When it comes to marriage and long-term relationships, you can sometimes fall into a trap of believing that you know everything about your partner. You feel you know their choices and can predict their actions with ease – then they turn around and do something that shakes up your view and makes you truly say, “Wow – I didn’t see that one coming.”
I am fully aware that this can happen in both positive and negative contexts, but for those of you reading, I hope more of the happy surprises come your way than the alternative. This recently happened to me, when HomieLuva told me “I have an idea to do a film,” then a few weeks later showed me an actual trailer for the completed piece.
Modern Day Dad gives an inside view to fatherhood – particularly Black fatherhood – in today’s society. Fathers of all kinds (new dads, single dads, dads who have great relationships with their dads and ones who never knew their dad, etc.) use this space to talk about what they experience in this identity, and their stories are rounded out by featured children, partners, and professionals of various backgrounds. It’s an important conversation, and I’m so proud of HomieLuva and his team for pulling it off. Though I’m not featured in the film, I wrote a piece for him on For Harriet this time last year that spoke (and still speaks) to how I feel about him as a father:
On June 21, 2014, life as we knew it shifted, ballooned, and took on new shape. Our daughter burst into the world accompanied by the summer solstice sunrise, bringing with her the gift of new identities for the two of us. Taking on the roles of mother and father, we were immediately thrust into on-the-job training with this beautiful brown baby as our only guide.
Growing into motherhood has been incredible, but a hidden corner of my heart has been filled by watching you step into your being as a father. On one hand, I’m not surprised. If I ever wavered in my faith that you would be an excellent dad, we wouldn’t be here right now. The unexpected part of it all has been bearing witness to just how you’ve taken the baton of fatherhood and ran with it. Those before you stumbled and succeeded in their own ways, but this is your race to run, at your pace, with your unique stride.
You’re an “all in” kind of dad, and hesitation is not part of your process. Save for labour, delivery, and breastfeeding, I’d be hard-pressed to find any other act of parenting that you haven’t been able to do. Your fatherhood is more than presence—it is deliberate action and intentional love; a fertile soil where our daughter can take root and thrive.
You spent six months as a stay-at-home dad. I’ve never seen you smile more, never heard you laugh more, never felt more appreciated once you understood the work required at that level of caregiving. Was it easy? No. Was it soul-fulfilling? You remind me everyday that it was. The proof is in the bond between you and her: the inside jokes you share, the way she settles instinctively into the crook of your arm and nuzzles into your neck, the way you look at her, then look at me and smile.
Here we are—June 21, 2015. The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, which is fitting. No other day is better equipped to encompass the momentous celebration of our daughter’s first birthday and your first Father’s Day. While we rejoice and mark her first turn around the sun, I cheer for you, too. I was the daughter who wished for more from her father at times. I am the woman who hoped for a team player in this parenting game. Every day you give our daughter the love she needs, and you give me the partnership I desire.
Happy Father’s Day. It’s been a blessing watching you bloom.
Modern Day Dad premieres on Father’s Day, June 19th 2016 at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto, and you can get all the details and tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/modern-day-dad-tickets-25044609100
Happy (early) Father’s Day to all the real ones, the hold-it-down ones, the I-learned-from-my-mistakes ones. I’ll be celebrating with some of the best dads I know at the Modern Day Dad screening, and I hope you’ll join us too.