Adventures Of Fatherhood

As soon as Beckett gets to the beach these days, he is on the lookout for a beach buddy.
That’s a new development for us and quite a pleasant one at that.

In years past, the beach was always a roll of the dice when it came to the kids, but as each summer has come and gone we have noticed that taking the kids to the beach is not as much of a challenge as it once was.

Despite having a pool in our backyard, Pam and I are beach people, and we head to either Assateague or Ocean City every weekend. The kids love the beach as well, but we have learned to become flexible when it comes to them.

For instance, we have come to accept there is no relaxing when it comes to going to the beach with our kids. We are at least partially responsible for entertaining them and in some cases protecting them, particularly when Beckett, 5, sprints toward the ocean with every intention of diving in before we have even unpacked a chair.

When we went to the beach last weekend, Beckett almost immediately noticed there were kids around him close in age to him. The questions were immediate and nonstop and all revolved around whether he could go play with that kid or this kid or maybe even both of them.

Rather than just turn our kid lose on some unsuspecting souls, I moseyed over with Beckett who just plopped down and made fast friends with two boys about the same age as he and his little brother, Carson, 3. They quickly acted as if they had known each their whole lives and went about playing in the sand and surf for hours.

There were several times when the two respective families and their kids had to be separated, mainly for lunch and snacks. Even during lunch I could see Beckett and Carson longing to play with their friends, as they each stared at the other with seemingly fond admiration.

This is a welcome change for us with Beckett, who has always been the wild card when it comes to beach days. He loves the beach, but he is a bit more demanding of his parents and has shown a proclivity to invade other people’s camps seeking out fun. He is the usually the reason why there have been beach excursions when our beach chairs never even were opened. The demands were just too much and I can’t recall him ever barking for Pam or me to sit down in our chairs and relax while he builds a sand castle on his own.

On the other hand, Carson is the type of kid who is easy to please on the beach. All he wants is a nice wide hole and a mound of sand with some sand tools and he is good to go for much of the day. Add to that an open bag of chips or crackers and a juice box and he will stick close by and be satisfied for hours.

Beckett likes a big hole, too, but mainly uses it as an obstacle of some sort or something to try and jump over with reckless abandon. He is fond to enticing others to come over and try and hurdle the hole as well, oftentimes even when Carson is sitting in it.

When it came time to part ways for good last weekend with their new beach buddies, Carson merely waved and Beckett was shouting requests for sleepovers.

That was until he spotted another family with two boys about 50 yards away.
My 5-year-old stumped me the other day during a discussion of Memorial Day.

Apparently, Pam had been explaining the significance of the holiday when I was not around because he had some follow-up questions for me that all revolved around why I was not a veteran and why I did not fight for our country. I tried my best to explain the scenario to him, but I think he already had his mind made up about his father.

“You didn’t fight because you don’t believe in fighting, right? That’s what you always tell me,” he said. “Why are we celebrating people who fight then?”

I tried to explain to him the differences in the kinds of fighting and how veterans were fighting for freedom and for causes they believed in. I went on until I realized it was not sinking in.

The fighting I often am referring to with him is the kind that involves swords, sticks, fists, slaps and shoves, all of which he likes to utilize on his little brother on occasion.

As I was talking to Beckett, I observed Carson putting together a pile of toys. I didn’t think much of it until he started heaving the toys at his big brother one by one. I continue to be impressed with his throwing arm, but quickly had to reel in that observation.

After he yelled at Carson to stop and threatened him with some body blows, Beckett looked at me with a look that said to me, “see this is why I have to rough him up all the time.”

At one time, when his aggressiveness was reaching a ridiculous level with his little brother some weeks ago, I told him how I was so and so age and had never been a fight in my life and how fighting is not appropriate.

I never would have thought that fact would turn around to become a negative with my son.

It turns out he has twisted that into something that has led him to the conclusion that on Memorial Day he is not celebrating me because I’m not a fighter. It was an interesting take on the holiday and something he referred to a couple times throughout the day.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.