The funny thing about leaving the family behind for a trip is it only takes a couple minutes for everything to return to normal.
I went away last weekend to Charleston, S.C. for a guys’ weekend. It’s the first time since my kids were born that I have been away for two nights without Pam. It was a strange feeling of mixed emotions.
It was a wonderful little getaway with some treasured friends, but it was impossible to not think about the family at home. I found myself consistently looking at the time and wandering what Pam and the boys were up to, especially during Carson’s swimming lessons and Beckett’s soccer game on Saturday morning.
Thanks to cell phones, I was easily able to stay updated on what was happening on the home front and that helped with the mixed emotions of being away from the family.
I scheduled the early flight home on Sunday morning so I had some time with Pam and the kids before it was back to school and work.
After a couple minutes, I was back in the parenting groove and it was as if I had never left.
I had planned on jumping back in quickly to give Pam a break or at least time to shower. We spent the next couple hours outside playing together.
Because of the weekend shenanigans and the early-morning flight, my energy level was not what it usually is, but the boys didn’t seem to mind too much so long as we stayed outside and they were able to use me as the tackling dummy that I am at times.
Carson is the helper around the house.
In fact, I would much rather ask the 4-year-old of the house for help doing something than his 6-year-old brother.
Carson does so well with helping and carrying out certain tasks at times that I invent chores for him to do in times of misbehavior. Idle time is when Carson typically gets in the proverbial hot water.
For example, the other morning he was bouncing off the walls for some reason, and I had a pressing (selfish) matter at hand — making my morning coffee drink. I cannot leave the house without it.
Needing a break from preventing the 4-year-old from wrecking the house, I showed him a case of water in the corner and asked him to remove the packaging and neatly stack the bottles on the floor under a nearby table. He then went about doing exactly that in impressive and methodical fashion. Of course, he enjoyed knocking them over after he was done just as much.
Later in the week, I discovered once again that Carson is a wonderful grocery store shopper. His favorite part seemed to be pushing the cart and fortunately there were no major issues to report, but there were some close calls with fellow shoppers and some displays as well as some forgotten items as I tried to keep him in the center of the aisle and out of harm’s way.
When he wasn’t pushing the cart, he was grabbing items off the shelves and throwing them in the cart. It didn’t matter to him what it was he grabbed. He just wanted to fill up the cart.
For the most part, though, he was a huge help in every step of the way. At the checkout line, he unloaded all the items and signed for me to “stop” whenever I tried to add some items. He then patiently waited for the cashier to ring up the items and loaded the bags in the car.
When we got home, he insisted on helping unload the car and ordered me around in stern fashion. I played along, listened intently and followed his instructions, hoping that it might rub off a little bit on the most obstinate one of the house.
Laughing is therapeutic and fortunately living with Beckett provides plenty of it.
As I have mentioned in the past, getting information from our first grader about how school is going can be tricky. There are days when he spills a lot of information and other times when it’s difficult.
One recent afternoon he was quite chatty about school, and I think it had something to do with the milkshake date we had at Rayne’s Reef.
Beckett was waxing poetically about how he wished his class had more boys and wandered why there were so many girls in his class. He is definitely at the age that he prefers hanging out with his fellow guys and seems kind of annoyed by girls in general. When I tell him that will not always be the case, I get an eye roll of disbelief.
During our milkshake chat about the boy-to-girl ratio, Beckett out of nowhere started talking about a classmate in his class and relayed a conversation they had earlier that day.
“We were talking about cool kids, and she said I was cool, but not as cool as I was last year in kindergarten,” he told me.
Before I could comment, he added, “I told her that’s impossible.”
When I asked what happened next, he said he just walked away.
He then went on explaining how bothered he was by the comment, saying, “come on, there is no way that me as a first grader is not cooler than me as a kindergartner.”
I just sat back and nodded in agreement.