When I’m in the ocean with my boys, I feel blessed.
Because I have been told repeatedly by empty nesters to cherish these times while my kids are young because they grow up so fast, I’m doing my best to embrace their youths and all that comes with it.
One of my favorite things is being in the ocean with both my sons. Whether it’s with boogie boards, surf boards, paddleboards or whatever, I love being with them while they enjoy the beach and ocean.
That doesn’t mean these times don’t come without some stress, however. Up until last weekend, the ocean was freezing to Carson, resulting oftentimes in me helping Beckett catch a wave while Carson does his best Koala bear impression on me to avoid the water (imagine a Koala bear clinging tight onto a tree).
Fortunately, the ocean has now warmed up considerably and that’s no longer the case. Now he mixes it up with his big brother and tries to do everything he does, including handstands in the ocean as waves approach.
Last Sunday, with a significant shore break, I wouldn’t let the boys use their boards, so it was just us and ample time to remind them of some ocean safety rules. Carson really fought the one involving never turning your back to the ocean. For some reason, he became obstinate about it and would not stop facing the beach. After saving him a few times from a certain wipeout, I decided he needed to learn a lesson the hard way.
When a wave that wasn’t too big approached, I decided not to grab a hold of him and to let the wave roll him. It was powerful enough to knock him off his feet. As he stood up, still facing the beach, another one did the same thing. That happened three or four more times in a row before he realized being blindsided by waves in the break zone is not that much fun.
After the biggest wave thrashed him about, I admit I was relieved to see Pam was not watching from the beach. The message from that point on did seem to resonate with him, however.
While I continuously remind myself to enjoy these days because they will not last forever, there are moments when the challenges lead to frustrations and I usually come back to the same recurring message in my head — “these are the days I’m going to want back at some point.”
Here’s a couple other examples:
- While swimming in the pool the other day, I thought I was engaged in an underwater game with Carson. When I came up, he was nowhere to be found. I immediately went back under to make sure he was okay, but he was nowhere to be found.
I immediately figured he had gone inside to get Beckett, who was using the bathroom supposedly. I say it that way because it turns out that was an excuse for him and a buddy to go inside and play videogames on a beautiful day, despite our orders to not do so.
As I splashed my way through the house fresh from the pool, I found both boys in the basement standing in their own puddles of water playing their videogames of choice. I’m not proud of my reaction, which involved a “mad dad” appearance and controllers being hidden for the rest of the day.
As we left the basement, I went to close the door and Carson threw a skateboard down the steps. I decided at that point to get them outside and hope for the best that the skateboard didn’t go through the wall. It turns out the wishful thinking was right.
Before I surveyed for damage, I was quick to remind myself, “these are the days I’m going to want back at some point.”
- My kids getting along for an extended period of time is rare.
It’s so much so it usually results in a photo, but I have to be quick because the moments are fleeting.
It’s something that bothers us a lot and is disappointing, but our kids simply prefer to play by themselves. When they try and play a board game or a sport outside, it always results in an argument and usually turns physical.
In most cases, Carson is to blame for the games not working out. For instance, he doesn’t like to lose and will do whatever it takes to win. He’s not above cheating in a board game or stealing cards in a game of “War.” In the rare game that he has not already cheated in, if he sees he’s about to lose, he will do something to disrupt the game from ending. For instance, in a basketball game of Horse, whenever it looks like he’s going to lose, he will just kick the ball over the fence so the game has to end. That aggravates Beckett to no end and Carson knows it. Fighting of some sort typically ensues with the end result usually being pain for Carson.
As I played referee while walking them inside the other day, both were flailing at each other, trying to land haymaker blows. They, as well as me, were in for some downtime which they wanted no part of whatsoever. As I convinced them they did, I reminded myself, “these are the days I’m going to want back at some point.”