Adventures Of Fatherhood

new fatherhood headshot

There was a time when separating from our kids was a challenge.

For them and for us, parting was indeed sweet sorrow, but those days seem to be long gone now for all of us.

I got to thinking about this after dropping Beckett off at day camp at Ocean Pines this week. Before I could even sign him in on the first day, he was through the door and kicking the ball with a new friend he had just met. I have heard these conversations before and I always enjoy opportunities to witness his extroverted nature.

I watched him approach the boy. He tapped him on the shoulder and went into his usual opening, saying, “I’m Beckett, want to be friends?” The boys then did what boys do — acted goofy together for a couple minutes, pulling off some spins and kicks in some sort of homage to the “Power Rangers” before Beckett fell over the ball. I tried to interrupt and give him a kiss and hug goodbye, but all I managed to get was air because he was gone.

Later in the week a similar situation played out. He ran through the doors while I was talking with an instructor. When I poked my head in, I was able to see him sitting on the bleachers talking with a group of his fellow campers. I waved a couple times to let him know I was taking off, but got nothing back, so I left happy that he was clearly having fun already and trying not to accept the fact I was being ignored.

I couldn’t help but recount how difficult it used to be leaving him places when we had to work or go out of town. It was tough for all us. He never wanted us to leave him, and we felt tremendous guilt having to do so at various times. I will never forget the first couple weeks of his first day care experience. It was torture to leave him and then look back to see him crying his eyes out while screaming and reaching for us.

Nowadays, he is excited for just about everything he does, whether it’s school, daycare, camps, sports or even sleepovers. If it’s with us, that’s fine. If it’s not, that’s cool as well. It’s a good thing and a sign of maturation, but there’s a small part of me that misses those days when he would cry and throw a fit about being apart.

While this has been going on for some time now with Beckett, 6, it seems Carson, 4, is progressing down a parallel path. He no longer seems to mind going on by himself to whatever he may be doing.

In fact, during music class this week, he flung the door open with all too rough of an aggression and sprinted back to the instructor before I could even close the door behind him. He did manage a wave and pointed toward the chair he wanted me to sit in and signed for me to wait there for him. He meant serious business.

Due to his younger age, this independence has been a little slower in coming, but there is no doubt he is becoming more and more like his brother in that regard. The first day of pre-kindergarten next month will test that for sure, however.

Of course, back to the music class, I did as he asked and patiently sat in the chair for him to finish. He thought that was quite funny when he found me afterwards sitting exactly where he requested. He seemed empowered.

 

Beckett started a new chapter in his karate career last week — sparring.

Consequently, a heaping dose of entertainment comes our way on Thursday nights.

First there was the process of suiting him up for it. Since there’s no way he can sit in his booster seat in the car with all the equipment on, most of the gear has to be put on at the place. However, before we left the house, I did put on his cup. That was funny for a number of reasons, most of which consisted of a lot of locker room humor. His first of many questions, referring to the cup itself, was, “man, why that thing is huge compared to my privates?” I had not prepped for that question, which was then followed up with concerns over his particular body part being substandard in magnitude. I muttered something about not worrying about it, that he would grow into it soon enough and the cups are made overly big intentional.

Once he had his gear on, the sight of him in all his gear and struggling to move in the first place was definitely photo worthy. He looked like a junior version of a talking Michelin man. However, due to his mouth piece, all you hear are mumbled words. Additionally, since it’s longer than usual right now, his hair flows out of the helmet in several places. That just adds to the humor.

Finally, there is the actual sparring. Last week was his first session and he was extremely excited about it. In fact, I think he forgot everything has learned in karate.

While he would mix in a couple kicks here and there, most of the time he was looking to land a haymaker. He would begin and then raise his right arm high, trying to bring his hand down on his opponents’ head. Aside from looking strange (but funny), he would leave himself open to be kicked or punched by his opponent.

For some reason, every time he was hit, he would fall down in a theatrical way, confirming his usual dramatic tendencies. He would then get back up, raise his arm high above his head and again look to land the big one.

A few times I heard him mutter to his opponent through his mouthpiece, “Sorry if that was too hard. You okay? Go ahead, hit me back and I will fall down for you.”