The Adventures Of Fatherhood – June 24, 2022

The best part of Facebook for me is the “Memories.”

I have found myself actually posting pictures just to memorialize them for years to come. This way each year on the anniversary date of the post, or event, I can relive that part of my life. It’s especially the case with my kids.

Over the last week, I have noticed my wife and I are active posters this time of year, as each daily reminder from Facebook (still can’t bring myself to call it Meta yet) consists of great memories of years gone by. It’s largely due to the end of school year pictures and Father’s Day. These are great to revisit but it’s also just the mundane pictures that are special.

Maybe it’s just me but a highlight of each of my days is when I get the notification memories are available. One day this week included a photo of Beckett on the beach when he was just learning to walk, Carson on my shoulders in the breaking waves before he could walk, lovely words from my wife on Father’s Day, rainy day milkshake runs, last day of fourth and second grade pictures for both boys and a photo of Pam and me sitting on the beach on the Assateague OSV as the kids napped in my old truck watching a Baby Einstein video.

The last one was how we spent an entire summer when the kids were young and still napping. I will forever remember the afternoon nap as joyous times for us, as we got to relax and not worry about sand being eaten or thrown, mad dashes to the ocean without a care in the world or sunscreen applications. If memory serves me correctly, one of us always dozed off during that downtime.

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I enjoy my job as a newspaper editor for several reasons, but near the top of the list is that each day is different.

Though I start my day around the same time and work in the same space, each day poses new challenges to make each one unique. All of this combines to make each newspaper edition special and different.

In that regard, my work life mirrors my personal life because of parenting. We all wake up in the same house as the same people, but much happens throughout the course of a day. Another commonality between the two is they each involve a routine – most of the time. This summer would be the exception on the family front with Beckett.

There were a couple times this week when I was scheduling a meeting or appointment and had to remember Beckett’s work schedule transportation. It’s a new thing, as this is our 14-year-old’s first summer working. He’s working two days a week at the Surfside Rooster in West Ocean City and more regularly at The Kite Loft in Ocean City as a flyer on the beach. When I ask him what he does, he says he sets up kites, makes sure they are not lying on the beach and gets them back in the air when they are not.

A real positive with him working in Ocean City is it gets me in town a lot more than most summers. Now I plan Boardwalk walks and runs and ocean sessions around drop-offs and pickups. I also get to people watch and get a sense for how the resort is doing on the tourism front.

On a recent Thursday night, I went into Ocean City to pick him up as he was closing that night. It was his first night shift, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him take orders from the more senior employee. He was hustling, running kites back and forth from the beach to storage and learning how to take down 10-plus flags in front of the store. I texted Pam that I had never seen him work so hard. It was great to observe. I really enjoyed it.

I mean I really enjoyed watching him work, probably too much. I took pictures and videos as proof he can move fast and do what he’s told. It’s just that I have spent much of his life reminding him to do this or that, particularly getting him moving and ready in the mornings. It was amazing to watch him carry out his duties, presumably following the orders of the more senior co-worker.

Having a worker in the house is a big change for us. His work schedule is one thing but also his desire to hang out on the Boardwalk before or after his shift. It’s been a fun experience so far, but no denying there’s running involved for Pam and me. We are happy to provide the shuttle service for work but not so much repeatedly when it involves social outings.

“But everybody is hanging out on the Boardwalk and at the beach in Ocean City,” is the statement we hear a lot these days. We know full well “everybody” is not, but it’s the way teens look at these sorts of things. For our kid, it’s an independence thing as well. He wants to be able to go off on his own and prove to us he will be safe and not make bad decisions. This will be most likely be a summer-long juggle.

One thing he did quickly agree we were right on was his lunch when he works on the Boardwalk. He learned quickly eating lunch on the boards during his break every day will get quite expensive. For the first couple days, he asked for money. I gave him some cash, but then encouraged him to bring lunch to save money. He refused and used his own earnings to buy lunch. When he realized $20 didn’t get him as far as he would like, he agreed eventually, “ok yeah I think we should pack” for a few days.

Lessons are being learned this summer.

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.