Friday, August 29, 2014

Baby you can drive my car...

16th birthday's are milestone birthdays.
A big deal for a teen.
For most teens turning 16 means one thing - driving!!

For our family it is a reminder of one of the things that Jared will most likely never be able to do.
He did not make a trip to the DMV to get a license today.
As a matter of fact, that is probably something he will not ever do.

But autism or not, he wants to do the things that other 16 year olds want to do. 
We know he wants to drive.

Several years ago he watched the re-released movie Herbie the Lovebug. 
If you have seen that movie, you know that Herbie (the car) can drive all on his own - no human needed.
Since that time, Jared had told us that he wants to have a "Herbie car".

About a two years ago, we saw a VW bug in the Walmart parking lot, painted just like Herbie.   Jared's eyes lit up!  He lit up!
In that moment, he saw something from a movie as a reality!
Maybe he saw the reality of being able to drive!

And he began to save his money to buy a Herbie car. 
He has a box in his room in which he saves his "Herbie dollars".  Most of them are $1 bills and if you ask him he will tell you he needs $20,000 to buy his Herbie car. 

Jared showed us once again how much like other teens he is.
He also showed us how aware he is of his strengths and his needs. 

He wants to drive.  Most likely he wants that same type of independence that all teens begin looking for. 
And he came up with a solution to be able to do that.  He decided a car that can drive itself is what he needs.

So we wait on the Google Car, which in reality could offer those with disabilities an option for transportation and independence.  A "Herbie car" that can drive itself may actually be a reality in the near future.

Last night, on Jared's 16th birthday, we gave him the opportunity to try his hand at driving.  We filled up two cars and a motorcycle with friends and family and headed over to Windy Hill to drive Go Karts. 

We had no idea what Jared would do.
Would he decide he did not want to do this?
Would he have a meltdown?
Would he crash his Go Kart into the side or into someone?
No idea - we had never tried anything like this before.

So everyone strapped in and the light turned green. One row at a time the Go Karts took off.

And when it was Jared's turn ---
he pressed the gas and took off!

He didn't go as fast as everyone else - but he drove.  And each time he came around the track I heard "WOOO HOOO"!!

Thank you Jared for continuing to show us that are capable of way more than we often give you credit for. 
And thank you for the immense JOY you bring to every situation.
Last night from the pizza, to you celebrating each person who was with you, to how excited you got over every tiny little thing, to driving that car - you were happy! 
And anyone that saw you couldn't help but be happy too!

Happy 16th birthday baby boy!