Adrian just turned 17. That’s still a little unbelievable to me.
He was home for his birthday weekend. We took him to his favorite mall where he rode his favorite elevator. We bought him birthday cake and sang to him. He blew out the candle and opened presents. It really wasn’t all that different from any other birthday.
Except the fact that when the weekend concluded, he went back to his residential school. He no longer lives here with us.
But he’s seventeen now and it just feels ‘right’ to have it that way. He’s not a little kid any more. He’s a young man who has really grown and changed in the short time he’s lived away from us.
I was reminded of that this birthday weekend when Adrian used his communication program to ask for a cheeseburger… right after we’d taken him to a restaurant where we’d ordered him chicken fingers. Because he always wanted chicken fingers. They were his favorite. He hardly ate anything else. But it’s not that way now. He eats many different kinds of food and he loves different things… and I forget that he’s not my little boy who loves chicken fingers.
So the next day we went and he got his cheeseburger and I took a picture of him eating it… mostly because we still have such a hard time believing it. And then I took him back to his house. I put away his man-sized jeans in his drawers and as I did he showed me pictures he took on his new iPod Touch of when he went to Dave and Buster’s with his housemates. I didn’t know he took pictures with his iPod Touch. I didn’t know he went to Dave and Buster’s.
When he got impatient waiting for me to hurry up and finish refolding his clothes he signed ‘ride’. I put on my sad voice and told him that no, our ride was finished for the day. The staff chimed in and told him not to worry, they’d be going for a ride to play laser tag as soon as his housemates finished their lunch. He smiled at her.
Adrian kissed me goodbye and went back to his computer. He never walks me to the door. He’s happy to stay there. He’s happy to be back in his house. He’s comfortable with me not being there.
Cause he’s 17 now and it’s natural for a young man to want some independence from Mom…. and a cheeseburger 🙂