Charlie has been accepted into the big autism center. We will be meeting with the director and Charlie's case manager next week. I learned about this when I checked the voice mail on my office phone as Jim was driving Charlie and me for a quick diner dinner. I was due at the Newark Airport for a 7.05pm flight to San Francisco: Ngin Ngin's funeral is 9am this Saturday morning. Afterwards she will be laid to rest beside Yeh Yeh, my grandfather, on a mountain that looks west towards the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and (as my dad has so often said to me) all the way back to China. We didn't dawdle at the diner. It's become wintry in New Jersey, with a cold rain. Not sure if Jim and Charlie will be able to make it out on their bikes this weekend while I'm gone, let alone kayak (though Jim noted that, should Charlie call out "kayak, yes," they will likely " be the twosome in the only vessel bobbling through choppy Barnegat Bay"). San Francisco, where I flew into around 10.30pm, was known as Old Gold Mountain to the Chinese who emigrated from Toisan in Guangdong Province. That's where Ngin Ngin and Yeh Yeh were from; that's where, in a kind of ultimate way, I'm from. San Francisco got that moniker because the Chinese who came over were, like so many others, in search of gold and riches (California was also called "Gold Mountain"). They didn't exactly find gold: Many found more hardship, and loneliness, and sorrow, and suffering, than they might ever have imagined---and many struggled through it all, and (like Ngin Ngin and Yeh Yeh) made it, though the road was often rough and rocky. I guess you could say we've been on a similar road so often in our life with Charlie. When times get tough (as they have been), it goes without saying, it helps me a lot to think of what Ngin Ngin and Yeh Yeh endured. There are times when I know that Jim and I just need to put our heads down, set our shoulders straight, and keep pushing, keep plodding, onward. As I got out of the car at the airport, Charlie looked at Jim and me and said "No. No." I opened the back door and gave him a fast kiss and one to Jim, and grabbed my bags. I'll be back with them tomorrow, Sunday morning; back on the long road together.
I can hardly wait: Life with my best friends of us is just too good to miss.