Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Parenthood

Being a stay at home Dad isn't the easiest job in the world. It's tedious and boring most of the time, frantic and frustrating the rest... and it gives you nothing in the way of intellectual stimulation. In many ways it's like going to college, only the puke that I clean up on a daily basis doesn't belong to me.

I never really wanted kids. I've always been selfish and children are the scariest thing in the world to someone who thinks mostly of themselves. I had children because my wife wanted them and I wanted her to be happy. That's how much I love her. I had no idea what would happen to me as a result.

Today I watched Parenthood, the old Steve Martin movie about an extended family and all the stuff that comes with being a parent. I've always liked it but now that I have kids, it's a different movie altogether. Sure, the funny parts are still funny, it's just that the dramatic parts are so much more poignant and relevant. I get it now.

The movie ends with the whole family gathered for the birth of a new child and after a slow pan around the room, the camera finally comes to rest on Mary Steenbergen, who is crying... caught up in the emotion of the moment.

I started crying, too.

Not just a misty eyed, "awww shucks" movie cry either (although I had done that already, several times) but crying almost to the point of sobs.

It's hard to explain it, which is rare for me. Everyone who has children feels it. Some say it's pure joy but it's not really... it's a combination of joy and something else, at least for me. It's like someone came along, reached inside me and unlocked a door to a place that contains emotions I never knew existed. I find myself thinking at those moments, "I had no idea..."

It's scary to think that I went so long without ever feeling this way. You spend your whole life trying to gain some measure of control over yourself.... a "routine" for your emotions... "This is how I feel about this and this is how I feel about that and so on and so on..." and then you have children and it's as if you've been born again. You're brand new and you have to start all over again, tackling these intense feelings that burst to the surface at a moments provocation.... love, joy, fear, anxiety... they're all there and, if you're a stay-at-home it's worse than most because you have no mental distractions. You're neck-deep in the emotion pot all the time.

So I sat there, crying. Samantha came over and gave me a hug and a kiss. Then, the closing credits started rolling on the movie and Randy Newman started singing "I Love to See You Smile." Sam looked at me and said, "Wanna dance?"

Yes I do baby. I surely, surely do.

3 Comments:

Marijayde said...

well crap, now I'm crying!

10:23 AM  
tom said...

I knew you had it all along-it just took Sam, Mac & Bobbi to bring it out. Mom

7:46 PM  
Sagnuts said...

Until you got married, I always thought you were gay. Now I just think you're a pathetic sap. Suck it up you wuss! Go to a baseball game and drink beer, then stop by a titty bar on the way home. Buy that Playstation game that allows you to shoot deer and elk, and go see Talladega Nights. OK, I'm kidding of course. Yesterday at McDonalds, I picked up a set of keys that a woman had dropped and handed them to her. Later, my 8 year old said "Daddy, I think you are a very polite man. I want to be like you when I am big". "Well, thank you buddy, would you like an ice cream cone"? "Yes sir".

12:22 PM  

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