We had much more of an adventure than we usually have been attempting on Sunday. We had made plans to meet a friend from Philadelphia in a river town on the Delaware after Charlie and Jim had done a 16 mile bike ride on a lovely bike path, last visited in September.
Charlie was a bit on the grim side as we drove on not the usual route, and for far longer than we do for our usual Jersey horse country rides. He started smiling on the last stretch of the ride and was very eager to get on his bike and go on a lovely sunny, and warm for November, day.
After the ride, we had a nice, if noisy, walk on the bridge over the Delaware that separates New Jersey from Pennsylvania and then, after getting some sandwiches (though not for Charlie, as he does not eat sandwiches -- aftereffect of years on the gluten-free casein-free diet) and walking back to the car. Charlie sat in the car by his preference as we talked, getting out to shake hands with our friend and say bye.
He started crying not exactly out of the blue as we drove home. We counted multiple anxiety-inducing factors: impending holidays, impending visit of my parents, emotions after seeing our friend and after going to a place he'd been to years ago, stomach pain, being hungry (the little river towns had lots of nice places to eat but not the sort of places that are to Charlie's liking and it wasn't the moment to try to get him to eat something he's not used to), encountering about 20 motorcycles all revving their engines at once.
He stopped crying gradually, but he remained distressed. The sight of a McDonalds that we've gone to before and that was on our side of the road was a huge relief to all.
We got home fine, Charlie seemed to want to nap, couldn't, came downstairs, looked in the refrigerator, looked at us, got extremely upset -- it is indeed the season for holiday anxiety. We'd been anticipating a behavioral storm: Just having such a great day, having so many experiences can occasion a big response in Charlie.
After he was soundly asleep, it started raining, a change in the weather that Charlie must have also been sensing and discomforted by.
It was definitely still a very good day. In the past, I think we would have seen Charlie getting so upset as cancelling out the earlier part of the day, but we've come to see him doing so well and so much, and then having the storminess, as of a piece; as action and reaction that we toughed through together.
And yes, we intend to back to the bike path, and the river towns.