Happy Birthday Charlie
This is About Headbanging (Though There's No Headbanging In It)

Three Days of Birthday and Then Back to Business

We certainly did not intend to celebrate Charlie's 17th birthday for three days in a row, especially given his historical need for lowkeying birthdays.


But his school had planned to have a prom on May 16th.

As revealed in all the photos I post here, Charlie likes to stick to the same clothing choices -- t-shirts and floppy shorts or pants (they're the same brand, the only difference being the pants are, of course, longer). For the prom, we got him a bow tie and a nice white shirt, which he had nicely tucked in when Jim and I showed up at a local Marriott Courtyard.

Some of the students work at this hotel (folding towels, etc.) and the hotel donated a room and  food (spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread and salad -- no, Charlie didn't eat any of it which was okay from the perspective of his wearing a white shirt).

Charlie was on the dance floor when Jim and I arrived, doing a little two-step with one of the aides.

He wanted to leave about 5 minutes after we arrived then stayed for an hour and 15 minutes and lots of photos (one with the whole group including staff, the school principal and some parents) -- long enough for us to have a nice chat with lots of people.

The next day was Charlie's biking birthday party. An old friend of Jim's (we're talking high school) who now lives nearby wanted to try a ride but could only come in the morning so he showed up around 11 with his bike, Jim got out the bikes, Charlie came outside barefoot and said no.

Jim and his friend took a quick ride around the block. Charlie darted out of the house on seeing them and again said no and wouldn't budge from the front yard as Jim and his friend tried another ride. I got Charlie to go inside (memories of some overly long waits in our New Jersey front yard are still fresh) and after I had sat down and Charlie had planted himself in the middle of the living room he said "Berkeley ride." I called Jim and he and his friend came right back and Charlie biked off..... after Jim's friend had kindly assented to ride off by himself first and around the corner.

I prepped some food for Charlie's imminent party and my parents appeared. Jim and Charlie came back after a good ride but Jim's friend had stopped to get a bite to eat and Charlie kept calling for him so off Jim and Charlie went to find him. There was a very anxious bit when Charlie wouldn't leave the restaurant where Jim's friend was until he had finished. But they all came back together in good order and Charlie offered several shakes and serious looks and "byes" at his new friend, who drove off with a wave.

Then my cousins, aunts and uncles, sister and her partner and some more friends arrived. Charlie went to the door for the first few guests. He stood in the living room with everything and everyone then sat in his brown chair with his head down. 

Did Charlie sleep through his whole party, even when my mom put the cake with candles lit in front of him and a friendly young guest placed some presents in his lap?


Did Charlie wake up after everyone was gone and ask for a bike ride?

Yes, assuredly. It was a particularly fine one, with order regained (and the stress of having parties in your honor) past. 

When he and Jim returned, I opened Charlie's presents -- in past years, I've kept them around unopened in the hope Charlie would open then himself but this year, I thought it best to get the deed done (because birthdays are good but they need to end). Charlie's old school in New Jersey had made and sent him a wonderful  card, signed by all old teacher, aides and all the students who were in a photo on the front of the card --  Charlie took several good, long interested looks at his old classmates when I showed it to him.

Sunday morning, Charlie was very cheery as we drove through San Francisco and down to the Crystal Springs reservoir (where, yes, I ran a great cross country race in high school) to the trail that Jim, after discovering it midweek, had been enthusing over, and deservedly.

There was beautiful blue water, a flat trail, no dogs or animals allowed, and glorious woodlands for eight sunny Sunday miles.


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