The Adventures Of Fatherhood – January 12, 2024

I literally fell asleep during a late-night talk with my teenager the other night.

I have done this once or twice to Pam over the years during a conversation. When it has happened, it understandably does not make it her feel great. I blame it on exhaustion.

There is a point in the evening when I do become a sleep risk. I am an early riser and do quite a lot through the course of a day. Therefore, by about 10 at night, I am pretty much wiped out. It’s as if my battery just runs out.

It’s interesting that around this same time of night is typically when Beckett comes down to talk. Beckett does not like long talks on serious subjects, but he does love to engage on easy topics and to express his opinions on things on his mind. It seems at this time of night he likes to hold court, as if he’s been holding some comments in for a couple hours and he’s ready to share.

One night recently, Pam had already gone to bed as she was sick. I suspect I probably fell asleep watching a game on TV at some point before Beckett came flying down the steps wanting to show me something on You Tube. It was a video of a football wide receiver doing a flip into the end zone for a touchdown from years ago. He then proceeded to show me some other things, like a vulgar stand-up comedian waxing about the joys and ills of coming back from vacation.

As he was talking, some recent posts on Raising Teens Today came to mind:

“7 a.m.: I don’t want to talk about it.

11 a.m.: I don’t want to talk about it.

2 p.m.: I don’t want to talk about it.

6 p.m.: I don’t want to talk about it.

11 p.m.: You might want to get comfortable because I’m going to tell you every nitty-gritty detail of what happened in my life today.”

Another one was:

7 a.m.: tired

9 a.m.: tired

1 p.m.: tired

4 p.m.: tired

8 p.m.: tired

10 p.m.: totally wired

Another post read:

No matter what time, wherever you are, drop whatever you are doing if your teenager comes to you wanting to talk. You won’t regret it Soon they will be out of the house and you miss these seemingly meaningless chats.

Despite all my searching, I didn’t find anything about making sure you stay awake while they are talking to you.

On this particular evening, Beckett, 15, had a host of videos he wanted to show me. The problem was it was 11 at night and I was exhausted. Nonetheless, I didn’t want to turn him away, so I watched the videos all set to the silly music he dubbed – he would use a different word most likely — over.

Around 11:20 p.m., I realized I had fallen asleep on the couch but he was not there. I went upstairs and he was asleep in his bed. The next day I asked him what happened to him and he replied something along the lines of, “when you fell asleep during the video, I just let you be.” I told him to show some more of those posts he wanted to share with me. He declined, saying he didn’t feel like it now. I encouraged him to show me later on this evening, maybe before 10:30 though.

I spent the next few days encouraging him to show me what he was talking about. It appears I lost my window because I am still waiting. Or, it’s possible he came to show me one recent night while I was asleep.

When my kids walk into a room, there are times when I do a double take.

Like most houses with school-aged kids, the mornings are a bit chaotic. My teens have become good about getting up on their own for school. Each have strengths and weaknesses on this front, but by and large Beckett, 15, and Carson, 14, do a fine job of being independent.

There were many years when I wondered if we were not around to wake them up whether they would sleep right through their first period classes. Nowadays, I hear their alarms from downstairs and soon after I hear the familiar stomping of teen feet on the second floor.

One morning this week Beckett came into the kitchen without his shirt on, and it hit me how much he is changing physically. It also helped that he bumped me out of his way in a half-asleep mode to get to the fridge, saying, “morning, dog.” As hard as it was for me to understand, I got no response back from him when I replied, “morning, cat.”

These physical changes are not always as obvious when you see your kids multiple times every day. It’s something I feel blessed to be able to experience. Many parents travel for work, and I am fortunate to be able to be present daily.

As for Carson, it’s a similar situation as far as the physical changes. He’s a big, heavy-set kid. When he comes around the corner with a head of steam, I am not interested in that sort of run in with Carson. Similar scenarios unfold with him as I marvel over how much he has grown over the years.

One of his most unique physical traits is Carson’s hair literally stands straight up. His curly hair has natural lift in all directions. It’s fun to play with, but I’m sure he doesn’t find it entertaining when I push down on his hair and giggle when it immediately pops back out. As he grows closer to my height, I do it less and less because of the look he gives me in his non-verbal way.

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.