One of the things I really look forward to is getting together with friends and their families.
The summer provides these opportunities more than any other time of year for most of us around here, and I was fortunate enough to enjoy some days with some visiting friends I made during college last weekend.
In fact, one day we spent 11 hours on the beach and that will invariably go down as one of my favorite days of the summer.
Twenty years ago, myself and the four friends I spent much of the weekend with would head to the beach with nothing but a towel and spend most of the time in the ocean. After a couple hours of people watching, we would usually head out for some fun around the town.
Now, we each need to bring our own vehicles, complete with beach wheelies, coolers, boogie boards and the like, and we spend all day on the beach, teaching the nuisances of the ocean, building sand castles, digging holes and being the full-time pitcher for a game of whiffle ball.
Life is surely a lot more complicated now than it was back in our late-teen and early-20 years, but there is comfort and enjoyment in knowing that some of my closest friends are charting a similar course through life as me.
We still laugh all the time, but it’s just different. Rather than reflecting on the previous night’s shenanigans or how late so and so slept that morning, we laugh over the crazy things our kids say, how silly their antics can be and theories over why all of a sudden I woke up one morning with specs of gray in my chest hair.
We talk about the right age to take kids to Disney. We wonder why my 6-year-old has not lost a tooth yet. We talk about the intricacies of changing a dirty diaper on the beach. Opinions are expressed on why our 4-year-old son has been waking up at 4 in the morning to use the bathroom and will not go back to sleep.
It’s still entertaining conversation but just different in so many ways.
The measure of true friendship in my mind is not constant communication. It’s going weeks, months or even years without talking and just picking up right where you left off when together. I am blessed to have these bonds with many friends in my life, and it’s special to see our kids growing up together and enjoying each other.
When you have close friends like this with kids, you begin to look at their kids as relatives in many ways as you spend more and more time with them. The kids seem to feel the same way, asking about and for their little buddies often.
It’s a special dynamic and something to be cherished until sports, dance and other commitments monopolize the summer calendars. That’s why I don’t take it for granted, and these times will surely go down as one of my treasured memories from this summer.
Carson is not a “napper” anymore.
That has come with some hiccups along the way, but we think the 4-year-old is ready to forgo the naps for several reasons.
It’s mainly due to the fact on the days he naps he does not fall asleep until 11 at night, and nothing beneficial comes from having a kid his age up at that hour of the night. It’s not good for him and it’s most certainly not good for Pam and me.
Along with that is the fact he will be in afternoon pre-kindergarten in a couple short weeks and he needs to be ready to go the entire day without being a menace.
During this transition period, there have been a few days here and there when the poor boy is just exhausted in the late-afternoon hours, say between 4-6 p.m., and there are times when that results in some odd behavior. It’s almost as if his eyes are open but nobody is home inside. I recall a similar period of time when Beckett was going through this phase.
One example of his unusual behavior was last Saturday when Carson had just had too much fun in the sun. Along with looking a little bit sun kissed, it was becoming evident that he was just drained. We knew if we laid him down or put on a television show that he would be asleep in just a couple minutes. However, there can be no napping at 5 p.m.
Knowing that would only result in a middle of the night awakening, we tried to keep him busy in the pool. At one point, and it’s probably my fault, he got out of the pool and start wandering around. I should have known he was up to no good.
Before I could get to him, he managed to push an extremely heavy potted palm tree into the pool. While tending to the pool cleanup operation that involved dozens of dives to get as much of the dirt out as possible, Pam took Carson inside for a conversation about what transpired. Apparently, he laughed and laughed about it before falling asleep on the couch a little before 7 p.m. and slept for almost 12 hours.
Although it may not have been a pleasant one, it was a memory maker, and I can see us now reflecting, “remember that time Carson pushed the palm tree into the pool.”