What Connects Fathers to Sons
It's funny how things catch you, make your heart skip a beat.
Every afternoon I pick up my 7-year-old, Ian, and we go home for play and homework. Sometimes I put music on in the car. Not kiddie music, only grown-up stuff -- musicals, film scores, pop -- and so my kids have never really connected with the usual elementary fare, such as Barney and the like. Anyway, today was PJ day in Ian's second-grade class, and they watched "Pocahontas." This morning, when I drove him to school, he was into the PJs but was dreading the movie. By this afternoon, he was loving the movie, and its characters and songs were all he could talk about. In fact, he couldn't get his thoughts about it out fast enough.
One thing he said struck me: "Dad, I can't believe 'Pocahontas' was rated G. I mean, there was so much killing and guns, it really should have been PG-13."
I was pleasantly shocked. First, what 7-year-old knows or cares about movie ratings? And second, he's right. Just plain right. I'm thinking of sending him to DC whenever the MPAA has another big movie-ratings conversation.
For some reason, all this got me thinking back to the days Ian and his older brother Jeremy were born. In the months before, my wife and I had played music into her womb, using headphones -- so by the time each boy arrived, he was already well-versed, as it were, in the music they'd be hearing in the car. Of course, we also did a lot of talking to them. I'd get really close to Ellen's belly, then we'd have family chats. Who knows what they were about, and who cares? The important thing was, we had them.
And the coolest thing happened. After each boy was born, he was wheeled into that room where he was measured and warmed and all that. I went along, as instructed, trying to get used to all that desperate screaming, while my wife was seen to by her doctor. The thing is, in that tiny room, I started talking to the boys right away. And just as right away, both times, the boys quieted down and turned to my voice, to the voice they knew from those family chats, to me. They were drawn, quite literally, to the familiar.
These were defining moments, indelible moments in which my sons bound themselves to their father -- and the memories of them are among my most treasured possessions. And like Ian’s “Pocahonas” revelation, they made my heart happily, even gratefully, skip a beat.