Father’s Day is usually a day where dads are commemorated (typically with power tools, an ugly tie, or maybe the day off to play a round of golf)
For me, this past Father’s Day happened to be a day of realization that hit me like a Mack truck doing 95MPH. The realization was mostly about just how much damage my own father did to me (it was also partly about how bad global warming has actually gotten – hey, it’s been really hot lately – but I digress…)
Before we continue, I have to make it absolutely clear: I am completely at peace with my relationship (or lack thereof) with my father. Seriously. I am. To the point that I have NO feelings whatsoever (no anger, no sadness, no grief or guilt, etc..) about the situation.
But that doesn’t mean that I escaped unscathed.
I really thought that I knew the extent of the damage and had it under control – I was evolving on a daily basis with new understandings of myself and my relationships with people, and I was feeling great.
Then Jacob was born and my world exploded.
I had no idea at the time, but in the moment I held him in my arms for the first time something happened. The only way I can explain it is to say that a switch was flipped on. If you’ve been following these posts, then you know that long ago I vowed to be the best dad I could possibly be, and you know that I realized (not so long ago) that I was adhering to my own policy almost to a fault (I know, ironic that an artist would even have a policy in the first place, but guess what? I have many – much to the chagrin of my wife). Well, in that moment, what overcame me was the (almost) unstoppable urge to protect, nurture and defend my son at any and all costs. An urge that my own father definitely did not experience. (Again, I’m fine with that. I just didn’t realize what it would do to me as I became a father myself)
At first glance, this urge is both normal and necessary. But like everything in life, it is best in moderation and when your view is a little skewed (as mine was) you sometimes have trouble discerning between something that actually needs defending and something that doesn’t and you run the risk of overreacting. I did. Plenty.
They say that you must hold on to something before you can learn to let go of it. That means that in order to get over an issue, you first need to recognize that there is even an issue to begin with. Thankfully, I’m fully aware of it and am working on letting go of it. It’s going well, I might add.
So, before you ask, the answer is no. My Father’s Day was not spent in the downward spiral of an existential crisis.
It went like this:
I woke up in the morning to the sound of Jacob yelling “Dada, Dada” – I went to get him. He had his milk while I drank my coffee. From there, we all got ready and went down to Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine (if you’ve never been, I highly recommend it), but Jacob fell asleep in the car, so Cherise stayed with him so I could still enjoy the service. And enjoy it I did! (The anecdotes and stories that the Brother relayed actually helped move my realizations along. It’s no coincidence that it’s called the Self Realization Fellowship…)
After that we went to the farmer’s market in Malibu and then to the park at The Malibu Country Mart – the weather was beautiful (for some reason, I only remember global warming when I’m in the valley…) Jacob had a blast and even met a girl (he does that often, and yes, I’m proud). Then we went home and I took Jacob swimming – he LOVES the pool, and he’s ADORABLE in his little yellow life jacket!
After swimming, Cherise took over and I got ready to go and meet a very good friend of mine – we had a very important Father’s Day engagement with The Man of Steel (no spoilers to worry about here, so, carry on). I loved it. Feel free to argue and tell me why I shouldn’t have. It won’t change anything.
From there I came home to hang with my best friend (yes, Cherise). It was a fantastic day in every respect. I am very grateful for my family. I’m also grateful to have figured myself out.
Now, if only I could figure out a way to put an end to global warming…