The Adventures Of Fatherhood – January 1, 2021

It’s remarkable to consider how Christmas mornings have changed over the years.

With our two boys, who are now 12 and 11 years old, there’s excitement but it certainly pales in comparison to how it once was in the house. There was no waking up at 5 in the morning to ensure we were up before the boys and could catch their excitement as they came upon their gifts. There was also no all-nighter pulled by Pam and I preparing for the big morning.

Though each Christmas is special and something not to take for granted, there’s no denying things are different now. It can be a little sad to think some of the spirit and excitement of the day is gone for our boys. The gifts are bigger now and there are less of them. There’s not as many days spent in December on fabrication in Santa’s workshop – something I am fine with. Clothes are not tossed to the side these days. They are examined first and then relegated to be worn later on once pajamas are moved beyond come afternoon. The gifts are more meaningful now, albeit a bit pricier.

One Christmas Pam and I will never forget came in 2009 when Beckett was 19 months old and Carson was 7 weeks old. Here’s some highlights from I wrote in this space 11 years ago this week.

A morning spent in the emergency room will surely make this a Christmas I will never forget.

My oldest son, Beckett, is affectionately referred to around the house as “bruiser” because of his beefcake mentality. He’s a tough little boy with a disposition to match. I find him hilarious, particularly during meals of late when he consistently points to the high-chair tray and says “down, down, down,” meaning he wants the food put down in front of him now or at least at a quicker clip. He continued to live up to his nickname on Christmas Day when a mishap involving a box, containing a Diego toilet, and a wall led us to the ER.

Pam had Christmas morning all planned out in her head. The idea was to provide a wonderland of sorts for our unsuspecting toddler. Although he does not get the entire Santa Claus and Christmas thing yet, we figured we could still have some fun with him this year.

The plan was to simply let Beckett walk into the Christmas tree room like it was any other morning and capture his reaction on video. It was priceless. He was overwhelmed, repeating in his cute kid voice “wow” and “whoa,” clapping his hands in excitement.

After he rummaged through some of the bigger toys and some of his new and cherished board books, we decided to open some gifts ourselves. There we were enjoying the excitement of Christmas morning when we spotted Beckett standing atop the box, which was about eight inches off the floor. This was nothing new and situations like this play out repeatedly around our house.

However, as luck would have it, just before I could get to him to bring him off the box, he clumsily fell backwards, hitting the wall with his head.

The only unusual aspect of this tumble was the fact he hit the corner of the wall. It was a direct hit, splitting open his head with a sizable gash. He takes harder falls daily in his numerous jaunts around the house.

Unfortunately, a few seconds after the fall, I turned him so my wife could look at the back of his head and she noticed he was bleeding heavily. A few minutes later, we were on our way to AGH.

This marked the second ER visit for Beckett in the last two months. That initial stop was a completely different experience from the one on Christmas. The previous encounter was highly concerning because he was vomiting and suffering from extreme dehydration. We were worried and troubled over his welfare at the time.

The Christmas Day visit was not quite as disturbing. Perhaps it was Beckett’s silly demeanor in the hospital or maybe just the fact it was the second experience.

With this latest ER experience, there was not as much stress because we knew this was just a minor injury, one that we would later discover needed only two stitches to heal. Some sizable gash, huh?

It’s simple after a few days to make light of the situation, but there were some uncomfortable moments. The entire ER experience lasted less than two hours, and it was a small blip on what was a busy Christmas day.

In reflecting on the incident, what made the situation so easy to handle, on what could have been a bear of a day, was Beckett’s resilience. I often marvel at kids’ short attention spans and their ability to move past things. As quickly as they get worked up over something, they are soon relaxed, distracted and interested in something else. They have an uncanny ability to bounce back from something troubling at the time.

As quickly as this incident happened, my kid was over it. He had no problem putting the incident behind him. So much so that the moment we walked in the door at home he went straight for that Diego box and tried to get atop it again. That box was soon out of the house.


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.