In some ways, Carson is more outgoing than Beckett.
Considering Beckett is a self-proclaimed and enthusiastic “lover of talking” and Carson is non-verbal, this is fascinating to me.
For many years, I always thought of Beckett, 9, as the extrovert and Carson, 8, as the introvert. That’s still the case, in some ways, but there are times when their personalities are flipped.
For instance, when Carson walks in our office, where both kids have been spending a lot of time of late due to the weather canceling and delaying schools, he gives hugs to anyone who is willing. These are good hugs, too. These aren’t the lean-in variety. These are the good kind with arms extended.
On the other hand, Beckett is all business. His after-school routine consists of heading straight to the bathroom, then a snack and drink and then homework. If he encounters people along the way, so be it. He will usually say hello, but he usually doesn’t go beyond that. He’s got things on his mind. That usually involves getting his homework done before playing on his iPad or heading to soccer or basketball.
It’s interesting to observe their personalities unfold in other social settings, such as random convenience store run-ins. I remember on a recent road trip stop when the four of us were taking a restroom break and getting some drinks and lunch.
Typically, one of us is glued to Carson in these sorts of situations to keep him safe and with us at all times. He’s fine with that and always holds a hand because he’s not entirely comfortable in new surroundings. On the flip side, there’s Beckett, who is a wanderer and has never met a stranger.
After Carson, Pam and I had gotten our stuff and were heading to the cashier, we wondered where Beckett had roamed. We knew he was close by because we could hear him. We found him in front of the hot food section talking with a trucker watching the hot dogs spinning in front of them. I assumed they were talking about hot dogs. Instead, considering it was a Love’s off Interstate 95, they were talking about the life of a trucker, the amount of money charged to shower nearby, the wireless Internet situation in the truck, how they like their cheeseburgers and where they were from (which somehow delved into an abbreviated version of Beckett’s adoption story).
As I tried to gather Beckett together and encourage him to say bye, I sort of apologized to the trucker because I figured he wanted to get on his way. He told me no need and commented how outgoing my son was at such a young age.
It’s a head scratcher. When both are in their comfort zones, Carson can be more engaging than Beckett. He’s more interested in what’s going on around him and the people he sees. Because of his age and his tendency to be distracted by other things he feels are more important, Beckett is more reserved when he’s at ease.
When out and about in restaurants and other social places, the roles reverse. Carson is standoffish and shy, while Beckett is verbose and interested in people and what they are doing and their backgrounds.
This evolution of their personalities is a treat to watch even if I don’t understand it.
One of the joys of coaching kids is observing their raw emotions.
In two recent youth basketball games, the highs and lows that come with competitive sports were on full display. Both games were close and came down to the last minute. We won one and lost one.
In the first game, we lost a nail bitter in the last 30 seconds. Trailing by two, we had a chance to tie it up but we couldn’t get off a shot against a swarming defense. The kids were demoralized after the game and there was little I could say to turn them around. I muttered some positive things, such as how we came back from being down early, but their heads stayed down. They were discouraged and I understood it. It was a lesson in defeat.
In our next outing, the game was tied with 30 seconds to go when we hit a shot to take the lead. Beckett was the one who made the shot and his reaction was priceless. It was pure exhilaration as he ran back down the court with both fists pumping. I was as excited as him and may have celebrated a little too hard as my shoulder is still sore several days later. The other team had a chance to tie it up but missed a buzzer beater.
The kids celebrated like it was a championship when in reality it was the third game of the year. Nonetheless, the look of accomplishment and excitement on their faces will stay with me for a while.
It was a roller coaster of emotions for them, and one of the reasons I love sports so much. It’s exciting to see my son share that passion.
For what it’s worth, the final score of that second game was 8-6. It was a defensive struggle.