The Adventures Of Fatherhood – December 22, 2023

The holiday buildup combined with the typical workload got the best of me this week. Therefore, I’m cheating a bit this week and looking back at some past Christmas reflections in this space. Forgive me for slacking but here goes with some memories.

2019: A morning spent in the emergency room will surely make this a Christmas I will never forget.

My oldest son, Beckettm 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.

Christmas morning was a wonderful time, and, although Beckett is just 19 months old, he seemed to be enthralled with what transpired in the house from the time he went to bed on Christmas Eve to the next morning. The transformation was not lost on him. Carson, the 7-week-old, on the other hand, slept through all the excitement nearby.

After Beckett 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, and I was initially unaware how serious it was because he quickly stopped crying.

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.

The entire ER experience and stitching lasted less than two hours, and it was a small blip on what was a busy Christmas day.

2012: Christmas can be stressful for parents of little ones, but it’s also the most special time of year and well worth any anxiety that it brings.

There we were at 7 on Christmas morning in our new holiday pajamas Pam buys each year, waiting for our boys to join us. Pam had already been up for more than an hour in case Beckett wandered downstairs before us.

The boys had already had a full Christmas and I think it caught up with them. Due to our large family, we had already had two Christmas celebrations that apparently tired them out.

Either way, a few minutes after 7 that morning, Pam and I were in their rooms pulling off their covers and reminding them what day it was.

It only took the one reminder for their excitement to return and ignite their curiosity of whether Santa had come. We should all be able to bounce out of bed as fast as they did and to be that nimble on our feet at 7 in the morning.

Once they were up, their enthusiasm was awesome to witness.

In his typical fashion, Beckett was the most anxious and enthusiastic to see what Santa brought him and his brother, Carson, who has adopted a more subdued approach to most things in life.

Once the great revealing took place, the kids went about opening their presents.

Beckett’s aggressive style was on full display, ripping open the gifts at a frenetic pace, commenting on what he saw and then moving on to the next wrapped box. Some gifts slowed him down more than others, while some, such as clothes and books, barely stopped him in his tracks.

On the other hand, Carson was methodical and probably would have been happy with his one large gift — a standup kitchen set, complete with burners, a refrigerator, microwave and other items. He loved it and at least initially did not seem too interested in the other gifts under the tree. Eventually, he turned his attention to them. It was a good thing because his big brother seemed intent on opening them as soon as were distracted.

For Beckett, the thrill is the opening of the gifts to see what he received and playing with them later, while Carson is more deliberate and seems to prefer to spread out the actual opening to enjoy the toys one-by-one as they are received. It sums up our kids and their unique personalities well actually.

Once all the gifts were opened and we forced breakfast on them, we pulled our annual Christmas morning surprise on them. Each year we hold back a big gift from Santa until later in the morning. One year, for example, it was a backyard trampoline.

While the entire morning is befitting of videotaping, it’s this surprise that I think is the most treasured moment of the day because they truly were surprised. It started snowing a couple hours later.

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.