Movies and What I Expect Fathering to Be Like

House from "Father of the Bride"If there is one thing that the media have done for society, it’s create a sense of how things should be. Producers have become masters at creating scenes that indelibly imprint themselves in the minds of viewers and those scenes, in turn, become part of the sense of “how things should be.”

Sometimes these magical moments affect a large segment of the population, like those of us who recently (in the last 15 years) glommed onto the movie “A Christmas Story,” and who now see Christmas as a cherished time with the whole family gathered around the tree, a fire going, and turkey dinner for lunch (or maybe Duck); and of course there are gifts…lots of gifts.

Other times, these moments are much smaller, less impactful on the larger society, but just as powerful in the minds of the viewer. As a parent, I realize that there are things that I want to do with my kids that have nothing to do with my own self-realized goals, but are things that I’ve seen portrayed on television or the big screen and that seemed like wonderful things to do.

An example of this might be the father/daughter pre-marriage basketball game that Steve Martin shares with his soon-to-be-married daughter the night before her big day in the movie “Father of the Bride.” I don’t have daughters, but I would love to have a moment like that with my sons one day before they get married. I want to have that special of a bond with my children.

Last night I got to enjoy one of these moments, and in retrospect, it’s a silly one I know, but it’s something I’ve seen time and time again on television and movies and it always seemed so touching.

I got to carry my sleeping son to bed.

I know that may sound silly to a lot of people—commonplace even—but my oldest son is not a sleeper and it’s a very rare day that he falls asleep anywhere other than his bed. But last night as I was putting my youngest down to sleep (a 20-minute ordeal), I left my oldest in “mom and daddies bed” watching “Thomas the Tank Engine” and when I returned, I found him curled up fast asleep. I then picked him up and carried him to his bed where he didn’t even wake up. In that moment I realized that I was living out one of those moments in life that, while so simple, will be indelibly etched in my mind as a father. The idea that another human being can so willingly put him or herself in my care without a care of their own, is a precious thing to me.

I may ultimately suck at this dad stuff, but I’d like to think that based on this, I’ve done something right.

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