The Adventures Of Fatherhood – May 14, 2021

Beckett’s 13th birthday this week seemed anticlimactic. It feels like he’s been a teenager for a long time.

Monday night sums up our kid at this point in his life. He’s not much for details. He likes to live in a cloud, preferring a laidback approach, one involving having fun and not sweating (or even doing) things that do not bring him pleasure, such as a magazine project for history on the 1920s.

When he came home Monday talking about the project and the fact it was due the next day, I nearly lost my cool. I chewed my tongue off instead and made him get to work. He had done some research, but he had hours more to do. A virtue or a vice, he can completely block out things he views as negative.

All last week I noticed several messages from teachers about big projects assignments. I questioned him, specifically whether he needed to be working on them at home. He assured me, “I got it, trust me.” My instincts said otherwise.

Though these sorts of situations aggravate me, they are mere flash in the pans of his life. There are many wonderful things about our boy. We see his kind-hearted nature each day. He’s naturally smart and quick witted. He will do anything for his friends. He’s caring and sensitive. He would be an outstanding student if he applied himself to his potential more consistently. He simply has other interests he enjoys more than studies. He could be a dominant athlete, but he often finds socializing with buddies and girls more exciting than practicing. He’s a typical young boy in many ways. Since he’s mine, I think he’s quite special despite all the daily things that may or may not cause sleepless nights for his mom and me.

There is never a dull moment when it comes to raising him and we are constantly pivoting to keep him on the right track. It’s a challenge. As his parents, we have watched him stumble and fall on his journey several times, but he always gets up, learns and continues on his way. He’s a fighter (most of the time).

What’s interesting about raising kids is watching them change over the years. Some things I have learned about him of late are quite different than a couple years ago. I am adjusting to the fact who he is today is not who he was yesterday or will be a few years from now. As of now, here’s some fun facts about our boy.

•It’s important for him to have cool lighting in his room. I can see from facetime conversations it’s imperative to others his age as well. It’s why Pam was on a quest last week to upgrade his lighting as part of a birthday gift. I didn’t know what she settled on until he opened his birthday presents. The light sets looked as cool as they were expensive.

•He’s not a rude person, but he can be to his parents. I see through his interactions with other people and strangers we have raised him right. He has good manners and we are told repeatedly from others he is respectful. He evidently doesn’t always feel like he needs to demonstrate these traits to us, however.

•He really likes cookies and ice cream. He’s more into snacking than meals. In fact, when I told him last week we will take him wherever he wants for his birthday dinner, he said, “I’ll pass.” He said he’s just not into big meals and a lot of talking. He’s always about the latter, but again not with his parents.

•He shows his appreciation in big ways when he means it. “Just thank you, I can’t thank you enough, I really needed your help here,” he said recently when we helped with a private matter. He was sincere and grateful.

•He is a huge fan of hooded sweatshirts. He has many, but his rotation involves three of his favorites. He puts one as soon as he gets home no matter the temperature outside and often sleeps in one. When he wears them, he always puts the hood up over half of his head and pulls a bunch of his hair out the front. He says he likes the front of his hair. I just go along with it.

•If he’s staring at me in a long car ride, it doesn’t mean he has something specific on his mind. It’s probably him just zoning out. He’s neither analyzing the new gray streak in my hair nor wondering why my sideburns are not even. He’s just daydreaming and happens to be looking straight in my direction.

•Our opinion matters little. Because we are old and out of touch, feedback from Pam and I carries little weight. I can’t recall a day going by recently when I have not been told, “it’s not like that, you wouldn’t understand.”

•He and his special needs brother will always have a unique relationship. At his age, he’s not going to choose to hang out with him over a buddy, but he will be there for him. They mostly just goof around. He seems to look forward to the day Carson is bullied so he can defend him. He really wants to prove something on that front. I’m hopeful nothing ever comes of it.

•The difference between listening and hearing is on display every day. He tells me they mean the same thing. I then ask him a question about what specific vegetable he wants for dinner and he says, “yes.” I then tell him asparagus it is for dinner. “No, wait, what?,” he asks.

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.