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.
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!
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!
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.
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?