21 Miles and Sunshine All the Way
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Things You Never Forget

You'll perhaps be relieved to know -- at least, Jim and I were relieved -- Sunday did not, as had the Sunday before, involve any out-to-sea adventures.

But Charlie was thinking of them. He awoke at 3.30am and started calling for the beach.

He was extremely good about staying in his room and using his iPad for some hours. Last year he would probably have called for, or needed, a very early morning walk to fill the time. I suspect we as a family have become over-reliant or -dependent or just -attached to the iPad but, much as I like walking with Charlie, it's nice to be semi-sleeping at 4.30am rather than finding yourself out and about.

Around 7am we set the Giant Timer iPad app for an hour. Charlie started making his preparations, loading the boogie board and beach bag into the back of the white car and putting on his swimsuit. We explained, without pressing too hard, that he could only do so with lifeguards. Charlie didn't get agitated to hear this, or when we talked about instead going to Liberty State Park and ride bikes around the Statue of Liberty.

What Charlie said 'no' to was taking tbs boogie board out of the car and changing from his swimsuit. We shrugged 'no prob' about both and headed to Jersey City.

And Jim and an eager to be abike Charlie had a fabulous nine mile ride, past lady Liberty snd through some new parts of Jersey City they hadn't seen (via bike or car) before.

And, a few minutes after getting home in the early afternoon, Charlie wanted to ride again. Jim was game and they rode sixteen miles more, passing through five different towns.

In other words, it was almost a 50 mile biking weekend.

After the second ride, Charlie took his boogie board and the beach bag out of white car and changed into shorts. We spent much of the rest of the day around our house, Charlie in his room or in our front yard. We tend to be constantly on the go, so all this time just spent around our house was very welcome.

Towards evening while on a walk, Charlie stopped in his tracks and didn't budge. He grabbed my arm for a moment and then stood still again, and then resumed walking. He had barely napped despite such an early, early rising, and, at the moment he stopped, we were right by the elementary school that he first attended when we moved to our town in 2003. It is a site of very many memories, including some in which I over-earnestly tugged at Charlie's arm to move on. 

Our boy is a boy of many, many feelings and feelings, and frustrations, must be expressed.

The moment passed and we walked. I also thought of how easily Charlie had seemed to accept not going to the beach. At day's end, perhaps his thwarted wish had returned to irk him. 

Sometimes when we walk past the school, we see a group of kids just Charlie's age hanging out together. They often look startled at seeing Charlie pass (perhaps also because he has his iPad blasting away at full volume with either Disney songs or something from the Kinks Kronicles). He and Jim and I have such good times together but there is no hanging out with peers and commiserating about adolescent woes with other kids for Charlie.  I do think he likes to be around the other students at his school, but all of those children have challenges as Charlie does, and there are limitations to interactions. 

Charlie fell asleep just before 11pm. His iPad was on his bed, of course, and on the iPad a photo I recenty added when I was trying to revive the device when it got water in it. The photo is a favorite of all of us, showing Charlie sitting in one of the beach houses we used to rent at the Jersey shore. The house was the second floor of a duplex and right on the ocean. We had two lovely summers there before deciding to rent elsewhere (the first floor occupants were not happy about Charlie's running around; they had a baby).

The summer we were renting elsewhere, we drove by to look for the house. But we did not see it. Jim checked the street and he and I agreed, the other houses on the street were the same. We slowly acknowledged that the fancy behemoth beach house before us had been built on the spot where our beach house had once stood.

Charlie had had that photo of him sitting in a white wicker chair, wearing an orange shirt, blue shorts, and glasses prism lenses while eating a banana, often on his iPad all weekend. 



Maybe Charlie knew he was in over his head (snort) and secretly relieved with the life guard decision. We all need boundaries! Loved the bike riding video great view of the city, and your motherly voice saying bye says it all.


We've found the IPad helps us with the middle of the night wakings, too. My husband downloaded some free Sesame Street Podcasts, and they give us a chance to sleep past 4:30 on quite a few mornings.

Looks like a beautiful spot for a bike ride.

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