As Charlie and I were on the second of three walks in malevolently hot weather so that he ran in spurts growling and unintentionally gave an elderly man on a walk a bit of a shock (I was unable to deliver the 'he's autistic' speech because Charlie was running and I cannot keep up with him but I keep a steady pace and eventually catch up, though no time to stop to talk) -- I remembered spending nearly every afternoon from June through August at the town pool.
And of course, all those trips to the beach and Charlie's glorious swims.
He has absolutely zero interest in the town pool now. We have instituted a moratorium on the beach: With Charlie a far better swimmer than both of us to the point that he is puzzled about the ruckus raised when he swims out too far, ocean visits have increasingly becomes anxiety experiences for all of us. The long ride home, sandy and a bit sun-stroked (even after liberal doses of sun screen) was dreaded by all three of us. I suspect some of the screaming and biting and grabbing and banging happened in part because Charlie was semi-delirious from the water in his ears, the sand on his skin (the public showers just didn't do the trick), the pains in his stomach from beach food and the heat.
It is sad to have given up the ocean, at least for now, and it is not so sad.
The ocean was where a young Charlie gloried and showed all he could do. He was never disabled in the water.
You could say he has outgrown it, and swimming pools. Since there is a common perception that kids like Charlie are teenage shells with toddlers within, it is a huge thing that Charlie doesn't feel the same about the ocean and the beach. He does not ask to go.
And now he has bike riding.
22 miles on Saturday including 16 on the Jersey horse country bike trail in summer heat. Yes, Charlie (and Jim and I) get a workout! But, last year, swimming in the ocean wasn't giving Charlie that.
The ocean is always there and maybe it will become part of our lives again, someday.
We'll see where Charlie leads us..