When I was in my early 20s, I saw Field of Dreams in the theater. And as it happened, I went with my dad. Dad and I were never big co-moviegoers, but we'd heard about the heart-rending father/son theme and figured it was worth a shot toward some quality bonding. So we sat there, side by side, watching Kevin Costner ease his father's pain, and by the end I was bawling my eyes out. It was the most emotional connection I'd had with a movie since Bambi's mom never made it back from her walk in the woods, and as we walked to the car I gave my dad the first hug I ever really meant.
Unfortunately, 20-year-old firebrands are famous for not understanding (and therefore impugning) their fathers' motivations. But ever since we saw that movie together I've spent more time looking at life through his eyes. And feeling grateful that every decision he made as a father was made with his kids' welfare at the top of his priority list. He worked his ass off trying to establish a secure home and a vital lifestyle for us, things I until then took for granted. I try to keep focused on that, and when I lapse The Voice manages to remind me.
Last night, Field of Dreams came on HBO, and the boys and I watched it together. According to Robert, the film's highlights were 1) the spitting, 2) watching the "fat men" disappear into the cornfield, and 3) when "the man with the big belly and the deep voice" wanted to beat Ray Kinsella with a crowbar.
Toward the end of the film, I was in the kitchen preparing dinner, and when I came back Robert asked if I wanted to hear something "completely sad." I suppose so, I said. Came Robert's smiling reply: "The girl was eating a hot dog and the man pushed her, and she fell over on her head and now she's dead."
Not the emotional response I was hoping for, but it's early.