The Adventures Of Fatherhood – September 1, 2023

Gone evidently are the days when there is excitement in the house about heading back to school.

Some examples:

  • Last weekend, I asked Beckett, 15, if he was looking forward to school. The conversation is easy to remember because it was short with minimal engagement.

Me: So, are you ready to go back to school?

Him: No.

Me: What do you mean? There are fun things about school.

Him: That’s funny, Dad.

The conversation then delved into whether he had completed his summer reading assignments. It seems each summer the week before Labor Day is typically spent catching up on lost time, a result of procrastination. This summer appears to be no different.

Me: How are we doing with the reading?

Him: Pretty good.

Me: You know what you need to do right?

Him: Yes I know, I know.

Me: Where is the book anyway (looking around his room)?

Him: It’s around here somewhere.

Me: Tick, tock is all I am going to say.

Him: I work better on deadlines like you. I get that from you.

I gave him credit for being clever on that front.

  • Beckett began his sophomore year on Tuesday with an orientation day. Being a teen boy, we did not get much feedback from him about his first day. The one takeaway was his level of exhaustion.

I don’t know if this is all teenage boys, but whenever I ask him how he is doing the same response follows. “Good, I’m tired,” he says.

Then I typically waste his and my time inquiring why he’s so exhausted, and it would be better if he went to bed earlier even if it’s the summer. I even bore myself when I talk about that sort of thing.

When I got home from work on his first day, I went up to his room to see if he had anything to share. He filled me in on a few things as I tried to follow his rapid speaking pace on several subjects. It ended with an oratory on why Mother Nature always ruins his fun, referring to soccer practice being canceled twice in a row this week.

  • Neither of my kids are grumpy often, but they were a bit this week. The reality of summer being over has set in. I understand and share the sentiments.

For instance, last Sunday, neither kid wanted to take their backpacks to church for the annual blessing event. Since we were not prepared in the least bit for school – the supplies we were able to get were still in bags in their rooms – both boys just took empty bags that may or may not have been holdovers from last year. By the smell of Beckett’s, I think there was something sweaty in his all summer.

The grump factor is understandable truly. As much as we all like to say September is a great month to live here, the reality is school life takes over and the prospects of still hitting the beach and enjoying the good weather are few and far between. The transition is happening from summer life to school routines, whether ready for it or not.

  • As for Carson, the first day anxiety is running high for me. We never know how the first drop-off day at school is going to be. I carry a few scars from previous unfortunate starts to the school year.

Last year, with Beckett attending boarding school at the time, Pam and I took Carson to school. We learned this should never happen again. It’s best for me to handle the drop-offs, as the mother-son bond impacts the dynamics too much when it comes time to separate.

There were other significant things at play last fall. The most significant issue being he was going into a new school. Though he was familiar with his one-on-one buddy from summer academy, the surroundings were new. Change is hard for everyone, especially so for people on the Autism spectrum. It was a bit of a disastrous start to seventh grade with him not allowing us to leave and drastic measures being taken to separate. Once we were free and out of the building, his education team provided us updates on how he was settling in.

This year I am optimistic all will go well. Carson is maturing and more open new things. He will be going into eighth grade and be at the same school with some familiar faces. I do my best to not worry today about tomorrow’s problems, but the first day of school has been leaking into my mind for several weeks now.

  • I find true support and camaraderie in talking with my buddies about family stuff. It’s usually just silly pictures or memes because in our text threads we act the same today as we did as teenagers. It’s a bond I love.

During a recent text exchange, my friends were sharing their first day of school photos, and we were all joking about how some were a bit more prepared than others. There were several with staged pictures on the doorstep. Aside from snarky comments in jest about how rough the dads of beautiful daughters have it, there was a memorable one.

It was a photo of my buddy’ teen son looking out at him from a school bus. Evidently, my friend’s wife was already at work as a nurse and not around. It appears the morning was chaotic getting the teen moving and he forgot to get a picture. The end result was a thumbs up shot from the bus.

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.