Adventures Of Fatherhood

Adventures Of Fatherhood
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Beckett and I spent a memorable night in the woods last weekend.

It was part of a Cub Scouts family weekend at the Henson Reservation in Rhodesdale, Md. (near Sharptown). As I drove on the dirt road to the camp area, I had one of those special parenting moments. There Beckett, 7, was in the back seat playing his Kindle oblivious to the woods around him. He was multi-tasking — pounding a water bottle while playing his game and still wearing his soccer uniform and cleats from back-to-back soccer games in West Ocean City an hour before.

As I watched him take off his sports clothes and put on his layers for camping, I had a “take stock” moment and couldn’t help but realize just how much life has changed over the last several years.

Here we were somewhere north of Salisbury about to ditch our vehicle and head into the woods for the night. I was most certainly the proverbial fish out of water while he rolled with it and was excited.

While I have been camping before, it had been many years since my last experience and I had never camped with a little one. That meant some planning ahead was necessary.

First, Pam had to show me how to erect the tent. I have written about this in the past. We are anything but the traditional couple. There are numerous instances when she carries out more of the male duties in the house. Case in point came the other day when a piece of wood came off our playground set and Carson took off with it back toward the house. I was standing right there, but he refused to give it to me. He ran off saying “Mama,” shaking his head, as if he didn’t trust me to carry out the easiest of home repairs.

Conversely, I am the parent who handles most of the kids’ hygiene and grooming aspects. For instance, when Beckett had a hang nail on his big toe the other night, he called for me across the room to help, despite the fact his mother was sitting next to him on the couch.

This unique dynamic was surely on display in the backyard as my wife gave me step-by-step instructions with setting up and breaking down the tent.

When Pam first told me about the camping date being announced at a recent scout meeting, I noticed she turned her back to me after she told me she signed us up. I surmise the turn away was intentional because she couldn’t contain her laughter when imagining me camping out in the woods in the first place.

I’m not a metrosexual but I’m certainly more to that extreme than I am a true outdoorsman. Given this, I too laughed aloud a few times in the days leading up to the camping trip as I began scratching off the checklist items, many of which I had no idea why we would possibly need. I brought them anyway, assuming somebody nearby would know why this and that was necessary.

The activities for the scouts in attendance included hikes along trails, archery, BB gun shooting, funny skits produced by the individual troops and much more. There were even some bounce houses available.

The coldness factor certainly made this adventure one Beckett and I will never forget. Fortunately, it was actually mild during the day, but as soon as the sun went down it got cold quick. It was expected to be in the low-30s that night so we were prepared to be cold.

Although cold in the tent, Beckett seemed to be sleeping fine and I may have even got a couple hours in as well. At one point, Beckett all of a sudden sat up and said the last thing I wanted to hear.

He said, “Daddy, is it weird that I have to pee again?”

I ignored it the first time, hoping it was a dream, and he then repeated himself. I muttered something about, “no but it’s very unfortunate.”

With nature calling, we put our shoes back on and added a couple more layers and made the trek to the latrine, which I admit we never did find so we made due in a more convenient fashion.

I think we would have been able to manage the cold if that little jaunt hadn’t taken place. When we got back in the tent, both of us were shivering and not warming up anytime soon. That’s when I broke out the hand warmers and put them in our blankets. Soon enough that stopped Beckett’s teeth from chattering and he fell asleep fairly quickly.

Although it was cold at night, the most miserable part was packing up the next morning when all of the tent’s parts, as well as mine, were cold. Beckett was not much help because he had some friends nearby to play with and commiserate over how cold it was at night.

Amid wrapping up the sleeping bags and breaking down the tent I could hear boys being boys detailing the body parts that were most cold and the strange sounds coming from certain tents in our vicinity.

All in all, it was some special male bonding, as well as cuddling, time in the woods for us.