This is going to be a different summer for sure.
Due to quarantine, my kids have become so accustomed to social isolation they seem content hanging at home most of the time. In pre-pandemic life, we would hear claims of being bored and wanting to do something fun much more often than we do now. In fact, and it’s probably because we have been staying home most of the time over the last three months, the boys seem surprised when we tell them we have something planned. We realize it’s important to bring some sense of normalcy to their lives in this anything but typical summer.
In a usual summer, Beckett would do weekly summer camps, leaving the house around 8 a.m. and coming home exhausted around 5 p.m. each day. Nowadays, he sleeps in, rides his bike, does some summer reading, swims in the pool with friends, shoots some hoops in the driveway, kicks soccer balls into the trees and plays video games.
Carson, 10, also partakes in a mixture of the above as well to varying degrees. His happy place is in a pool so where Beckett might spend an hour in the pool Carson is good with hours upon hours of swim time. When not in the pool, in between speech therapy sessions he has several favorite games on an electronic screen of some sort he enjoys as well.
Though only a couple weeks into the summer, the boys seem to have found a routine now that homeschooling is over. They seem perfectly content with their home lives for two reasons. There’s the quarantine effect with the house being all they have known for months. It also helps to have a pool in the backyard. Regardless, getting the kids out in the world more often is a goal for this summer.
An example of the boys being surprised when we have a plan to do something would be last Friday when I told them I was taking off work and we were heading to Speed World. Earlier in the week they had gone with their mom to Baja in West Ocean City, so they were embracing the need for speed.
Carson is not ready to drive a go-kart of any kind. He’s actually just fine with it and agrees. When I asked him if he wanted to drive, he quickly shook his head no and grabbed my hand. I love him for knowing it’s not for him yet. He’s perfectly content sharing a double with me, but he is not shy about expressing his opinion on certain things while we navigate around the different tracks.
At one point, after one race that didn’t go our way against his brother and a host of other folks, I got him giggling when I asked him if his pointer finger hurt at all. He didn’t get the question at first. I told him I’m surprised it’s not hurting the way he was animatedly wagging it at me the entire time, telling me which direction to drive and who to pass and what not to do. He also would rest his foot atop mine on the gas so I couldn’t slow down.
Carson doesn’t talk but he can communicate clearly through his body language, especially to his mom and I since we have known him all his life. During several of the races, he began lifting his feet in the air in the hopes it would lessen our weight load to allow us to go faster. It had me laughing to see him holding his feet up while wagging his finger at me to go faster and try and pass the person in front of us.
For Beckett, 12, there was some laughing too but largely joking around with the teenage workers who were talking to him about his long hair, rap music and his goofy T-shirt. Once the racing began, he was too competitive to find anything funny, even the site of me and Carson sandwiched into a small go-kart that was clearly weighed down too much to challenge him in a race. We even got lapped a few times.
There was one race I heard the attendant blowing the whistle a few times. I assumed it was because someone was bumping. I was right and it was Beckett, who offered an explanation that a 20-something rider did it first but didn’t get called out for it. This brought back memories of school and how many times similar conversations had taken place over the years.
There was a time when I probably would have made Beckett sit out the next attraction. Maybe it’s quarantine’s effects or the fact he’s older now and I trusted him to stop. The reality is I was not going to make a mountain out of a molehill here. We were there to have fun and so be it. He got a little carried away. It’s what kids do. This could be a consequence of the pandemic. The little stuff is not worth sweating sometimes.
After about a dozen races, the need for speed was met. We were off to have lunch. I ran through several options of outdoor dining places nearby or even hitting the Boardwalk. I had given lunch a lot of thought already. All of my nice considerations were abandoned once Beckett saw the golden arches of McDonald’s and Burger King. My two kids then debated which one to hit while I decided whether to force my thoughts on them. I opted for their choice, which ended up being Burger King.
I did insist we take it for a picnic outside but not before a lot of hand sanitizer, of course.