Friday, October 31, 2014

From Baby to Boy to Man - 16 Years with Cody

At the end of August, we celebrated Cody's 16th Birthday!!  A lot has happened over the last 16 years.  I don't have baby pictures of Cody on my computer because that was before the digital age of photography.  These were the earliest I could find.  
Cody at 23 months old.  Right before we moved to Colorado.  
 He was a hilarious little kid.  So smart and funny. 
These pics of he and Lauren just crack me up!
 This was his first day of Kindergarten
 I look back at these pics and they seem so long ago.  So much life has happened since they were taken.
 He has been to Swaziland twice.  
 Basketball has become a sport he really enjoys whether it is on a team at school or playing street ball at Cottonwood Creek Park
Here we are on Cody's Bday.  Our firstborn boy is becoming a man.
 I will never forget the day I started having to look up to him because he had grown taller than me.  I also remember being upstairs at home one day and hearing a man's voice downstairs while knowing that Rick wasn't home.  Thinking, "Wait just a minute, that is Cody talking," so disturbing and cool all at the same time. 
 To celebrate his 16th Birthday, this year, we did "16 Days of Cody's Favorite Things!"  Every morning when he woke up, there was a little gift for him from someone in the family.  Each of his brothers and sisters took a day to bless him.
Here is a sampling of his gifts:
Eat More Chikin!

 Cody has become quite the magician with his card tricks 

 I think he enjoyed waking up each morning to a different treat!
 On his Birthday, we had a family meal of pizza
 and his favorite, mint chocolate chip ice cream
He also got his first very own smart phone, an iPhone 5C. 
He was pretty surprised
Getting it all set up.
 He also went to a movie with some friends to celebrate.
In the months of Sept. and Oct., he and Rick participated in a "Passage to Manhood" group with some other friends and their dads.
 Their time ended with a weekend retreat and ceremony
 It turned out to be a great opportunity for some meaningful connections and conversations between Rick and Cody and their friends.
The word that was given to the moms at the Passage to Manhood Ceremony by the leader was "Release."  That is what I feel like this stage with you is all about.  I have been a part of every moment of your life over the years.  I have poured into you.  I have taught you.  I have disciplined you.  I have loved you with everything I have.  Now, I must trust in that foundation that we have built and release you to be the man God has made you to be.  I would be lying if I didn't say that it is hard for me.  I kind of like to be in control.  BUT, that is not about you or my lack of trust in you.  It is about me adjusting to this new role in your life and struggling through all the emotions that involves. As the oldest, you always get to be the one we figure this stuff out with.  I know that is a hard place to be and you get the brunt of the mistakes that we make.  I am sorry for that.  I want you to know that I am proud of you.  You are a strong man.  You are the hardest worker I know.  You have a soft spot for those that are different and left out and you seek to include them.  You are not swayed by other's opinions and aren't afraid to stand up for what you believe in.  You are hilariously funny.  You are very articulate and can see things others can't see.  You have a maturity about you that your life and struggles has developed and fostered in you.  I cannot wait to see the man that you become.  I pray that you will "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."(Prov. 3:5-6)  I love you, my firstborn son.

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