“Daddy, this is the best night ever!”

Does it get any better than that? I wanted a special night with Brandon when we were down the Shore on vacation. I wasn’t sure what we would do, but knew I wanted to do something.

I’ve been told by so many people to make time. To stop and pay attention to the moments because it goes fast. It was one of my biggest fears when I became a dad because of my own experiences at times growing up – I didn’t want to miss out on things. I wanted to always do my best to be there, and be present when I was there, not just for myself but for Brandon too.

Yet no matter how much time I spend with him and how closely I watch, I feel like I can’t keep up with just how fast he is developing right before my eyes. I am already starting to feel like I would give anything for time to slow down just a little bit.

Once we got Adam to sleep, I left with the big guy for a special night together. I let Brandon pick what he wanted to do, knowing chocolate ice cream would be involved. We had been talking about playing mini golf for a while, so I wasn’t surprised when that was his first choice.

After we picked our clubs and he chose ball colors, he said confidently, “I know how to play Daddy, let me show you.” He then ran up to the first hole and dropped the ball in. He declared, “I got a hole in one!”

I thought, when did my son not only learn how to play golf, but cheat so well? Actually, I was more in awe of the conversations we later had about everything from going into kindergarten to his thoughts on vacation and what he likes to do with his friends.

We had the course to ourselves, but I think he enjoyed being up after his bedtime and out someplace with me as much as the game we were playing. I enjoyed just being with him and watching him be his animated self. I thought we would get about halfway through and he’d tap out, but surprisingly, he wanted to play all 18 holes.

We were on our way to ice cream after playing when Brandon yelled from the back seat, “Stop the car daddy, look at the sun!” Brandon usually goes to bed before the sun goes down in the summer, so I didn’t even realize he was seeing the amazing sunset over the water for the first time. We turned down toward the bay to get a better look, and I was so glad we were able to see it together.

When we got to the ice cream shop, Brandon asked, “Do we have to eat here or can we go back to the house?” I wasn’t sure if he was starting to get tired, so I asked why. He said, “It would be even more fun if we could get some ice cream for Mommy too. Then we can go back and sit on the deck while we eat it together with her.” How could I argue with that?

We had a blast, but the night wasn’t really about what we did. The time we spent together mattered more. We were continuing to grow our own special bond one moment at a time, and it helped me feel better about those fears that I’m missing out.

But even when I’m watching and listening closely, I still feel like I can’t keep up with how fast Brandon is growing up. I want to make sure I’m living in the moment with my eyes open as he lets me go along for the ride.

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of my own way. To just be present and immerse myself in all that is Brandon and the way he sees the world. On this special evening, I got to, and it was fantastic. I can’t wait to do it again.

August 2022
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