Soft Landing (#442)

“Schoolboy can’t sleep too well,” Jim said after checking on Charlie at 11.20pm. I had tucked him in with his schedule strip, at the bottom of which are the photos of the “yallow school bus” and his school, or rather of his new school. Charlie has the same teachers and classmates, but will be in a different school building, in another part of our town.
Charlie’s summer has come softly to the end—-“summer” feels as if it has been over ever since we returned from the beach not even two weeks ago. It has rained almost every day since we returned but the sun did come out today, just in time for Charlie and my parents to make a trip to a small local zoo, ride the train, look at a large turtle and some penguins and (my dad made very clear) “a biiiiiig snake!”

Historically, Charlie has had a tremendous amount of difficulty with the transition from their coming and going and my parents and I had strategized a vigorously upbeat yet matter-of-fact tone to their departure tomorrow. We all talked frequently about school starting and recited the names of Charlie’s teachers and my dad laughed and said “We’ll be back!” Charlie joined in, rocking on his rocker.

When this summer began, Charlie had just started school in our new district and my every other thought was to be sure that his transition was as smooth, or not too rocky, as possible. There were the usual messy moments complete with flying fries, rice, and hamburger pieces and tears and yowls. There were movies. There were piano lessons: Since he started his lessons back in June, Charlie is learning to read music and can play some simple tunes; as of Sunday, he is learning to play with more than one finger. He was filled with anxiety prior to vacation at the ocean (I was too) and while there were moments when we thought we might have to cut our stay short, from his swimming and body-surfing to making tentative friends with a girl named Kristina and three young girls, Charlie’s summer was full of sweet unexpectedness.
Charlie has been asking for “Charlie computer—turn on!” “see moo-vee” “musix”—-to see a slideshow of photos on the computer. The oldest of the photos goes back to fall of 1999 in St. Paul; the pictures cycle through dinner with Barney, birthday parties, ocean visits, a former therapist’s wedding, Halloween, Charlie’s old classrooms, sledding in fields of snow, bike rides with Jim, swimming in the pool. A few nights ago I had turned on some new-agey music set to nature sounds—rain, running water—to accompany the photo show and Charlie has been asking for “musix” ever since. Seeing so many images of a younger Charlie—especially the pictures from a year and a half ago when he started to struggle so much at school and at home—Jim and I have had the occasional sigh.

Not so much for “where did it all go,” as “think we made it so far—-next!.”

Here’s to future segments of Charlie’s story.

(He fell asleep just before midnight.)

3 Responses to “Soft Landing (#442)”
  1. tara says:

    If I wasn’t able to fully empathize with the dyregulation that kids like Charlie and Owen feel, I can now. So much new information coming at them, new faces and new surroundings and new expectations and then the school bell rings and they forgot where they put their backpack and someone is pulling on their arm to guide them inside the classroom.
    Life’s stereo, every day.
    I have had so many balls in the air for the past few days, mixed with so many messy emotions… I can only imagine trying to make decisions and put one foot in front of the other with no way to filter out the sensory overload that bombards all of us continually.
    Charlie and Owen and all these kids like ours are brave indeed and heroes in their own right!!
    Safe travels to you and Charlie this week!! And thanks for cheering us on with our own back to school voyage.

  2. MommyGuilt says:

    Anxious to hear about how your parents’ departure went and about the rest of Charlie’s week at school. I’m still chronicalling our end of summer trip with SmallBoy. I should have been finished with it before, but I think it’s taken so long because it meant re-experiencing the one part of it that really and truly was painful.

    More importantly, though, is Charlie!!!!! Give him HUGE hugs for me (and tons for you and Jim, too!)

  3. kyra says:

    yes yes! here’s to more and more of charlie’s story!

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