Flipping through channels on a Babyface-nap/Mommy-vacation, recently, I came across the documentary The Other F Word. The secondary F-word, Father, being G-rated in nature, but the subjects of the movie R-rated. I was quickly glued to the TV, when I noticed the synopsis mentioned punk bands like Pennywise and Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers. How would these subjects be tied to fatherhood? Was this a cautionary tale? Was this a “how not to do” for parenthood?
I was a huge connoisseur of punk bands, like the Sex Pistols, when I was 5. Okay, I was a little older than 5, but that’s not the point. Listening to their music was like a door of freedom for my teenage angst. In fact, I rocked my head back and forth and created enough pretend mosh pits in my bedroom that I’m surprised I don’t have more headaches as an adult.
The opening scenes were polarizing. It’s like Jim Lindberg of Pennywise had split personalities. One minute he was singing about teenage anarchy and smoking a cigarette side-stage. The next minute he was telling his daughter she had to go to bed after doing her homework. Okay, after American Idol, she negotiated.
Seeing bands I idolized as a teenager emulating all aspects of typical middle age is surreal. It’s just about as surreal as picturing myself living in suburbia with a husband and a kid (oh wait, I do that). Something about seeing them want to live a normal life and raise their children right makes parenthood seem a bit cooler. I’d take watching my daughter perform her ballet routine in the living room 20 times in a row over going to concerts, night after night, any day. If someone had shown me a crystal ball of my life 20 years ago, I would have said the “first” f-word and then “no way!”
As I watched the documentary and more and more paternal rockers were revealed, I noticed a trend. A lot of them grew up tough, with a Mother and a F#$*er. They had a mom that raised them and a dad that left them. There were a lot of “my dad went to the store for cigarettes and never came back” stories. I’ve always wondered how dads do that. Do they create a separate bank account without their wife’s knowledge? Do they just completely disappear with the clothes off their back and whatever money they’re carrying in their wallet? Does a conscience skip a generation in some cases?
This reminded of a quality I used to steer clear of before I met my husband. I never wanted to marry a guy with divorced parents, in fear that he might not know what a good marriage was like or assume that all marriages end (and, not by old age). My parents have been together for decades. Basically, I was counting out 25% of the population with the divorce rate being 50%. Some women don’t like short guys or guys with big noses. I wanted a guy whose family was still a unit.
When I met my husband, I realized that some children who suffered by divorce refuse to follow in their parent’s footsteps. Obviously, relationships can’t be controlled, but they go into the marriage with the mindset that they will fight tooth and nail, for better or for worse. I think it’s the same for these rockers. They had it so bad that they just want to make it good for their kids. It’s admirable. Whether they stay with their wives or not, their kids are still their kids. And, their dedication to their kids has definitely helped them change their ways.