Jun 01, 2012 0 Share

Small Gifts

Gift box with blue puzzle piece inside.

You may have read my column some time ago, about how one of Cody’s favorite pastimes is going antique shopping. We had not gotten a chance to do that for a while but over the holiday weekend we were afforded that opportunity. And this time Cody surprised me.

The morning started out pretty much status quo. I went to wake Cody up. I said, “Cody, would you like to go antiquing or should we just stay home?” I felt this tremendous rush of air then all of the sudden, he was no longer in horizontal mode, but sitting at the kitchen table asking for his coffee. When I gave it to him, he chugged it down, inhaled his breakfast, and then hurried to the bathroom to brush his teeth and get dressed. Finally, we laced up the power shopping shoes and we were off.

One of our favorite places to go is a mid-sized town about an hour away where antique shops are everywhere. When we go there it is safe to say that we will be there for the duration of the day and sometimes into the evening.

We arrived at our first store. Cody was giggly and dancing with excitement. We entered the building and within no more than a few short minutes our first bargain was found. Then we were all giggly and dancing with excitement.

While Bill and I shopped, Cody did his normal routine of pacing up and down the aisles, checking everything out and grinning from ear to ear. Seldom does he ever touch anything. Sometimes he will stop and look at things—poring over them like a mad archeologist who just discovered some new piece of history from a time long past. But rarely does he ever ask to buy anything. Well, today he did!

He spotted a small puzzle that was made somewhat on the same principle as a Rubik’s Cube. When configured properly, a picture of Batman appeared. This is what Cody wanted to buy. He was adamant about it. But he didn’t want to buy it for himself. He wanted to give it to his Occupational Tech, Stephen. He knows Stephen loves to collect Batman memorabilia.

This action was somewhat of an epiphany to me. It dawned on me that while my son has always had a loving soul, he also has the ability to think of others. What they might like. Even someone like Stephen, who has only been a part of Cody’s life for a few short months.

Stephen and Bill had discussed Stephen’s passion for collecting Batman comic books about a week earlier. Cody was present at the time but did not participate in the conversation and made no mention of it later. So when he made his desire to buy this item for Stephen known to us, it was clear how much he is aware of the world around him—that he isn’t just oblivious to events that take place in spite of how it may appear to others. He really pays attention to things that others may consider insignificant at the time.

The very fact that he collected and stored this information for use at a later date is very telling of his level of awareness and how much his thought processes can and do work like that of a loving, caring neurotypical peer who will put another before himself. I hesitate to say all other peers, because there is so much evidence that suggests many young people around the same age as my son have a much more selfish mentality. Needless to say, I consider myself most blessed that Cody isn’t like that. And I am extremely proud of him!

Cody gave Stephen the puzzle yesterday. Stephen was also in awe of Cody’s display of thoughtfulness. He didn’t care about the fact the puzzle cost all of a quarter. He was delighted that he was thought of outside of the realms of his job and that it all came from a two-minute conversation that Cody simply overheard over a week ago.

Cody has taught us all a lesson over these last few days. Simply because a person lacks what is perceived by society as the so-called normal social behaviors it doesn’t mean that person lacks the ability to love and think of what might warm the heart of another. Yet so often this misguided judgment is passed upon them. Perhaps this quote (commonly credited to Albert Einstein) applies here:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."