Saturday, September 7, 2013

Thru and Thru

I've had this Rolling Stones song in my head a lot the last few days. It's because HBO just ran the Sopranos episode that has it as the closing theme (Sopranos fans - you know the one!), an episode that especially focuses on sadness, as Dr. Melfi says to Tony, "I sense sorrow coming from you." It's not that I'm sad. But I've been having a lot of profound thoughts lately, ever since that whole Spectacular Now thing a few weeks ago. It's kind of like the floodgates opened in seeing that movie, and haven't really closed yet. Also pregnancy hormones always make me super weepy, and the weeks around my event always push me into high emotionality. So it's all of these things that found me sobbing in my glider last night.

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.


  1. 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 FUCKING LOVE IT TOO!!! (Maybe there is hope after all...).

  2. I started watching it last night (still not done yet, joy of motherhood/working!). I am just at the part where they rehashed their childhoods and are talking about how important it is to be present. It's pretty inspiring (and somehow doesn't make me sad about my family being father-less either). Thanks for mentioning it, I am pretty sure I never would have clicked on it otherwise.