Cody (life lessons he taught me)
I like people watching. I am sure this is attributed to my Sociology background since I learn a lot from watching social interactions. The beach was the perfect place to do so as I sat back in my lounge chair during our time at North Myrtle Beach.
That’s where I noticed Cody. It wasn’t his real name but he sure looked like a ‘Cody’. What drew me to him initially was his 20 something year old dad who walked with ease as he carried their beach gear to a designated spot on the sand 20 feet in front of us. He had perfectly shaped shoulder length loose curls — his hair the epitome of what curly hair should look like. I yelled out, “Hey dude, you have awesome hair” to which he replied, “Thank you”. He resembled a young version of a Grateful Dead fan, a constant hippie with a cool stride and multiple tattoos. Then his french braided wife/girlfriend with mirror tinted sunglasses followed with two other kids, a five year old boy who disappeared quickly into the beach crowd and an infant girl with a white bow on her bald head whom she carried on her hip. A young family — a happy looking one at that.
But Cody was who caught my eye the most. He couldn’t have been more than two years old. He seemed fearless but also cautious as he roamed the shore line of the beach. I had been standing nearby soaking in the sun with my legs two feet deep into the water when I noticed him. At first I was mesmerized by his calm demeanor. When my son was his age, he was all over the place. I remember I couldn’t take my eyes off him or else he would be climbing a fixture in the house or if outside, he’d run so fast ahead of me I wouldn’t be able to spot him. He had so much energy that when I retired to bed every night, I’d be wiped out.
But Cody was different. After a few minutes of watching him take in the water pouring up to his feet and drawing back to the ocean, that’s when I realized his parents weren’t nearby. When I looked ahead to where they settled in on the sand, I saw his mom feeding his baby sister and his dad was no where to be found.
I admit, I was an overprotective mom when my children were little, as was my mom, but Cody was young. I wasn’t even sure if he could swim. I mentioned it to my husband who agreed it was not safe to leave Cody alone. But that’s when I started to look at the situation differently.
The more I watched Cody wander along the edge of the ocean that floated back and forth on the shore, I sensed his understanding of how great the ocean is. He seemed so collected, almost as if he carried an old soul inside. I began to understand why his parents let him be. I became jealous and worried because I never extended the same freedom to my children, as a result, they would not grow up the same way Cody will.
I imagine him becoming an entrepreneur, taking chances on life and not being afraid to experience challenges. To love and be loved. To fall and get back up again. To see things differently than most people do, and I am most people.
It brought a different perspective to mind. As my children go through their teenage years, I realize I need to release the reigns more. It’s so hard and I struggle with this. I don’t want them to suffer, hurt, or be sad. But that is how we learn the ways of the world. That is how we grow stronger. That is how we realize our potential and what we are capable of doing. What we are meant to do. How we shape our own lives.
They still have a chance. They may be older than Cody, but their hearts are still young. They have the the ability to feel invincible and act upon it. I only pray they will persevere, survive and be successful in whatever life has in store for them. And they will learn to mold their future with endless possibilities and in their favor — they way Cody views it. Taking life in with open eyes and confidence.
I am thankful to have come across a young being such as him, he’s made me see life differently. To welcome it without fear and hesitation.
We only have one life. Let’s live it to the fullest. Be fearless.