School ends next week for Charlie. He has had a few more incident reports in the past few weeks than he has for much of the year. I suspect he's anticipating the change to summer after a very, very good school year; he must know that he will not be having his regular school year teacher for the Extended School Year.
Usually at this time I am holding my breath before entering into mild freakout mode as, schoolboy that he is, Charlie is not please to find himself 'free' for some days. That time has been shortened as, due to Hurricane Sandy, the break between school and ESY had to be cut to make up for school days lost (when his school had no power), so Charlie only has 5 days plus the weekend off.
And, due to his summer camp offering an extra week prior to the start of the summer camp season, Charlie will have a place to go for a few days before summer school starts.
Yes, we have only then to fret about the 3 weeks in August and early September when camp closes and his school starts! (And about Jim and me both having to return to the classroom at the end of August -- still figuring that one out.)
We once, till a few years ago, always spent the last 2 weeks of August in a rented beach house at the Jersey Shore. None of us has ever been interested in too much other of a summer vacation. Disney and such parks have not beckoned: For one thing, I am 75 percent sure Charlie would walk into such a place, ask for the ferris wheel, ride whatever one or equivalent we first came upon and ask to leave and head back home (skip the hotel we'd paid for), his idea of a day at an amusement park boiling down to 'I ride the selective few rides that tailor to my amusement park experience -- ferris wheel, swings, frog hopper, slide at the most -- and maybe we get a drink and we leave.'
Yes, that would be a couple hundred bucks for one ferris wheel ride and one soda, platinum rate.
At this time in his life, Charlie seems to find that the best vacation is as un-vacation-y as possible. All the school and camp time is good, intermixed with lots of bike rides and rides in the car around New Jersey.
We have been doing a bit more of the latter of late, mostly in Newark and bits of Essex, Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties. This is historical territory for Jim, where various of his relatives (especially on his mother's side) hailed from; he is always one to enjoy expanding his and our knowledge of local roads. For myself, I am quite pleased to have a better sense of how to navigate roads besides the Garden State Parkway, the NJ Turnpike and the interstate highways. Charlie has displayed an almost unerring sense of direction for which way we should be going: If he knows that home is west and a bit south of where we happen to be, he hastens to poke at Jim's right shoulder while proclaiming 'dis way, dad dis way!'
(I am using the phonetic spelling as Charlie does not quite say the th of 'this' and 'dad dis way' sort of blurs into one unit in his voicing of it.)
Some of these drives take us along the Passaic River where we have discovered a series of parks (many dedicated to Christopher Columbus) and, too, playgrounds. Charlie has been asking for 29 pushes on the swings, as is his habit. It given me reason to recall the hours and hours we used to spend in playgrounds in our town, the ones he is long done with. There are lots of good memories and some shadows, perhaps of the many times I urged him to break some stim-OCD-fixation routine and he could not.
At least enough to know what makes for a Charlie-, and therefore tight team o' three-, peaceful easy-feeling staycation.
(Until it's time for mega freakout mode at the end of August.)