Adventures In Fatherhood

At the risk of sounding a bit sensational, there are days when I just have to wonder if life gets any better.

Sure, like everyone, I have concerns that dominate my thoughts at times (often resulting in migraines), but keeping all matters in their proper perspective keeps me level headed. A day last weekend did just that for me, and I owe it to my family.

Last Sunday was just an excellent family day. There were some ups and downs along the way, thanks in part to a few drastic mood changes by my 2-year-old Beckett, but, all in all, it was a wonderful and memorable day.

Unfortunately, it didn’t start so great. It began at 4:45 in the morning with the baby of the house, Carson, all out of sorts and seemingly ready to start the day. I blame it on teething.

Both Pam and I, on separate occasions, tried to go into his room and comfort him back to sleep. He would have none of that. All that did was make him laugh, which we didn’t find all that funny at the time. The more we tried to convince (maybe coerce) him back to sleep the harder he laughed.

He was up and that was that, and we just had to accept it.

A couple hours later, Beckett woke up in his usual jovial and energetic manner, which soared when we reminded him we were headed to the beach soon.

Like so many other kids around here, Beckett is going to grow up on the beach. Fortunately, he loves it at a young age and has no problem with the sand or anything else associated with it.

Last Sunday was just a picture-perfect weather day on the shore. It was sunny, not too hot, a great breeze and the beach was practically empty on Assateague.

Taking the family to the beach is not always a simple matter, but we have found driving on the OSV portion of Assateague makes it about as easy as possible. With two little ones, and a mess of things to pack, it’s perfect for us.

It provides a huge level of convenience and means no frequent hauls of beach gear from the vehicle to the beach.

As luck would have it, it was on this particular day that Carson truly sat on his own, with no help, for the first time. What made this unique was he was able to stay upright for minutes, rather than simply seconds, and was unsupported the entire time.

It was a camera moment and what a setting for that milestone for our littlest boy.

While looking through the photos later in the day, it was hilarious to note how random and different some of the shots were.

On one hand, there are dozens of photos of Carson sitting on the beach chewing on a toy and barely visible in the background is a blur of Beckett doing his own thing.

One particular photo is a favorite of mine and essentially sums up life with my kids.

There’s Carson sitting up on a blanket, and Beckett can be seen in the background dumping a bucket full of sand on his head. The next couple photos consisted of Pam patting the sand out of his hair and Beckett proceeding to repeat the same silly feat.

Although it was a tremendous day, there were some hairy moments, as usual. For the most part, they belonged to Beckett, who seems to have a serious case of the “terrible 2s” and can best be described at certain times as a rumbling, stumbling train wreck.

He’s just an emotional mess sometimes. His mood swings are unbelievable. There are extreme highs and lows. He can be sweet and nice one moment and then if you turn your head and divert your attention from him for a minute he will throw sand in your face. That actually happened. There’s nothing quite like that to test a parent’s patience.

On another occasion, while walking along the beach and seemingly having a great time, he went crazy on me when I stopped him from going too far into the ocean. He ran away about 15 feet, dropped to the sand, started kicking his feet, digging his head in the sand and came up with a mouth full of sand. It was all in his teeth and I’m sure he swallowed some.

That, naturally, resulted in a meltdown of huge proportions. Once settled, he sprinted back to the ocean and tried to do the same thing. The process repeated itself, with the exception that this time he didn’t go face first in the sand. He simply picked up two handfuls and tossed them my direction. When it didn’t get anywhere near me, he freaked out and had a meltdown once again.

In another instance, his lack of patience was on full display. There was a horseshoe crab washing ashore. The surf was bringing it close to us and then taking it back out. This tease drove him crazy, as he screamed, “crab, crab”. As I was trying to retrieve it from the ocean, he lost his cool and just took off running back toward his mom.

Eventually, I was able to get a hold of the crab and tried showing it briefly to him. Of course, he wanted nothing to do it with it then, as he had resumed his game of dumping sand all over his head.

These are just some of the reasons it takes me about two minutes to fall asleep when my head hits the pillow at night.

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