Adventures In Fatherhood

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A picture can, and often does, say it all.

Surely, the one above does just that, and I can’t personally look at it without laughing and shaking my head.

Over the last couple years, many readers have requested I put a photo in this space of the kids, and I was waiting for the right moment. Well, here it is and maybe this time next year you will see them again.

This picture was taken earlier this month at Worcester Prep’s annual Holiday Bazaar.

My wife featured this photo, along with one taking a few minutes before the screaming and sour face incident occurred, on our holiday card this year.

This little excursion to Worcester Prep has become a family tradition for us, and Santa and Mrs. Claus have come to know us from our annual visits.

Fortunately, they, along with the volunteers at the school, happily allow us to jump on the sleigh for a family shot each year. However, it was never an outright scene until this year.

For our family, this shot is a true keepsake. It’s a memory that in a single photo captures the essence of life at this time in our lives.

It’s absolutely perfect that Beckett, a kid who wears his emotions on his proverbial sleeve and is sure to let all know how he’s feeling at any given time, would be the center of attention, and Carson, a classic introvert who seems to enjoy observing more than anything else, would be calm and quiet.

As you can tell, Beckett had a bout of the nerves when it came to Santa. He was fine strapped in his stroller looking at Santa from afar, but when the jolly one said hello to him the early stages of a big meltdown set in.

It got even more intense a minute after Pam sat him on her lap near Santa on the sleigh. She knew there was no way she could hand Beckett over to Santa. Therefore, I gave Carson to him and that went just fine. However, even sitting near Santa was enough to send Beckett into a tailspin that became worse the longer we were near him.

As a matter of fact, as soon as my wife let go of Beckett after a few anxious pictures, he sprinted out of the building altogether before I could catch up to him. He had enough of that and wanted away from Santa and the entire scene as soon as possible.

Along with Beckett’s face, which shows the depth of his unhappiness at that very moment, I can’t help but laugh at the rest of us.

There’s Carson on Santa’s lap, distracted by who knows what and as content as can be gazing off in the distance. The nice photographer was trying her best to get him to turn toward the camera, clapping her hands, snapping her fingers, all to no avail. He was in a daze and that was that. I even resorted to trying to pull his arm over toward me to get his head at least pointed toward the photographer. That was fruitless. He was uninterested in what we were doing and preferred to watch the people walking by.

As far as Pam and I, we donned our best fake smiles, trying to ignore our firstborn screaming at the top of his lungs and attempted to wiggle free. “There’s nothing to see hear,” kept flashing through my mind as people turned to see what was causing the screaming.

I am proud of us because I think we did a pretty decent job of feigning happiness at that very moment, despite what was going on inside.

As far as I’m concerned, the expression on Beckett’s face represents what I was feeling inside.

Within a few hours of the picture being taken, it was in a 2010 Christmas frame and on a shelf in the house, thanks to Pam.

Beckett continues to be obsessed with it, saying in his preferred third person voice, “Beckett’s crying”, as if we didn’t know that.

From my family to yours, here’s to hoping your holidays are filled with long-lasting memories and some laughs along the way.

One comment on “Adventures In Fatherhood

  1. I know you would not remember me….It used to be a joy in my life to have coffee @ Pam’s place.
    I DO MISS THAT. Now, I just go to the Starbucks just like back home.
    I just wanted you to know, Steve, that I always enjoy your paper and especially the Fatherhood articles. The photo shows me a good and happy family. Please say hello to PAM, and Happy New Year.

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