to emulate a farmer, why didn't Aaron instead put a piece of hay in his mouth from the "hay barrels", as Aaron calls them, like farmers routinely do.  Right?

Number Three:  Why didn't Aaron say that he tried to spit like a baseball player?  Baseball players spit!  A lot!

Number Four:  Since when do farmers......or even baseball players.......spit on steps?  Carpeted steps?

I helped Aaron carry his coffee up to his room this morning.  As we walked up the steps, with Aaron behind me, he said, "Mom, this is where I tried to spit on the steps."  I quickly looked down, glad that I had on shoes.  I reaffirmed to him that he should never spit on the steps..........and knowing Aaron, he should never spit anywhere.

I have also decided that it's been way too long since I vacuumed those stairs.  Maybe all the dirt on the carpet confused Aaron and brought out his spitting instincts.

Don't try to call for several minutes.  I can't hear the phone over the vacuum.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Green Pepper Gift

Earlier in the summer, when our garden was producing pleasant vegetables, I often had a variety of our produce on the kitchen counter.  Sometimes I would let Aaron take a few cucumbers or squash or peppers to some of the staff at his day group.  He especially liked giving these treats to Barb, one of the staff there with whom he has formed a close bond.  Barb is a mom herself, soft-spoken and kind, so Aaron responds well to her.  She is patient with Aaron, and even allows him to get on her this has propelled Barb way up on Aaron's list of favorite people.

It's been awhile since we had any fresh produce to share, as our garden has become very unpleasant........dried up and brown and ugly.  Therefore, yesterday I bought some cucumbers and some bell peppers at Aldi.  They were laying on the kitchen counter this morning, waiting for me to find a place for them in the frig.  Aaron and I were busy getting ready this morning.  He was more hyper than usual, bouncing from his movie that he was my room to talk to the kitchen to drink his coffee........back up the stairs to talk to me some his room..........

I knew that he had bagged up some of the croissants that he bought yesterday at Wal-Mart (Yes!  More croissants!), but as he got his shoes and socks on in the family room, I noticed an extra bag.  I asked him about it and he did NOT want me to look at it.  I asked him what was in the bag and he bristled.  Earlier he had been telling me about a character in his Star Wars game and he said, "Mom, she did a fuss with somebody!"

Well, Aaron did a fuss with me at that point!  I could tell that he might do a big fuss with me, but I insisted on knowing what was in the bag, so he sharply told me that he was taking Barb peppers.  Yes, green peppers.............that I had bought at Aldi...........all three of my new Aldi green peppers!  He had my green peppers in the bag for Barb.  I explained that these were not garden green peppers - that these were store bought green peppers - from the store - that I had paid for - that I needed - and that Barb probably did not need - my green peppers.

Aaron would have none of that.  For some reason, he really wanted Barb to have these peppers.........really, really wanted Barb to have these peppers.  So out to the van we went, Aaron holding his bag of croissants.........and the bag of green green peppers.........from the store........that I had bought......

We were silent on the way to Quik-Trip to meet his group.  He knew that I was frustrated.  I knew that he and I would do a big fuss if I said much more.  As we drove, and listened to the Supremes, Aaron softened and tried to talk.  I remained mostly silent.  Finally, we pulled up to Quik Trip.  Aaron reached into the bag that had the green green peppers..........and quickly broke the plastic wrap and pulled out one large, pretty pepper.

"Mom, can I take Barb just one pepper?" he asked as he opened the door to make his exit...........with the one green green pepper.  I mumbled a yes and he settled into Cody's car, with his bag of croissants and his bag with the one green pepper.

We got through this episode without doing a big fuss, as Aaron would say.  And again I must weigh the pros and cons of Aaron taking this strange gift to Barb...........the green pepper green peppers from Aldi........and I mentally scratch my head.  Who can know what prompted him to grab this unusual gift for his special friend?  How can I encourage his kindness and generosity but teach him wisdom...........about giving away our food.  What will it be next that he decides to stuff in a bag and give away?  I don't mind giving people things at all.........but Aaron will take freedoms with this that we never intended.  He always does.

And I imagine that Barb scratched her head as Aaron handed her the bag..........with a green pepper.............from Aldi.  Aaron said that she laughed.  I should probably call her and explain.........and hide the cucumbers tonight.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Only For Rosie

I hope that all of you have read my former blog about Aaron and Rosie so that you will have some background about their special relationship.  Every now and then Aaron will still mention how someone teases them about being boyfriend/girlfriend.   We continue to encourage the friendship aspect of their relationship, and I feel sure that Rosie’s mother would agree.  It really is sweet to hear Aaron talk about her, though, because he always speaks of her with a kindness and a tenderness that he never offers to anyone else………..including me or Andrea, the other two very important females in Aaron’s life.  It’s not that Aaron is never tender or kind to us, but ongoing tenderness?  Nah!  Not with Aaron and his short fuse that we often light. 

Some of Aaron’s day group staff may correct me, but it doesn’t seem from what Aaron shares with us that he teases Rosie or gets frustrated with her like he does with his other friends there.  Lately, Aaron has given us further insights into his friendship with Rosie.  One day he matter-of-factly told me that he let Rosie wear his watch.  He wondered if I would mind him doing that, so I was careful as I talked to him to not make him get defensive.  I wanted to know more about this new kindness that Aaron was extending to Rosie without making him feel like it was something that I wouldn’t approve of or understand.  Over the next few days, from what I could gather, he explained that Rosie didn’t have a watch and that she wondered what it would feel like to wear one.  Therefore, Aaron said he let Rosie wear his watch in Wal-Mart.  Then he later said that he lets Rosie wear his watch every day at Paradigm when they’re not going anywhere but are at the office. 

“Mom, Rosie always gives it back.  Is that OK to let Rosie wear my watch?”   I told him that this was fine, all the while feeling like a mother with a 13 year old who is trying to maneuver this new world of male/female relationships…………what is acceptable and what is not?  Aaron gave Rosie all of our crayons………and markers…………and colored pencils.  I hope he’ll just let her borrow the watch and not eventually give it to her.  Maybe she can teach Aaron how to wear his watch on his wrist and not pushed halfway up his arm the way he does now!  Or maybe Rosie thinks that’s the correct way to wear a watch, so she has it pushed up her arm, too.  Who knows?

Check out the watch!
Today I noticed a bag on the kitchen table as we were getting ready to leave for Aaron’s group.  I peeked inside and saw three DVDs before Aaron took the bag away.  When I questioned him about it, he reluctantly said, “Those are for Rosie.”  As I asked him more questions, he told me that he had his three Shrek movies in the bag.  “Rosie doesn’t have them so I’m taking them to her.”  I broached the subject of Rosie returning the movies, but Aaron was through talking about it.  He doesn’t want to hear me say that she can’t borrow – or have – the movies.  I’ll need to address that later, but for now I let it drop.  He’s showing another kindness and I hesitate to discourage that.  We already tell him not to spend money on Rosie, yet we know he does.  There is a balance to this business of teaching kindness yet also being careful about the over-extension of it.  Aaron has always had a tendency to give people money and he has done just that with Rosie.  When we told him to stop giving her money, he did for awhile…………but then told us that he wasn’t giving Rosie money anymore – he was buying her things instead.  Oh Aaron.

Yesterday’s conversation, though, was the best.  Gary and I took Aaron with us out to eat.  We had a long wait for a table and then for our food.  Aaron occupied himself by cramming peanuts in his mouth as fast as he could shell them.  Finally, he burped – quietly – thankfully!  This reminded him of something to tell us………everything reminds Aaron of something to tell us.  He said, “Sometimes at Paradigm I kind of burp.”

I said, “Now Aaron, how do you KIND of burp?  You either burp or you don’t burp.” 

And knowing Aaron, it would be a very loud burp.  So Aaron laughed and agreed that he did indeed burp. 
Then he continued, “Rosie said to say excuse me.”

So did you say excuse me, Aaron?  And he said that yes, he did say excuse me.  This is very surprising.  I had to ask him………..Aaron, would you say excuse me for anyone else?

He replied, “No………only for Rosie.”

Only for Rosie.  That spoke volumes to Gary and me. 

Only for Rosie………..will he share his money, and share his Number 52 Slurpee, and share his popcorn, and share his watch, and share his crayons and markers and colored pencils and even a pencil sharpener, and share his DVDs. 

It truly is sweet to see this caring, sharing side of Aaron…………..even amidst the burps.