Thursday was the last day of school in 2010 for Charlie, as for many school children. Having been unable to sleep until 2am the night before, he was extremely groggy in the morning, dragged himself out the front door, and slammed the back car door shut after I had opened it at the Big Autism Center. I grabbed his book bag and the box of candy to pass out to his teachers and therapists and many others and, after opening his door a bit, started walking towards the entrance. I heard the thump of Charlie shutting the car door and then he was hurrying in besides me.
It was a good day. He had gym and a little party in his classroom and they watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. At home, Charlie had his usual big snack/post-lunch meal and then wanted a bike ride. He and I alternated between standing on the sidewalk looking towards the direction of the train station ten minutes away and running inside our house to warm up. When Jim texted me he was walking home, I made sure that Charlie knew, so he was on the sidewalk waiting to greet Jim (and request that he put on his yellow jacket and bike helmet). There was a brisk wind but they still rode for quite a few exhilarating miles.
And now it's the holidays, not a favorite time of the year for us and other families with children on the spectrum. Charlie goes back to school January 3rd and really just has a little over a week off which is all for the good, disruptions to the usual routine---in particular, school being closed---not being easy for him.
Thursday night, the everything of knowing he is on vacation, the fun but unusualness of family visiting for the holidays, lots of good things to eat, a lack of sleep for most of the past several days: From or with or because of all of this, Charlie went from smiling to worried to tense to stomping up and down with great force and running powerfully around the house and up and down the stairs.
He was in distress and we urged him to put on his sweatshirt and shoes and no sooner was the door open then Charlie had zoomed out of it, vocalizing loudly---which was good, as I, once I had yanked on my boots, knew quite well where he was.
Charlie ran to the field a block away from our house and kept running, me running too and glad as ever that I had decided to run cross-country years and years ago in high school. Jim pulled up in the white car near the elementary school Charlie first attended when we moved to this town. Charlie got right into the car, I stepped in a minute later, and we went home and Charlie, who we really need to get started running on a track to deal with his anxiety and taper off all of that energy, was cheerful and at ease. He listened to music and rummaged in the refrigerator and then took himself up to bed.
Not great, not easy, though with a very pleasant ending.
Much better than a year ago when we spent the better part of the day after Christmas at the ER.
As you probably guessed, we will be spending our share of time out of doors this holiday break. I have a new idea for a visual schedule and we'll see how it goes.
It's Camp Charlie, holiday session, right?
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