Thursday, April 07, 2011

18!

Yesterday Cody turned 18! We celebrated low-key. He and I and the bugboy went out for tacos for lunch. He opened some presents from extended family, and spent the evening with his girl-friend. Rumor has it that not only was it his birthday but he has been dating Ellie for a year now. So dinner with Ellie it was..followed by going to a local cafe/restaurant/club  and listening to a friend who had a gig in nearby San Antonio.

Holy Moly..who would have thought! I am so proud of the young man Cody is today.

When we first decided to homeschool for the long haul Big B and I decided we wanted 3 things for our children in adulthood. These were a strong sense of compassion, responsibility and humor.

Cody is all of these things and So. Much. More.

And WOW..what a journey it has been. For you see, when Cody was 3 he was diagnosed with PDD/NOS..a few months later HFA. A few years later he was rediagnosed Aspergers/HFA/Highly Gifted. But by that point? Who cared?

Cody had broken down his original barriers of autism. You know those books you read or movies you see (A Child Called Noah, Dibs in Search of Self, etc) where a kid goes from autistic to fully engaged adult? Well that is Cody.

Why him? We honestly can't say. At the age of 3 Cody went to PPCD where an amazing staff worked with him daily to develop speech, parallel play and an ability to walk without spinning;)

As soon as he came home from PPCD we had set up the Son-Rise program ..or lifestyle rather, at home. Did we really expect a change? No..but we wanted him to know we loved him. We wanted to catch those "green-light moments" when we could. And somehow over a few years, we got lucky.

While some of his milestones were major..I.E. speech, eye-contact, etc. Many were (and still are) much more subtle.  But the truth is Cody knows, and has always known, more than anyone else what he needs to live more fully.

We learned early that we needed to trust Cody. Sometimes this trust meant supporting him when things seemed crazy. For instance when he buried all the black-keys to the piano in the backyard? We took it in stride and buried with him. (Only to be glued back on at a later date)

The details of Cody's journey are a book in and of itself. And a few scholarly papers have been written about him. But by the age of 9 Cody was taking apart..and fixing.... computers instead of pianos. At the age of 16 he was taking apart..and fixing cars.

Cody has a gift for memorising patterns and systems in ways many cannot. At the age of 7 he referred to the elements on the periodic chart as the ingredients of the universe. Next was patent laws, then bar-code numbering, etc. Cody learns these things with a passion. Then moves onto something else when he is done.

Over the years he has studied the nuances of  conversation. Cody uses the art of questioning and dry wit to keep conversations going. He has come to realise that many of the things that fascinate him (wiring diagrams, programming codes, banking systems,etc..) are not the most intriguing topics of conversation for many of his peers.

As odd as it may seem since he still often appears painfully shy, Cody is probably the most social of all of the boys.

Today Cody is studying information systems. This skill will serve him well in a number of fields. It is a skill that is treasured by certain companies and gov't agencies..yet he chooses to study at a small liberal arts college instead of a more technically inclined school.

Why? Because he knows he needs the balance. Cody is stretching himself. Head, heart and hands. Good for Cody.

There is one song that I listen to often. I sang this to Cody at nauseum as he was growing up. I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you just how nauseating it is.

Whenever I here it I still think of Cody. John, I love you.  by Sinaed O'Connor is Cody's song in my mind. (just replace John..)

The refrain is what gets me. The lyrics are simple...

There's life outside your mother's garden
There's life beyond your wildest dreams
There hasn't been any explosion
We're not spinning like Dorothy
If you look now then you'll see why
Don't be afraid to cry
This time don't let yourself fly
Child
Pick up those dancing shoes
Kick off those wedding blues
These are the ways
You can choose....


Cody is 18 now.

And while they may be disguised as flip-flops, Cody has chosen to pick up his dancing shoes.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope Cody has read this--it's very touching and speaks truly and simply to his stregth of character and to the depth of commitment and love from you and Brian. Mom

grillledcheesechic said...

Cody ALWAYS reads...he is happy to let me know when I have embellished a story. It always leads to discussion on the art of story-telling versus lying.

He did not feel I had embellished (or lied) about this;)