Adventures Of Fatherhood

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When I saw it on the schedule, I knew I had to go along with Carson on his first field trip to a horse farm.

The kid’s love of animals is not reserved for any particular type, but he has a clear affinity for horses. If we are driving in the car and pass a horse, he’s always quick to bring it to our attention. When on the Boardwalk and a mounted cop comes by, he immediately starts pulling us in that direction. When a horse comes on television or is featured in a book, it gains his attention immediately. Horses are special to him.

That’s why I knew he would be in all his glory at Autumn Grove Stables for his pre-kindergarten field trip.

There is something undeniable about the connection children with special needs feel for horses. It’s well documented in therapy circles and several studies have been conducted on the benefits of riding horses on the neurologic, physical, speech, emotional, cognitive, psychological and sensory fronts.

As soon as we pulled up to the farm and he saw horses, Carson started beating on me. When he gets super excited, he tends to grab and hit as a way of getting attention in his non-verbal way. In this case, he pulled my face in the direction he was looking.

For a kid who struggles forming a smile on a consistent basis due to tone issues, he had no problem on this day as his excitement was obvious. When he manages a big smile or giggle, it melts the hearts, and it happened multiple times while riding, feeding and brushing the horses.

My week was made from that point on, and it’s a field trip I know he will not soon forget.


The day our pool opens is one of my kids’ favorite of the year.

Of course, it doesn’t bother them if it’s a little cold. The cold water doesn’t have much of an impact on me either.

After seeing it covered all winter, I was ready to jump in as soon as it was opened as well. I was thrilled to see the pollen-covered tarp removed as well as the basketball, lacrosse ball and toy vehicle that sat atop it all winter.

Those items became permanent fixtures in the middle of the pool as the result of Carson showing off his brute strength and solid throwing arm as well as poor decision making. Over the course of the winter, he managed to first toss an errant lacrosse ball squarely in the center followed by a kick of the basketball and then a hurl of the toy truck. Each time he caught me by surprise. Shame on me I guess.

Therefore, for every day since, I have had to look at these objects that were just a little bit out of my reach. For the first month or so, I tried everything I could to get them off and last month got desperate and tied two brooms together in a last ditch attempt. Consequently, I should add there was a broom wedged on there as well with the balls and the toy car for about a month.

All of those winter visual annoyances fortunately came off with the tarp and within a day of being opened the boys and I took our first dip. It will take at least a month for Pam to join us.

Now, whenever we go outside, I get to watch as Beckett wages a mental battle — play soccer in the backyard or go swimming. Ultimately, we just end up doing both, of course. I love spring.


Every birthday when the kids are young is worthy of celebration and a time to reminisce for the parents.

The only issue I see with it these days comes with the high expectations.

On Tuesday, Beckett turned 7 years old. That astounds me, but I assume I will be saying that for the rest of his life as he grows up and even into adulthood. However, I assume I will be doing it in a much more private fashion eventually, as my kids will surely one day request I stop writing about them each week.

This year I personally feel like I let Beckett down a little on his birthday. We realize that giving a kid a huge box with something that has to be assembled is anti-climactic and have consequently never done it.

Our big gift to him this year was a real soccer goal for the backyard. However, life got in the way over the last month and I was unable to find the time to put it together for a grand surprise on his birthday. I actually contemplated putting it together one night after the boys went to bed, but I just couldn’t muster the energy. Plus, I didn’t think the neighbors would like me shining my truck lights in the backyard late at night.

When I talked to Beckett about it, I mentioned how it might be fun for him to help me put it together. He liked the idea until he saw the box and the 60-some pieces, which didn’t count the bolts and screws.

He then in a matter of fact fashion recommended I take off work the next day to put it together while he was in school.

“You can then let me know how it went while I’m shooting on you,” he suggested. He asked me the next day about it and then came more guilt.