Fatherhood Adventures

I never imagined how much 8 p.m. would mean to me.

There’s no way to say it without sounding cold but by the time this hour comes every night I am ready for my little toddler to go to bed. All you parents fully understand what I mean here. Parenting is exhausting.

My kids are the loves of my life (along with my wife, of course), and I enjoy and cherish every minute with them. They are the center of my life, and I would have it no other way. They mean everything to me.

With all that sappy disclaimer stuff out of the way, when 8 p.m. rolls around, it’s nighttime for Beckett, and there’s little negotiating involved. The good news is by that time he’s all set and ready to go to bed.

After his bath, milk and a dose of children’s Zyrtec to keep his allergies in check, Beckett usually sits in his “big boy” chair and watches Diego from 7:30-8 p.m. He typically mellows out and talks back and forth with his little explorer buddy throughout the show. I can’t help but get caught up and watch it with him. The routine continues with the opening theme song to the Backyardigans. He knows, as do his parents, that this catchy number signifies its time for bed.

Beckett is now at the age, 2 years old next Wednesday, that he likes sleep and he’s on board with bedtime. That makes things easy for all of us.

While my wife was at work on Wednesday, I had an experience with my little guy that had me recounting the story to her later, “as one of my proudest moments ever.”

I walked over to Beckett’s chair, asking him if he was ready for “night-night”, to which he clearly replied, “yes.” I grabbed a hold of his hand, despite the fact he never wants any part of that. He almost always yanks out of my grasp quickly and runs recklessly away with an evil laugh.

To my absolute amazement, he squeezed back this time and held my hand all the way upstairs to his room (of course, stopping along the way to smell some flowers, as he always does directly before bed, for some reason).

After finishing the nightly bedtime routine, Beckett quickly fell asleep, allowing me time to change out of my work clothes and relax for the night. As luck would have it, by the time I got downstairs, Carson, the 6-month-old, was uniquely articulating he was ready for a bottle. A half hour or so later, he was out for the night, not to be heard from again til about 6:30 in the morning. God bless that little boy. He can bang out a 10-hour-plus siesta like no other. He’s been a wonderful sleeper ever since he was 1 month old, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

It’s a little early to start Carson on the 8 p.m. bedtime, but I am secretly hoping for that day to arrive sooner rather than later. The thought of being able to put both my kids to sleep at the same time excites me.

You have to love a mom.

It’s opportune with their day coming up this weekend to honor all the mothers out there.

While I at times wonder why Father’s Day does not share the same recognition as Mother’s Day, there’s no disputing moms, generally speaking, are what hold families together and keep things running smoothly at home.

In many households, moms are what I call the MVPs (most valuable parents). They do the grunt work and handle aspects most dads are not aware even need to be done. I can’t go into specifics because I take it for granted what my wife does around the house, as I did with my mom when I was growing up.

From my experience, moms are different. They are instinctual and all those natural impulses lead them to tend to their kids in a unique way. The desire to ensure their kids’ well being is there at birth, and probably even from conception, and it never stops even as the kids become adults and have children of their own.

From my experience, moms worry, and its because of what lies inside their hearts. It’s love at its most pure and simple. They just fret over things. It’s their way.

None of this is to say dads are not the same way on some level. I like to think of myself as a doting father, sharing many of the same concerns as my wife, but moms and dads just see things differently.

For example, when I take my son to the park, I like to see my son go down big slides, standing by to observe his facial expressions, because it makes him so happy. On the other hand, his mom lean toward the side of caution, either holding his hand down the smallest slide at the park or anxiously waiting at the base of the slide. Although she wants him to have fun, it’s as if she can’t wait for him to be securely back at home.

Moms, or at least most I know and those in my life, tend to be more careful and contemplate commonplace matters. I’m happy that’s the way it is in my life.

I can’t speak for any other, but my primary preoccupation is keeping my boys healthy, happy and safe. I deal with the big picture. I focus on the generalities.

Moms, or at least in my wife’s case, want all the same things, but they deal largely in specifics, like checking the medicine cabinet to make sure none of the Tylenol or Motrin bottles were among those recalled this week or making sure my boys are stocked with the next size of clothes as they continue to grow. I don’t think about those things, and that’s why moms are so vital.

I count myself fortunate to be surrounded by amazing mothers, including my wife, my mom, my sister and my mothers-in-law. For all they do, Happy Mother’s Day to them and all the other moms out there.

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