The Adventures Of Fatherhood – May 29, 2020

There’s a lot to worry about these days in life, but there’s also plenty to laugh about.

For me these last nine weeks I have been obsessed with professional survival. Weathering this health crisis and the subsequent economic disaster with some perspective has been the goal. It can be challenge admittedly because hanging in through these impossible times has been the challenge of my life. Most of my friends and business partners agree not panicking and staying composed has been the priority as we seek clarity on the “new normal.”

A sense of humor certainly can help us all get through these ridiculous times. Some moments of levity allowing us to get through this include:

•For Pam, these last 10 weeks have been unlike any in her life. As much as we all like to think we have independent learners, a great majority of young students need parental assistance to get migrate virtual learning. Whether it’s staying organized and on schedule, meandering through the digital assignments or offering technical support when Zoom doesn’t open correctly, a parent must be the homeschool teacher.

It’s not a healthy thing for the kid or the parent. The mere possibility it will continue in some fashion in September is enough to make Pam sick. Kids need to be in school in a safe environment and they need to be social with other adults and kids their age.

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Due to my day job, I read a lot of news articles about education. Whenever I start to document for Pam scenarios, one of which is the continuation of some sort of virtual learning in the fall, she refuses to listen.

One night we were talking about and she couldn’t take it anymore. She shutdown and joked about having a tantrum over it. As she walked away giggling over the absurdity of it all, I saw Carson and Beckett were both smiling and giving two thumbs up. They seem just fine with the individualized education from their mother.

•Carson’s dislike for wearing a mask is real.

We went to the Boardwalk last weekend. We told the kids we wanted them to wear a mask until we saw how congested with people it was. As I looked to the back of the vehicle, I saw Beckett had his mask – imagine a neck gator for skiing – pulled up over his head. He assured me he could see just fine. If I didn’t know any better, I would think our 12-year-old was covering his face so he wouldn’t be noticed with his family.

In the other area of the backseat was Carson, who was tearing up. He was confused. He didn’t like the feel of the mask and seemed scared. Carson is considered high risk for the virus because of a heart defect. However, 10 weeks of intense social isolation is not healthy for him either.

As we walked the Boardwalk, we were quite the sight. There was Beckett with his neck gator stretching from his neck over his face and into his hair. There was then Carson, who was holding his mask up over his mouth and refusing to cover his nose. After multiple reminders, we figured we would take covering the mouth.

At one point, we were walking along the Boardwalk and two men, who had been drinking and were walking with mixed drinks, were walking directly toward us. Even under normal circumstances, it could be said they were invading our personal space. It turns out there was a dog on a bench behind us who caught their attention.

As one walked by, he sneezed in a dramatic fashion without covering his mouth. It was far enough away not to rattle us, but Pam and I both commented on it. The boys seemed oblivious to it. Carson was staring up at the Ferris wheel, while Beckett asked what we were talking about. It turns out in his case the gator was not only impairing his vision but also his hearing.

We carried on back to our vehicle and collected the face masks. Beckett preferred to keep his covering on the entire way home. He seems to like the concept. Carson seemed relieved that was over, questioning why again the arcades and rides weren’t open.

•Pam and I have been distracting ourselves with yard projects during this downtime.

Carson is the best helper anyone could ever want. He enjoys heavy lifting and cutting branches, but also helped us one day shovel out an area we are working on making a fire pit. He got himself dressed in a pair of shorts, his UGGs and a winter vest with no shirt underneath. He sported quite the look.

Beckett is less apt to help but he will when there are cool things involved. He’s a big fan of using a chain saw, which I let him use on the ground with limitations. He’s also become a fan of using a pick axe, which Pam and I were using to help us remove sidewalk pavers. He was incredibly cautious with it, which is a good thing because he insisted on wearing flipflops. I think he knew it would limit his involvement.

There we were with one kid in UGG boots and a sleeveless vest with no shirt on and another with no shirt on and flipflops. They both managed to get incredibly dirty somehow.

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.