Adventures Of Fatherhood

Adventures Of Fatherhood
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Carson went creative with his Valentine’s Day gift to his mom last weekend.

Like many parents I have spoken with, our Valentine’s Day was largely spent with the children, including church and a birthday party for classmates of Beckett’s at Beach Bounce in West Ocean City.

We took Carson along so he could play while Beckett was involved with his classmates and the party. Unfortunately, a few minutes after we arrived, he was not himself and wanted no parts of the bounce houses. That should have been our first clue he was not feeling well. At one point, he and Pam went and sat down and he was sitting in her lap hugging her. Another indication all was not right with the little guy, considering his surroundings.

When I went over to sit with them, he quickly switched places and came over to my lap. That’s uncharacteristic for him because he always favors his mother, especially when he’s not feeling well.

As soon as he nestled into me, Pam must have seen something in his mannerisms that worried her because she kept asking him if he was okay.

Within a minute, he was throwing up all over me. After a few minutes of cleaning up the area, I knew I just needed to get him out of there as fast as possible. The problem was I didn’t want to carry him throughout the place to track down my car keys and jacket since he could vomit again at any minute. Therefore, I just stood in the vestibule area and a friend ran down my keys while Pam tended to the soiled area.

While driving home and reminding him where to do it if he was going to get sick again, I started thinking about what had just occurred. I truly believe he saw me just as he was starting to feel ill and wanted to spare his mom. That’s why he came over to my lap and promptly puked all over me.

As I drove him home in my puke-invested clothes, I got to thinking how nice it was of him on Valentine’s Day to think of his mom. Not being puked on may have been her best gift all day.

Instilling the importance of commitment in our kids is important to us.

That’s why seeing Beckett, 7, earn his new belts after karate testing over the last two-plus years sometimes gets his parents a little choked up.

Last Friday Beckett received his red belt, meaning he only has one more belt to secure before testing for his black belt. If all goes as planned, sometime next year, he will be 8 years old and a black belt.

He has been involved in the karate program at Chesapeake Martial Arts since October of 2013. Most weeks he, and one of us, is there three nights a week. There are times when he doesn’t want to go every night, but more often than not he’s ready and willing.

Every now and again he goes through a phase when he would prefer to play outside if it’s nice out or play at home if it’s freezing. Normally, we insist he go because he committed to it, but it’s rare that we have to force the issue. He knows what’s expected, realizes his obligation and doesn’t want to fall behind.

That makes me proud because that’s real life. What’s also impressive is his ability, along with the other kids, to memorize and retain all that goes into this journey. Each belt, of which he has earned 11 to date, comes with its own set of expectations. During each test, the student is required to expertly perform and know the associated form, which is a sequence of about 40 karate moves that must be memorized and carried out in strict tae kwon do fashion; self-defense and one-step maneuvers; and breaking one or two boards with the assigned moves. In addition, there is the embarrassing part of every test when a parent (me) goes out on the mat and takes part in a made-up self-defense move, which usually results in me face-up on the mat wondering how it all came to this.

Like most things, Beckett is in a hurry to get his black belt. Once he learns all his required facets for each belt, he is eager to move on to the next one. He questions the long time between belts, but he is reminded it’s about much more than just fast tracking. That anxiousness always leads back to us reminding him one of the main reasons why we enrolled and invested in karate classes was to improve on his focus and respect. In other words, the idea is to help him learn to not be so crazy all the time.

In some ways, it has helped with his attention span, being respectful to others and taught him the importance of staying on task. However, he has a long way to go on those fronts.

But the good news is there is no question it has taught him about the importance of making a commitment and the value of setting a long-term goal and working to achieve it.

He’s quite proud of himself after each successful test and he’s not the only one.