Posts Tagged ‘Father’s Day’

As part of the TILT team Father’s Day tribute series, I’m adding my two cents both as son and father.

Daddy Disclaimer: Before we get started I’d like to let you know this is a fairly image-heavy post, and a couple of the images aren’t for everyone.  They are baby photos but not your typical cute baby photos.  They are the “Whoa! Somebody please clean up that newborn type” photos.  You’ve been weened.  I mean, warned.

Another thing I’ll make you aware of beforehand: I have nearly 35,000 photos of my kids in my iPhoto library. They tell a much better story than I ever could. Don’t worry, though; I didn’t use THAT many.

Kids? Seriously?

by Jeremy Doyle

I love my Dad.  He is a great Dad, as good as they get.  Although he traveled a fair deal for work while I was growing up, he was always there for me.  Both of my parents were.  It didn’t matter what event I was partaking in, they were always there. Looking back on my life, I now realize how blessed I am.

My Dad always made his family a priority (still does), and that is one of the greatest lessons I have learned in life.

Even with all I had growing up, one thing I never really wanted was kids of my own. The world can be such an ugly place, plus there’re so many children out there who have to grow up way to fast.  Why would I want to subject someone to that?

Then I met Nickie.  I loved her, but I knew that marrying her also meant children. Since I couldn’t imagine my life without Nickie, I knew that one day I’d be a dad.

Nickie and Jeremy: an HDR portrait

That day came in 2007 when Lila entered the world via Caesarean birth:

Mad at the world already.

I didn’t realize how much I loved Lila until a nurse was trying to get her to feed.  Lila was being a little stubborn when the nurse called her a “little stinker”.  The ping in my heart hit.  “Hey, she’s not a stinker!  That’s my baby girl!” is what I would have said had my brain let my emotions take over completely.

Then, in 2008, E.J. joined our family:

Welcome to the world.

We had the same doctor for each delivery.  We even had the same room at the hospital.

We had room 3215 for both children.

It’s funny how quickly our children learn from us.  Whenever the camera comes out, Lila is quick to play the ham.  Whenever the camcorder comes out, she is also quick to request her turn.  She is more than happy to be the director and tell her little brother what to do.  And he’s more than happy to oblige.  I expect great films from them someday.

When I say over there, I mean over there!


Figuring out the next shot.

Did she put him in a dress for this shot!?!?

This is art, Daddy!

Until then, we’ll settle for great home movies like “Noodle Time” by Jeremy Doyle on Vimeo:

Now at the ages of 3 and 2, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like without my kids.  Because of my own father’s great example, I can say that my family is my number one priority.  Some things that I want to do in my life will have to wait or, maybe, never even get done.  But that is a small price to pay for the joy I get each day from my children.

Laughing is good for the soul

You got a chance to check out the posts by the rest of the TILT team, too, right?

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At the heart of our film is the relationship between a father and his daughter.  Jessica and Julie have done a fantastic job getting us started with truly touching stories of their fathers for our Father’s Day Month posts!  I’m going to switch it up a bit today, though, and talk about things from the perspective of being a dad.

When Did All This Happen?

by: Phil Holbrook

I’m lonely.  I’m sitting here in an empty house.  The silence is so loud I can’t concentrate.  I’m not used to it. There isn’t any laughing, yelling, or calling for the dog.  There isn’t even any fighting or crying.  If I didn’t know any better, I would almost think that it sounds pretty good.  Except I do know better.  It’s like living in the city your whole life, with the sounds of traffic and gunshots (well, maybe not gunshots), and then moving to the country where all you hear are crickets.  Have fun getting to sleep.  That’s the way my house is right now.

The Family

The Family

Every year my wife goes to a retreat-type thing through her church and brings the kids with her.  There are all kinds of activities for the kids, and they have a blast.  They are gone for 10 days.  I stay home.  I usually use my vacation time around Christmas. This year I used a week during EgoFest; the rest will be used up while shooting TILT.  As the days got closer to when they were about to leave, there was an excitement in the air.  Everyone was excited to go on a fun activity, and I was excited to have the house to myself.  I’m not going to lie.  I looked forward to it.  I can eat in front of the tv.  Watch any movie I want to on the living room tv, no matter how scary or what time of the day it is.  There isn’t anyone asking me to change the channel to “Max and Ruby.”  There aren’t any interruptions while I’m trying to work on a project.  Bring it on!

Millie

How will I ever be able to tell this little dumplin' "no" for anything?

Day 1:  Life is good.

Day 2:  Things are still fine… but something doesn’t quite feel right.  It’s already been quiet for too long.  Time to go find something to do.

Day 3: It’s noon.  I’ve called them twice already to ask about what they are doing, secretly hoping they will tell me how much they miss me and want to come home.  That doesn’t happen.  They’re having so much fun they don’t want to come to the phone to talk to me.  I better make some lunch.  For one.  One really is the loneliest num…  “Shake it off, Man! Get a grip.” I tell myself.  Great.  Now I’m talking to myself.  I’ll go eat in front of the computer.  Good idea!

Nolan

A little filmmaker in the making. I'm so proud!

Day 4: I turn the tv on.  I need to create some sort of background noise.  I might as well see what’s on the tube.  Click.  Click. Click.  The Wonder Pets are coming on.  The kids love Wonder Pets.  “Wonder Pets, Wonder Pets, we’re on our way, to save a baby….” It’s no fun singing the songs by yourself.  I watch it anyway.  It’s 3pm.  I guess that’s close enough for dinner.  Doesn’t matter when you’re by yourself, throwing single serving whatevers in the microwave.  I eat it at the dinner table and look at the three empty chairs.  Is that my phone ringing?  Where is my phone? It’s them.  It’s them.  It’s… a telemarketer.  Oh well, I start to tell him about the time Nolan didn’t quite make it to the potty and pooped on the carpet.  The telemarketer hangs up on me.

The kids

They'll only be this age for a minute.

When did all this happen? When did I get so dependent on these people, to the point of being practically crushed by their absence?  I used to be a really independent guy.  I didn’t need anybody.  I do now, though.  I do now.  The big question is… do I always remember that?  When they want to play ball after dinner, do I go play ball?  How about when I’m in the middle of editing a project and they come in my office wanting me to read them a book?  They are 3 and 5 years old.  The book isn’t War and Peace.  Their favorite books, Fancy Nancy and Sheep in a Jeep, take, at most, five minutes to read.  When don’t I have five minutes for them, no matter how busy I think I may be?  They are only going to be this age for about a minute.  I don’t want to miss it.

So… when did all this happen?  Was it in the hospital when they were put in my nervous arms, while I looked at them with my glassy, amazed eyes?  How about during my nightly routine of checking on them and making sure they are all covered up before I go to bed?  Maybe it was while I listened to the same knock-knock joke 20 times in a row.  I guess it doesn’t really matter when it happened, just that it did.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For more on being a dad, check out TILT cinematographer Jeremy Doyle’s Father’s Day post: Kids? Seriously?

The TILT Team is exploring fatherhood on the blog because a) Father’s Day is this month and b) TILT is largely about a complicated father and daughter relationship.  Jessica started us off; now Julie’s taking her turn.

Fathers, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Writers

By Julie Keck

Me and My Dad

When I was a kid, I hated being outside.  This was partly because I didn’t like getting dirty and partly because I was allergic to everything: the soft warm grass that everyone rolled around in so freely, the beautiful flowers, the animals (even the cute ones, especially the cute ones), even the air (okay, it was the dust and pollen in the air, but still…)  No matter how alluring the outside might look, every excursion into the wild of my yard or the adjoining fields lead to itchy hives, swollen eyes, or another asthma attack.

This was my front yard. No, that is not me in the pic.

As a result I spent a lot of time in my parents’ air conditioned bedroom reading while my sister played outside looking for snakes to scare me with or climbing on whatever farm equipment my uncle had parked precariously on the edge of our hilly driveway.  Despite my anti-nature nature, however, there were some things my dad wouldn’t let me out of, Saturday wood-stacking being one of them.

Dad + Mom BK (before kids)

Many Saturdays started with my dad heading into the woods surrounding our house to look for trees that had fallen or were teetering on the edge.  We lived in Southern Illinois on a patch of land in the middle of my grandpa’s massive farm.  My dad grew up in a house less than a mile from where we lived, and he was very connected to the land.  Even though we were only a 10 minute pick-up truck ride from the nearest tiny town and 30 minutes from the larger town where I’d eventually go to high school, we could go days without seeing anyone who wasn’t a part of our immediate family.  And that was just fine.

The Whole Fam (as of 1980 or so...)

Immersed in the world of the Little Women or The Little Prince (or, you know, other books with the word ‘little’ in the title), when I heard the sound of my dad’s chainsaw echoing through the woods, I knew that I only had an hour or so to read before my dad’s truck flew into the backyard filled with big pieces of tree.  Good-bye, book.  Hello, splinters.

Once in the backyard, my dad would start hacking the lumps into wood-burning stove sized hunks, his huge ax swinging over his head and through the wood with a loud crack, not unlike a mini-thunder clap.  Then he’d throw the smaller pieces at me and my sister so that we could stack them into a neat pile along the edge of the woods near our back porch.  My sister was pretty good at catching, but I wasn’t.  Shocker, I know.  Jen could catch and stack with the best of them, she even seemed to enjoy it.  My best plan of attack was to close my eyes (I could only see out of one eye, so I didn’t want to scratch my good cornea or anything), open my arms, and hope that as little of the dirt from the wood got on my clothes as possible.  You can guess how well that worked.

Dad + flannel (I later stole this shirt.)

Crack-throw-catch-stack. Crack-throw-catch-stack.  It was so hot out there.  I was so tired.  And the wood stacking was taking up precious reading time and, later, precious on-the-phone-with-my-friends time.  It seemed to go on forever.  But slowly, slowly the back of the pick-up would empty out, and finally Dad would toss over the last few pieces (was he aiming for our heads, or was that just me?), and we were done.  Hooray.

You’d think that at that point I’d just want to go in and take a shower, but oh no – I wanted my fee for stacking that wood.  Two quarters.  Five dimes.  A cooooool fifty cents.  Dad would give us our quarters, load us into the pick-up (the back, if Mom wasn’t around), and drive up to town to Billy M’s gun shop.  There my dad would shoot the shit with Billy about antique guns, recent hunting accomplishments, local gossip – or at least I assume that’s what they were talking about.  I have no idea, actually, because as soon as we hit the door of the store, my sister and I immediately ran to the huge candy display near the cash register.

I really don’t remember anything about the store besides the candy. There may have been a random assortment of cold cuts behind a flickering deli counter.  Maybe some bread?  Definitely ammo.  It didn’t matter, because I was focused on my goal: to get as much candy as possible for my money.

Jen was a little younger than me (still is), so she was more likely to blow her money on something new, silly, or expensive: ring pops, candy necklaces, candy cigarettes, one big brand-name candy bar.  She’d grab something that looked good, run to the counter, pay for it, and eat it.  The end.  I was much more savvy than that.  I’d skip past my favorite candy (Snickers bars or peanut butter cups), and go for bulk: tootsie rolls, life savers, dumdum pops (which I didn’t even like), butter scotch disks, candy corn.  The more I got, the more successful my trip.  No, I might not have gotten what I wanted, but whatever I got, I got a lot of it.

These decisions could take hours, the adding, the comparing, and my dad never rushed us.  I like to think that he was watching us, proud of our price comparisons, our learning processes, our decision-making skills. More likely he was just happy to have some time to talk with his friend – it was his weekend, too, after all.

I remember being so proud when Billy would add up my treasures at the register, loading them into a little paper bag and handing them over.  I have no doubt that he often gave me free stuff if I mis-added.  Maybe my dad did enough shopping there to make it worth his while.  Or maybe Billy was just a nice guy.

Dad + Me + Transfarmers t-shirt

It didn’t occur to me until just a couple of years ago that my dad wasn’t trying to torture me by making me stack wood with my sister; he was getting us out of the house, encouraging us to be physical, making us contribute to the household, and teaching us a little fiscal responsibility to boot. Sneaky Dad.  I wonder if he’s still doing this sort of thing.  I plan to be on guard when I head home for my 4th of July visit.  And if he asks me to do a little wood stacking, I’m keep my eyes open, wearing gloves, and upping my fee. Maybe to $1.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

***

Are you ready for more?

In honor of Father’s Day, the Tilt team has decided to dedicate several blog posts to celebrate fathers and fatherhood throughout June.  Why?  Because at the heart of Tilt is an exploration of what it means to be a father, what it means to take care of your family, and why it’s never too late to right wrongs.  Some of members of the team will write about their fathers; others will write about being fathers.

Our first installment is from Tilt writer/producer Jessica. Recently she wrote about her father to help her students understand the different rhetorical modes.  Each entry is written in a different mode, but all explore the same topic: her father.

*****

My Dad: The Can-Opener King of Sheffield Towne

By Jessica King

Rhetorical Mode: Argumentative

My father was the Can-Opener King of Sheffield Towne.  No one could top him in form or substance.  His dives caused water to shoot up into the air at least 8 feet above the pool, just like Old Faithful – which he’d made us stare at for 30 minutes straight one summer after 18 hours of driving – and they had a splash radius of at least 10 feet.  The cheering crowd always got a good soaking when my dad hit the pool, and they never, ever let him do just one.

Rhetorical Mode: Narration
When I was young, I spent my summers by the pool with the other members of the tight knit community that revolved around our sheltered, suburban cul-de-sac.  My father was a celebrity of sorts, master of a funny diving move called the Can-Opener, in which the participant jumped into the pool and tried to make the biggest splash.  Although this maneuver required less skill than buffoonery, my father’s quest to be the best made him a local celebrity.  This earned him the begrudging respect of his male peers, unabashed flirting from the sun bathing ladies, awe from sunscreen-slathered youth, and the disdain of my mother, who appreciated neither his outlandishness nor his winks at his admirers.  By the end of my 10th summer, he was the toast of our tiny town.  He was also sleeping in the guest bedroom.

Rhetorical Mode: Cause and Effect

My mother and father nearly divorced at the end of the summer of my 10th year.  My father’s status as the Can-Opener King had all the single ladies of Sheffield Towne a-drool, and my mother’s jealousy got the best of her.  I remember our treks home from the pool the most, my mother race-walking with arms crossed, my father oblivious and waving back at Ms. Eubanks, the mother of a beauty pageant princess, who once made a serious play for my father, which sent my mom into such a tizzy that she made him stay at the YMCA for a whole week.

Rhetorical Mode: Classification

Diving is a complex sport comprised of precise body contortions.  In professional diving, the names are very utilitarian: the forward dive, the backward dive, the backward dive with a twist.  In non-professional diving, the kind my father preferred, the names are much more picturesque and manly: the jack-knife, the cannon-ball, the can-opener, the belly flop.

The Pool

Rhetorical Mode: Comparison/Contrast
After stepping up on the diving board, my father lumbered forward at top speed, each gargantuan step making the diving board quiver in terrified anticipation.  When he got to the end of the board, he’d take a healthy bounce, his weight bending the board nearly to snapping, and up, up, up, he’d fly into the air, higher than anyone watching – and yes, everyone was watching – thought was possible.  Mid-air, he’d grab his right knee, straighten his left leg, and lean slightly back with the grace of a ballet dancer and then…  SPLASH!  A mushroom cloud of water spouted high and wide.

His opponent, on the other hand, climbed carefully up the ladder, walked calmly to the end of the diving board, and took a moment to get his bearings before daintily turning ’round.  Then he gingerly bent his knees.  This didn’t look like the prelude to a can-opener at all.  The diving board would barely wobble under the weight of this man-who-wasn’t-my-father, but somehow he’d create enough pressure on the board to pop straight up into the air, where he, too, would assume the jack-knife position.  When this man, this other man, hit the water, the splash would spurt weakly into the air like a sickly cherub spitting from a dying fountain.  Sometimes these other men, these men who weren’t even Can-Opener Princes, failed to get the attention of even the littlest kids in the pool.

Rhetorical Mode: Description
After stepping up on the diving board, my father lumbered forward at top speed, each gargantuan step making the diving board quiver in terrified anticipation.  When he got to the end of the board, he’d take a healthy bounce, his weight bending the board nearly to snapping, and up, up, up, he’d fly into the air, higher than anyone watching – and yes, everyone was watching – thought was possible.  Mid-air, he’d grab his right knee, straighten his left leg, and lean slightly back with the grace of a ballet dancer and then…SPLASH!  A mushroom cloud of water spouted high and wide. The uproarious oohs and ahhs of the crowd, impressive by anyone’s standards, were drowned out by the deafening crash of the massive amounts of water jostling for space back inside the pool.

Rhetorical Mode: Definition
Being the daughter of the Can-Opener King was nothing to scoff at.  My father had a claim to fame.  He was special.  He drew crowds.  Everyone in our enclave knew him.  And, as a result, they all knew me.  It wasn’t just an honor; it was a responsibility.  Wherever I went, I was representing him.  I couldn’t wear just anything to school or to the pool or to block parties.  I was the Can-Opener King’s daughter.  It’s not as though I belonged to one of the other dads, the ones who sort of looked like my dad but were just fat, lazy bastards.  My dad was special.  And, therefore, so was I.

*****

Are you ready for more Tilt team Father’s Day posts?

Also, feel free to share stories about YOUR dad, about being a dad, or about fatherhood in general in the comments section.