father, don’t let them shoot my kite down

6/18/06

A Happy Father’s Day to all of you readers out there who happen to have kids – I’m not discriminating against those who are not breeders, but I have to tell you… even though Father’s Day is probably a mid-20th century invention by the multi-billion dollar gift industry, it does feel really good to have a day celebrating being a dad.

For her part, Tessa gave me some new latté cups, a croissant in bed, and drum lessons! Through a freak crossover of mutual friends, I ended up in a basketball game in the afternoon, populated by some fah-moose people. David Arquette was on my team, and he has a nice drive to the hoop, as well as a confident finish. On the sidelines, Lucy played with Brooke Shields, who was unbelievably nice. We spent the rest of the day at home with Tessa’s best friend Jason, soaking in a perfect day at the beach.

(Oh, and Michelle – we went to an art opening with the King of Men last night. Just wanted to rub it in.)

Perhaps Father’s Day feels nice because the essence of “fatherhood” is a constant fight for relevance. Our genetics expect us to run away from the family after the baby is born, which is why infants are engineered to resemble the father for the first few months. Our nipples don’t work, our frustration level tends to be a foot lower than our female counterparts, and unless you really try hard, you can occasionally find yourself a spectator in your own family.

Popular culture fucks with fatherhood all the time, especially in the Schlub Dad school of advertising. Countless ads feature a dumb-as-a-fucking-bag-of-rocks dad trying to cook dinner for his kids, or do the laundry, or some other devastatingly unfunny joke that should have been shuffled off in the late ’50s. These character actors are either fat and bald, or disheveled and messy, and they allow American men to revel in their easy uselessness. Shit, both Donald Trump and Adam Sandler just told the press they were never going to touch a diaper.

I swore I’d never be that kind of person. I am involved in Lucy’s upbringing almost as much as those creepy child psychologists writing doctoral dissertations. My lack of a physical office away from provides constant contact. Tessa and I split the mornings down the middle, meaning I get those slightly-agonizing-but-very-sweet hours at 6am when she can be the most charmingly antagonizing. I have salved her teething, I have rocked her to sleep upon my breast, I was her “dream feed,” and we have invented games together. She now calls me “Dad-doh!” and marches around the house shouting it with her palm extended skyward.

And yet… there is something between her and Tessa that I will never replicate. I don’t know if the dads out there reading this feel the same way – and I try not to use this as an excuse – but those two ladies have a Vulcan mind meld that can only truly be appreciated across the room. There will come a day when I will be her savior, but in these early years, those two are connected by superstring theory, gravitational fields, and strange quarks.

It is the struggle to emulate this, the desire to share in your child’s subconscious, that separate “guys who have kids” from “fathers,” and it is the latter to whom Sunday was dedicated. Paul McCartney turned 64 on Father’s Day, and when he asked “will you still need me, will you still feed me?” in his song “When I’m 64,” he was really asking about being relevant.

So here’s to us, dads, in our constant fight for relevance, our battle with obsoletion, and our ability to do the right thing despite our occasional desire to go on a three-week single-malt road trip with our best friends to Vegas. It’s a Celebration of the Expected. Father’s Day is for all of us who opted in, so that when our kids look behind them and to the left, they will see that we are here, smiling, and wouldn’t miss it for anything.

IanClipsLucyNailsCries(bl).jpg

i’m sorry, honey, but I HAVE TO CLIP YOUR FINGERNAILS!!!

0 thoughts on “father, don’t let them shoot my kite down

  1. kate from the DTH front desk

    Awww poor Lucy!!!
    Happy Father’s Day, Ian. When I was a little girl, my dad was my hero! I worshipped him and thought he could do no wrong.
    I’m 22 now. He’s still my hero. I’m sure Lucy will feel the same way about you.

    Reply
  2. furious

    You know, Ian, my dad had his office at home, too, and when I was a kid, and he was working at home, he would take breaks from writing or whatever and play with me. It rocked. Your bond with Lucy may be different from Tessa’s, but don’t worry about that: just have YOUR bond with Lucy.
    Happy Fathers Day, a day late.

    Reply
  3. alan

    Dude.. the nail clipping thing, I have so been there countless times. Why do they hate it so much? You would think I was cutting my son’s fingers off instead of just his nails.
    I hope you schooled David Arquette.

    Reply
  4. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    I suppose it would have been tacky to turn Lucy’s meeting with Brooke Shields into a paparazzi moment, but OMG! Brooke Shields! I LOVE HER! Always have, always will. Was her daughter Rowan there? Did Lucy play with Rowan? What about the new baby Grier? OMG!
    As for David Arquette. . . I am not very interested. But, if you had an encounter with Alexis Arquette — now THAT would have been fascinating! Did Lucy see Coco Arquette? OMG!
    Happy Father’s Day.

    Reply
  5. Laurie from Manly Dorm

    Oh, and I think I have my facts mixed up, but didn’t Jason and his partner adopt an adorable little baby a while ago? I apologize in advance if I have my xtcian world folks scrambled in my mind. . . isn’t the baby’s name Noah? Anyway, I love all of your Lucy and Friends photos. . . . may we have some please?

    Reply
  6. cullen

    Dude, my daughter hates that shit too. She’s getting better w/it, but she still reserves the right to squirm and bitch and moan. With or without the nails, we both have the bumps and bruises to prove active parent-child relationship.

    Reply
  7. Andy

    Was David Arquette stunned by your devastating turn-around J?
    I spent part of Father’s Day watching a movie that was about a father’s redemption through his kids – Return of the Jedi.

    Reply
  8. mcf

    my husband has assumed the mantle of “clipper” as well… all hail the dads who adore their children AS MUCH as the moms do. my daughter and i are also of that lucky set, and it is a beautiful thing!! happy dad’s day a day late!

    Reply
  9. Anne D.

    Clip fingernails while they’re napping.
    Ian, I have truly enjoyed witnessing your fatherhood journey thus far on your blog. Any kid would be lucky to have you for a dad.

    Reply
  10. chip

    I certainly like seeing my Goddaughter smiling as opposed to crying, but there is something strangely endearing about that picture….Lucy’s face is a near replica of the Greek tragedy mask.
    I don’t have any famous people stories, but yesterday I was walking my dog on the Duke campus and he raised his leg and took a leak on the Krzyzewskiville sign…I tried to take a picture but I couldn’t get a good view with my cell phone camera.
    Happy Father’s Day to all Fathers.

    Reply
  11. Josie

    You know, after the celeb names and the cryptic reference (SP?!?!), I was so not able to concentrate on the rest of the blog. This stuff rivals perez hilton.
    Happy Father’s Day, a day late.

    Reply
  12. michelle

    The king of men? THE KING OF MEN? You went to an *art opening* with VIGGO MORTENSEN? That is patently unfair. I’ve sat by the sidelines as you have rubbed shoulders with the likes of Allison Janney and Christopher Reeve, but this is unacceptable. Unless, of course, you went up to him and explained that the mother of his (additional) children was your little sister, and then you went into a diatribe about just how awesome I am, and THEN you gave him my home address.

    Reply
  13. Sean Williams

    Starfucker.
    Hey, that guy that everyone thinks is jboog? He’s not posting on the non-political blogs the same way jboog used to not post on non-political blogs.

    Reply
  14. chip

    I read the other day that Viggo Mortenson was once married to Exene Cervenka….anyway, Michelle, Viggo’s IMDB trivia section is particularly fascinating…both of his brothers are geologists, for example…

    Reply
  15. michelle

    Chip, Viggo was married to Exene when I saw X in the mid-80’s. I was, of course, fifteen or sixteen years old, but still- the degrees of separation boggle the mind. Maybe, just maybe Viggo was ALSO at that concert. It was one of the many “farewell” concerts X seemed to have during those years- they said the concert I went to was their last ever, but I think they lied.

    Reply
  16. Emily B

    Ok, I’m with Michelle here. Viggo Mortensen?!! Ian, I think you are going to have to be a bit more forthcoming on this particular encounter. It’s always entertaining to hear about the other celebrities you meet from time to time – but VM deserves a dedicated blog entry.

    Reply
  17. Venus Envy

    Just like my wife, Michelle loves Viggo the blouse man b/c he takes all the ladies for a dreamy walk on the moon, swim in the waterfall, roll in the hay @ WOODstock,et al
    Starpower!

    Reply
  18. Annie

    Michelle, gotta tell ya a little more degree-separated starfuckery: one of my dearest friends used to date Viggo’s younger brother Walter (I guess he’s a geologist now). They were in college together. This was during the time of the Viggo-Exene marriage, which yielded one daughter. Apparently their separation was amicable.
    Personally, I just can’t get all that hot over Viggo. He seems to have some substance, which is appealing, but he has some slightly faded-out quality that just doesn’t reach me.
    In case anyone’s dying to know.

    Reply

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