Monday, August 07, 2006

peein like a boy

hey everyone -- sorry i've been a bit silent -- summer is always more hectic then i plan for...but it's been one that i learned an incredible amount of humility, patience, and the utmost respect for friendship in difficult times; i've dealt with my son's arrest, my daughter's desire for a bra-lette, my youngest daughter’s on going attempts to pee like a boy...

but i did manage to get rad dad 4 out and boxcutter 13 so read'um and weep

i also want to add that i will be at the sf zine fest aug 9 and 10th and would love to meet and talk with others out there in the real world

until then write something for rad dad 5 – i dare you and i’m, off to the jungles of chiapas for two weeks with my son – wish me luck

tomas moniz

here’s the intro to rad dad 4:

a just gettin by dad

One thing I do not enjoy is the limelight. I hate when someone I know introduces me and says, he’s the guy that does rad dad; you two need to talk and then walks away. I feel like I need to be The Rad Dad, have some eloquent spiel prepared about perfect parenting and how few mistakes I’ve made. And we ALL know that shit ain’t true. What I really feel like is a phony, especially when I’m introduced to someone while I have a beer in one hand, or it’s 1:30 in the morning at a bar, or my kids are off somewhere in the world while the person I’m introduced to has a six month old in his hands. I smile.

And talk about mistakes. Yes, my son still smokes pot and I am aware of it, but really what can I do? Yes, I believe my boy is amazing and I am so proud of him and encourage him to keep on skating and doing graffiti. And then he gets arrested for it. What do I say now? I told you so, just don’t cut it. The other day my partner confided in me that a close friend of hers was giving her hell about us not doing more with our son. Or to him. Or for him. Are we not? What can we do, I wondered: send him away, or let him continue unchecked, unabated. Balance. There needs to be balance. We can be honest with him about our fear, our displeasure, and we can trust him to deal with the consequences. He said he is willing to face them, but when those consequences include juvenal hall? Balance...

I often repeat a phrase that China Doll shares in her zine The Future Generation (one of the only other parenting zines I’ve come across that deals with parenting a teen) get tough skin, keep asking them to do things, and then trust. That’s balance. But it is hard to share that with people who think I am making a mistake though.

My middle daughter is reading a book about the coming of age story of a queer woman of color. She asks me sitting at the gelato store within earshot of countless others what queer means and what a strap-on is. At that moment the whole place seems to fall silent. I don’t feel like a rad dad then. Well..., I start off hoping I am doing more good than bad.

So let’s say instead of a rad dad, I am a making-do dad, a just getting by dad, a motherfucking grumpy dad. But I also know that I am a dad with friends, I am a dad with adults who trust me, believe in me, who got my back. I am ultimately a dad like so many others out there who believe in my kids, believe in all kids, believe that there is a better world possible and it can start now: during the car rides I share to the beach, on the living room floor making puzzles with my love\r and her kids, on bike rides down the coast of Oregon with my babies’ mama even though there are no kids around, as we look out and say our kids would love this and we plan for the future.

The time is now; let me know you are out there and that you give a damn. Welcome to rad dad #4


Atena said...

Ahhh... (breath of relief)!

Okay - reading that just really gave me the boost I needed to get up and make breakfast for this demanding little teether.

Your words are inspiring, well stated, and important. Thanks for putting them out there.


Chip said...

great piece, thanks Tom!