Every night, after the dishes are finished, we lock the family room door and pull the shades before we retire to the rec room for the night to watch TV. Imagine my surprise when Cody took it upon himself to do these things, having never done so before and without being asked or prompted in any way. It has been this kind of initiation that we’ve been noticing a lot over the last two weeks from Cody.
The signs that Cody is becoming more independent and more responsible are emerging rapidly. And that is a welcomed sight. Once there had to be redirection and a prompt for every single step of making his bed, but now it’s a smooth process that Cody does on his own without being asked. It’s now simply a part of his daily routine.
Cody has taken it upon himself to rinse his dishes from breakfast and lunch and put them in the dishwasher without direction. If there are any dishes downstairs—whether they are his or someone else’s—he takes the initiative to carry them upstairs. It is a relief to see that my son is on his way to a more self-sustaining life.
But with this new found independence does come a bit of anxiety as well.
When it used to be that Cody had to be asked if he would like to go outside for a while, he now does that on his own also. So we are trying to teach him to let us know when he wishes to do that. Safety is still a bit of an issue. Trying to explain this to him presents a bit of a conundrum. He still has to learn that there are certain boundaries he can’t cross. Some activities can’t be done without our knowledge and others can’t be done at all for safety’s sake.
So then we get … the look!
To Cody, it is as if we are saying, “Be responsible, be independent—but not without our consent.” Anybody would feel confused by these mixed messages and we have to be open to the fact that it may bring about feelings of frustration, irritability and even resentment.
Cody doesn’t understand that we are pleased and excited about his progress. In spite of the fact that Cody is 25 years old, for us it is still like watching your child move from preteen years into adolescence. He’s more dependable but still has not reached the state of consciousness of adulthood.
The area in which we live is rural and wooded. While Cody has never roamed off the property, who is to say that, with this new desire to be liberated from parental control, he won’t wander? While the wildlife in the area is not of great concern, one still needs to have a watchful eye. Snakes have now emerged from hibernation and are seeking places where they can warm themselves in the sun and small prey to feed upon. Copperheads are especially hard to see in areas where there are fallen leaves. While their venom is not often deadly, they can make one very ill. Cottonmouths—snakes with a more toxic venom—like to hang out near the ponds and the wet weather creek which lies just at the end of the drive. Coyotes mostly run in packs, are mostly nocturnal, and scavenge and hunt small prey. But it is also not unheard of for a pack to take down a calf, or for a lone coyote to be seen roaming about in broad daylight. They are not likely to attack humans but here they have been seen running with other wild dogs that do. But it’s not our four-legged friends, nor the creepy crawly critters that bring me the most concern.
Not long ago we learned there had been a rash of robberies in the area. Neighbors’ houses have been broken into while the occupants were asleep. Just down the road, a meth house was busted a few years ago. Our little Mayberry-like community is not without its dangers.
So now Cody must survive the tiresome droning of his parents who he will see as overbearing and overly protective. And Bill and I must endure the frustrations of a young man who simply wishes to come into his own, but who still has much to learn. And while time will heal these superficial wounds and Cody will come to understand that our disquieted expression comes from nothing but love, for now we will bear these trials. Because even in paradise, serpents wander.