|Missionaries in Alexandria, LA
wearing blue for T18.
But his siblings wore blue.
His brother on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) even got his district to wear blue. It was their P-day (preparation day, which means laundry, shopping, cleaning, etc) day, so they're wearing casual clothes, but he sent me pics. ('Cause like I said, I didn't get them taken.)
Before he was born, Aaron's siblings (you know, those kids who were already here) had (relatively) normal lives, did sports, music, school stuff and had a mom who was involved with all of it.
Guess what, it's still that way, mostly.
When Aaron was born, and then when he was trached, I was told point-blank that he would ruin their lives. It would be too hard on them to have a brother with such significant disabilities. That Aaron would be too needy, it would be too hard. Basically, it was wrong of us to try to make this work.
This is a common theme. Parents are often told it's just not fair to the family to bring such hardship into their lives, especially if they have other children.
And it was hard, and it IS hard. It's hard for them. It's hard for us. But you know what? There were things that were hard before he was born, things they struggled with as kids, that we struggled with as parents. If someone doesn't have difficult things in their lives, well, I guess they're wrapped in cotton and bubble wrap, and frankly, they're probably pretty boring too. But honestly, I don't know anyone like that.
Ask a parent, any parent what kind of life lessons they really hope their kids learn, learn so that they're an intrinsic part of their fiber. I'd be willing to bet that finding happiness, fostering close relationships, persevering, learning to overcome would be top of the list.
I asked my kids what lessons they've learned about themselves, or about life from Aaron. What he's taught them. Guess what they said?
Michael (12) "He's taught me to always be happy. He's fun to play with. And he likes it when I bounce his yellow ball off his head. He never gets mad at me."
Andrew (15) "You can be happy even when things are hard or aren't fun."
Joseph (18) "He is a rock. When I was preparing to serve I was really wanting to know that what I had been taught was actually the truth because I don't want to be saying things that aren't true. I wanted to know what was going to happen to him. I had always been taught that he already had his ticket. I really came to know for certain when I asked a preacher down here what he thought about it. What he said chilled me and solidified in my mind that a loving Heavenly Father would not send one of his children to hell because they are not able to be baptized. He told me in a very round about way that Aaron was going to hell. I thanked him for his opinion. We were in a recent convert's house and she asked me if that helped me and I said, "No, I already know where he's going." Growing up with him was a great way for me to "grow-up" quicker and mature quicker. I took more responsibility for my actions because of it and I always want to be there for him because he's my brother."
Matthew (20) "He's my inspiration for staying optimistic, no matter how difficult my circumstances are."
Jonny (23) "Aaron has taught me that you can live a happy life even while suffering through painful trials that are not your fault."
Deborah (27) He brought our family closer than we've ever been before."
Yep, definitely ruined these kids.
I did manage to get the flu about ten days ago. THAT was miserable! I pretty much lived either in my bed or on the couch for four days while Tamiflu worked it's magic. If I had to go in Aaron's room, I gloved, masked and wore a robe that I only put on in there. And I think we're far enough out that it's safe to say I didn't give it to anyone else. Thank goodness.