The Adventures Of Fatherhood – December 31, 2021

Christmas sure is different nowadays.

For many years, the kids were up bright and early before the sun full of excitement for what Santa Claus brought them. It was a joyous time of energy and newness. Those mornings of enthusiasm and eagerness are great memories.

Now, with the kids 12 and 13 years old, excitement remains but it’s certainly much tamer, and I think there is even some feigning going on at times. What’s certainly clear is the mornings sure have changed drastically.

Pam was first up early on Christmas, preparing to put her famous breakfast casseroles in the oven. After a late night, I stayed in bed until I heard the boys. I was awoken with Carson shaking me (more like a violent body check) at 6:20 in the morning. I told him I would be right out but to just hang out and don’t go snooping. He was out of the room before I finished the sentence. It would be what it would be I told myself.

We were able to coach Carson to chill for a bit because getting his big brother Beckett up before 7 would not be easy even on Christmas morning. He has truly found the love of sleep and has even been napping over this holiday break.

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When it comes to gift opening, we have the same struggle as most families – getting the kids to slow down so it lasts longer than 15 minutes. They are much better at showing restraint than when they were younger. The boys switched back and forth and it was great.

Though he loved his new electric keyboard and his outside ball return, Beckett showed the most enjoyment over a T-shirt his little brother gave him. It was black with the phrase, “Bruh!” on it. A silly shirt that he immediately put on and seem to get into his favorite shirt rotation immediately.

Though not as animated as Beckett, Carson’s favorite gift seemed to be the stand-up air hockey table that will eventually move from our living room upstairs to a new home.

As the kids have gotten older, the gifts have gotten fewer, but larger, and they seem to understand why. It’s a good thing. Rather than a bunch of small things, each kid picks out a couple big things and we go from there, hoping to mix in a few surprises along the way.

Within an hour of waking up, the gift opening was over, and Pam and I were able to kick back before breakfast. The kids were off doing their thing. It was 8 in the morning and we had the full day ahead of us.

Along with hanging with family, one of our favorite traditions on Christmas Day is a game of kickball with a group of about 40 friends. It’s the opposite of competitive and seems to always end in a tie. It’s a fun way to get outside and catch up with friends. The adults enjoy it just as much as the kids.

Because I’m in my mid-40s, I didn’t escape the game unscathed. On a pop fly, I somehow hurt my right ring finger catching the ball (or as I refer to it – my “l” finger on the keyboard’s home row). Fortunately, there were three doctors on hand who all agreed I had torn or stretched my extensor tendon because I couldn’t straighten my finger and the tip faced inward toward my palm. It was quite the sight. The result being a splint on my finger, making typing difficult.

The finger injury was a recurring joke all week, especially as I got whooped on at the air hockey table. It turns out I’m terrible using my left hand.

One of my favorite things about Facebook is the daily memories it brings to my attention. This is especially so on big days like Christmas, as it provides an opportunity to see how much has changed with my kids.

One Christmas morning memory that sticks out each year is when 20-month-old Beckett fell off a Diego potty trainer and hit his head on the corner of a wall. It required attention, so we took him to the ER at 7 in the morning. In no time, he was glued up and back home no worse for wear by 8 to carry on with the day.

The ridiculous finger injury during a game of kickball will surely be one of these memories, too, in the years ahead.

I came across a funny list of New Year’s resolutions from a mom on the Raising Teens Today website worthy of sharing.

No. 1: Buy a new phone charger and hide it so my kids can’t find it.

No. 2: Donate my son’s coats to kids who will actually wear them.

No. 3: Vow to close my teen’s bedroom door instead of nagging them about the mess.

No. 4: Stop taking their “offishness” so damn personally.

No. 5: Buy a dog so someone is happy to see me when I get home.

No. 6: Buy new forks and spoons and hide them so my kids can’t steal them.

No. 7: Stop making impossible New Year’s resolutions (see No. 4)

No. 8: Stop getting so worked up about the small stuff.

No. 9: Find the humor in it all, ‘cus this won’t last forever.

No. 10: Find ways to let my kids know they’re loved every single day.

Numbers eight and nine are what I will work to improve on. I will enter 2022 with the goals of not sweating everything and laughing more at the silly teenager antics of the house. It’s worth a shot.

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.