Finding a way for Charlie to be in the world, and a place in the world for him: This has become Jim's and my constant search.
In the past year and three or four months, Charlie has, it seems, made a transition that, though inevitable, he certainly wasn't asking for or anticipating. Though he's just over 12 1/2 years old and, developmentally, much younger than many children his biological age, Charlie has physically ceased to be a child, at least in the eyes of the world. And while he's not yet a teenager, he has gone through the physical changes of puberty, with his voice changing, the appearance of facial hair, and---the thing no one can get over---adding several inches and a lot of muscle to his frame.
Sometimes I feel as if (from this physical perspective), Charlie has gone from boy to guy/man and skipped whatever transitional part was inbetween. There has been no transition, no grace period, from boyhood into a big guy. While Charlie is still truly a child within, it often feels like he's been cast into a man-size body whose strength he's neither completely aware of, nor able to control. Aside from school and home, interior spaces seem booby-trapped with noises and clatter and voices and shelves of stuff; with people who Charlie--perhaps wishing to be social?--taps. I more than appreciate that, with Charlie around, we can get the last bottle of shampoo placed on the top shelf, even as I'm aware that the store seems smaller, its ceiling lower, when Charlie is present.
Saturday we went to see the ocean.
We ventured onto the beach.
Winter is the off-season at the beach.
Am now thinking, every season is beach season.
And this is Charlie running on the beach in the wind and cold, his expression telling us, he's home.