Thursday, January 6, 2011
I've been catching up on hee-larious 30 Rock of late. That's right, already hitting New Year's goals hard. Thank you, Netflix. I love the episode when Jack and Frank bond over their absentee dad history (“Goodbye, My Friend”). Their connection is juxtaposed by the friendship Liz forms with a pregnant young woman and her understandably super-freaked-out boyfriend.
The episode was timely. I have a recent FB status that goes like this: “While dropping Carter off at preschool this am, he told me that he was going to play in the 'house' center today. And be a dad. A good dad like his dad.” I'm so exceedingly grateful that Carter & Jessica have an attentive, loving dad. Even as a single dad to Jess, Jeff made great effort to “be there.” It seems, no matter what the family dynamics might be, it's the being there, or “showing up” piece that often means the most.
I received some “return to sender / no longer at this address” mail recently. It was a Christmas card that I had sent to my biological dad. Our shared history is that he was absent from my life till a phone call when I was 15, then absent again till 26, then around for a little while (unfortunately with what felt like unrealistic, presumptive expectations of me, but that's another story), then kind of gone again but leaving me with a PO box address to stay in touch. Thus the holiday cards sent over the past decade. To get one back is like a re-rejection. I'm good, though—at 40, I can honestly say that much of that is processed and I wish him happiness. And I've been blessed anyway with a great family and a lot of love. But what another juxtaposition, to receive such mail, and the sweet moment when my 4 year old son wanted to emulate his “Papa.”
If you relate, maybe watch the 30 Rock episode I'm referring to, and have a good laugh-cry. And if you're a parent wondering about your role in your kid's life, here's my best 2 cents: just be there.