Beachsick (#417)

From the time Charlie woke up, as he munched two green apples, and as he watched me laugh semi-hysterically at the size of the box of books and files that Jim was putting into the back of the black car before the bags of clothes, toys, sheets, towels, food, and the keyboard—it was the box that once held the Little Tykes table and chairs that Charlie did his first ABA lessons on—Charlie had one thing to say:

B’ue ocean!
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We got to the ocean around 3.30pm after stopping at three libraries to drop off books (one rather overdue). After a long swim on a day of perfect weather—-the water felt as warm as the air temperature, the water was ankle-deep for a long way out, the waves were big and lush but stlll broke gently—Charlie said “Grandpa, I need Grandpa,” and cried. He was sitting on the beach house’s faded rattan couch and crying after devouring fries and chicken with a dash of tartar sauce. Jim went to sit by him, called Grandpa (resulting in Charlie blubbering “goo’ night, Grannpa!” into the phone), and talked soothingly.

“Charlie’s homesick,” Jim said to his father.

I thought, were we back home with Grandpa, Grandma, and the nurse, Charlie would be beachsick.

And so we found ourselves saying, “We’ll be HERE for two weeks and then we’ll see Grandma and Grandpa!”

“Gramma Grappa,” sniffed Charlie.

In previous years we have done more build-up prior to going on vacation, counting the days, emphasizing the swimming and the ocean and the rides. In the past year, we have found more and more that if we talk too much in advance about some specific thing (my parents, Gong Gong and Po Po visiting), Charlie talks obsessively about that one thing to the point that his anxiety grows and even explodes. Hence we lowkeyed talking about vacation as we had talking about Charlie’s 9th birthday. And since Charlie has liked his new school so much, the very notion of vacation—i.e., “no school”—has been a cause for nervousness in him.

And so Jim and I have been given the bemusing task of making sure that Chalie enjoys his vacation. We plan to show him the joys of miniature golf, beach bike rides on rented bikes, lazy afternoons spent doing puzzles or dozing or sipping cold things, boat rides, evening walks on the sand. (Whatever results from our attempts, you can read it here.)
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The one place where Charlie’s smile came easy and automatic was when he was swimming the ocean—when he was back in his true element. With Jim beside or behind him, Charlie ventured out so far that he and Jim sighted sting rays—or some very large orange-brown fish. Charlie turned his back to the ocean, moved his arms, and body-surfed as the water foamed over his face.

If there is one place where Charlie is peaceful easy-feeling, it is in the ocean. Something about being back on dry land—terra firma—makes the frown return to his face, the knit to his brows.

And no, Charlie had no fear of that big fish, two swimmers at home in the ocean.

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Comments
7 Responses to “Beachsick (#417)”
  1. KC'sMommy says:

    Have a great super fun time Swimmer Boy Charlie! Sting Rays, that is so cool!

  2. Frog's Mom says:

    We know all about the power of water! Hope you have a great two weeks. Hope Charlie discoveres some new “Joys”.

  3. Right after some other swimmers saw the sting rays, they headed back towards the shore—-Charlie could have cared less!

    Water is a great and joyous power, indeed.

  4. Aspie Dad says:

    There is a lot of nice imagery in your post… I hope you all have a great vacation… 🙂

  5. Wade Rankin says:

    I can smell the salt air and hear the surf. I think I’m beachsick.

  6. Wish you were all here…… I really mean that!

  7. Kari says:

    Peaceful, indeed. What a wonderful experience to go to a place where Charlie feels comfortable and relaxed. The slow rocking of the waves and the exploration of the sea creatures put a smile on my face, too. Enjoy!

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