Tuesday was Transition Day with a capital T: It was Charlie's last day of being home on his week off between school ending and summer school/Extended School Year beginning and it was the last day of my parents' visit. He didn't ask to go to the ocean; on our visit Monday, I sensed that he knew it was time to 'get back to the usual usual,' as Charlie did not ask to ride the rides and requested just to head home after a short swim.
He woke around 8am and off he and I went for a pleasant morning walk followed by a superfast 10 mile bike ride (yes, all of his bike rides have become superfast, as Jim will tell you). I needed to run some errands and Charlie wanted a ride and my dad came along too.
Soon as Charlie was in the car he started to ask for 'put in,' as in put a video into a VCR. We no longer have a VCR and very few videotapes but last Wednesday, after he had his blood drawn at the hospital, the lab staff let him take two videos home. We got rid of all the kid TV show videos that Charlie used to watch, rewind, and fast forward obsessively years and years ago; when VCR broke, there was no need to replace it. As Charlie kept gesturing out the window Tuesday morning while saying 'put in,' it occurred to me that he was pointing in the general direction of the hospital and that he wanted, or was saying he wanted, to go there to 'put in' the videos into a VCR.
We didn't go. We do have to be at the hospital at 6am next Thursday when Charlie has dental surgery scheduled so it's good that Charlie has some way of referencing the hospital; I talked about the hospital as a place where you go when you're really sick and for surgery, and that there are (sometimes) videos there. With Charlie clamoring and pointing away in the back seat, we went to the pharmacy and the bank and drove back home where Charlie got out of the car and didn't talk about videos for the rest of the day.
But a Transition Day is not over till it's over.
In the afternoon we went to the cemetery to bring flowers to Grace, my mother-in-law. There was not vase yet for the flowers so we placed a lavender and purple lily atop the shiny letters reading GRACE M. FISHER. Charlie has often visited the cemetery in Oakland, California, where my grandparents, great-grandparents, great uncles, and many other relatives are buried; it's on a hillside with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The mausoleum across the street from the YMCA we used to belong to is a quite different setting for a cemetery; it must have all been a lot for Charlie to absorb especially as I think he had come to associate 'visiting Grandma' with seeing her in the nursing home. We also stopped at the pond where a little boy from the condominium complex we used to live in died on Sunday and left some flowers.
All of that was a lot—a lot of emotions, of places that we all have deep memories of. On the way back, Charlie started rocking in the car and moaning some and asked to stop at a local hamburger place. When he got out in the parking lot, he ran a straight and fast line, Jim and me behind him. Charlie really didn't want a burger; he must have been asking for it out of sheer nervousness. Jim drove towards home, Charlie's voice expressing every kind of worry and then everything overtook him and Jim stopped the car and we all got out on a street with houses on a slope and Charlie was not happy (no one was).
But we all got back in the car, and the car, with us in it, made it home.
And Jim got out the bikes, Charlie got the bike helmets, and my parents got pizza. And Jim and Charlie went on a bike ride.
Charlie didn't want any pizza when he got back. He listened to an album of Disney song samples on Amazon and was understandably distressed when we went to the various albums we've been listening to samples from and none of those were available. I Googled this and that and ended up going to Pandora, where a fast search brought up an entire song from the very album Charlie was looking for. He smiled as the familiar lilting melody came on and sat listening to the entire song. After which he looked at me and said 'Bedtime' and up the stairs he went.
It being a Transition Day (and Charlie having taken a noontime nap), he came back down and wanted a walk. Jim kindly obliged him and my parents met them on the way back and Charlie went straight to bed after returning. He was all smiles and cheeriness and I thought of how one severe neurological storm as he'd had in the middle of the day used to render the whole day 'gone' and now here we have our sweet lovely boy being, yes, smiley and cheery even after some disappointments (how dare you take down those samples, Amazon?); even after everything.