Monday, November 10, 2008

The Bye Week

Even the mighty Jack takes a bye week. Just basic developmental stuff to report, and while very cool, and darn fun to watch, it doesn't generate much copy. The reactive smiling and cooing (yes, great captains of men coo) that Jack's able to do now makes the 27 times he spits up on you worth it. For the family as a whole, this week's most memorable non-Jack item was picking out paint colors for Home Port 2.0. Sal-ute to all you interior decorator types out there. That job gave the crew tired-head in the extreme.

I find myself learning some arcane bit of information, having never seen or heard it before, and then every day thereafter finding mention of it everywhere. I assume we filter and ignore things that are unfamiliar. Suddenly, when they're not unfamiliar anymore, they pop up constantly. At least, so goes my theory. Along those lines, some random thoughts on fatherhood from E.C., since I'm noticing a heckuva lot more instances and portrayals of fatherhood:

I flipped across Guess Who's Coming to Dinner yesterday. Of particular interest to this neofather was a scene in which Sydney Poitier's on-screen dad gives him a legendary tongue lashing. The old man, evidently a former golf-caddy, has tallied up the distance over which he carried golf bags to provide for his son: 75,000 miles. Sydney's well-articulated, angry response is something along the lines of, "I don't owe you anything, because you did what you were supposed to do!" He pours gasoline on the fire with, "You've got to get off my back. GET OFF MY BACK!" Again, I'm paraphrasing, but he finishes with a reassuring, but resolved "You are my father, and I am your son. I love you. Always have. And I always will. But you see yourself as a colored [sic] man. I see myself as a man."

It made me think a lot about the possible mistake of seeing this fatherhood gig as an investment, or a pension plan. So many times it's presented that way, joked about that way. I should be a good father to Jack, a great father, even, because I'm supposed to be. Not because I'm building up parental capital with him to use at some future time. One hopes Jack will respect me for being a good dad, and value my advice. But even if he doesn't, it was still my job to be a good father. Period.

Another thought, here. I'm trying to understand that Jack will see himself as a different kind of man than I see myself as. He won't be constrained by some of the bonds that hold me. For better or worse, he'll have his own to deal with. Wrapping my brain around that is probably impossible at this early stage.

For lack of a better term, GWCTD is a mother of a film. And not just for the hot-button 1967 subject matter. Spencer Tracy's monologue at the very end is worth seeing on its own, the last golden nugget of a golden career (he died just 17 days after filming).

Gosh, I feel like a really rotten film critic. Enjoy your week - I'll be in the shower washing this off.


Anonymous said...

When asked on why we had kids. It's not that I needed children... it's that the world needs my children. I thank that idea to my motherinlaw. Raising them in that light puts a whole new perspective on fatherhood. Glad to see you my friend!

El Comodoro said...

An excellent point, Stephen. Improving the world (or attempting to) by raising excellent kiddos. I like it.

Too many times I hear only the "how to teach your children how to survive in the big bad world" discussion. Turns it on its ear when you actually think - hey, this kid could improve the world, not just survive it.

Jennifer said...

Loving this blog and the boating lingo! I can't believe Stephen didn't know you were in town. We've got to get together some time. Precious captain you have there.

El Comodoro said...

Hey Jennifer, thanks a bunch. Just trying to prosecute the old mission statement, y'know. And glad to "meet" you!

The Everett Family said...

Hey Morgan,

I LOVE your blog! So creative, funny, and sweet...and, of course, the subject matter is adorable. :)

Hope you and your family are doing well...

The Other Morgan

El Comodoro said...

Hey Cousin Morgan!
Thanks for the kind words. You guys doing OK over in the far far far farthest east?

The Everett Family said...

Hey again...yep, we're doing great over here! We'll be making a trip back to Texas in May next year...hope we can catch up then.