On a whim I watched a documentary called "The Other F Word", about punk rockers becoming dads (the other F word being "father"). I thought, "oh, this will be fun!" And it was fun to watch. But oh my God, so much more than that! If ever there were a movie that spoke to exactly how I've been feeling about parenthood lately - oh my God! Basically it follows aging punkers from bands like Blink 182, Pennywise, the Adolescents, Fear, US Bombs, etc, and interviews them and their experiences being dads. Also dads still being rock stars on the road, and how they try to reconcile that lifestyle to family life. It was fascinating, but of course the part that touched me the most was when these men talked about their own shitty, broken childhoods, and how becoming dads themselves was their chance to do it right, to stand up and be the present, loving dads they never got to have. I freaking love these guys! Their young lives were so similar to mine - probably a very familiar 1980's story, really; little to no parental involvement, left to our own devices wandering the streets and getting into trouble in bad company. A lot of my friends, the people closest to me, lived this life. And it was wild and exciting and free - but also sad. We only lived like that because nobody cared about us, and we carry those scars to this day.
And now we're parents and we look at our innocent children's faces and we find it incomprehensible that anyone would want to abandon that child, or not pay child support for that child, or in any way not make that child a priority at all times. What was going on in the 70s and 80s? Was there just a wave of narcissism that swept through our parents' bedrooms at night and carried away our normal, loving parents and replaced them with these selfish pods? What is the difference between us and them, and how are some of us able to overcome and do better, while others are not?
I was just delighted by the attitudes of these hard core dads. There's nothing more charming to me than a guy with a tattoo on his forehead and screws in his neck saying, "my kids are the most important thing in my life." I love it. I FUCKING LOVE IT. And I love these guys. God bless them. Really.
I don't like to get too mushy about the transformative nature of parenthood, because to me, for women, this is well-trodden territory. But I guess there's something about hearing dads say this that kind of reminds me how true it is. And you know, seeing great dads like that doesn't make me sad for myself, or for B who doesn't have that. It just makes me happy that people like that exist in the world. And that B can one day be a great dad even though, like these guys, he never had one. Maybe there is hope for us after all.