Saturday, January 31, 2009

Work-At-Home Dad: White House Style

There's an interesting article from the NYTimes titled "Michelle Obama's Balancing Act" and, while I'm thrilled that the First Lady seems to be taking a stance on matters of work/family balance, it's disheartening to see how much this is still thought to be a mom's issue and not a parental one. Also, take note of the experts that were interviewed for comment. God forbid some expert dads be included..

I'll echo one of the comments left at the bottom of the article: I wonder, what would people’s reactions be if the headline were “Barack Obama’s Balancing Act.”

Not to be too sour grapes, I'm thrilled that this sort of story is even coming up. (Can you imagine the title "Laura Bush's Balancing Act?") Also, it's great to be reading in a related article about our new President's apparent happiness over having to work 'at home.' Obviously, being the Prez is not your standard At-Home Dad model, but perhaps emphasizing this will make the concept more digestible to the masses. We'll see:)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Dad

Last week was a difficult one for my family. My dad had been complaining about a really, really bad headache that just wouldn't seem to go away. His doctor checked him out and then quickly sent him to the emergency room.

It turns out he was bleeding in his brain. Fortunately, the part of the brain it may have affected wasn't going to impair any of his functions.

Thank God.

My father called me on my cell to share what had happened. Through my life he's always been a fixture of calmness, of deliberation and fortitude; but this day his voice coming through my handset was only of humbled emotion.

"I'm so lucky, Dana. I'm so lucky. My mummy was watching over me," he practically cried, talking about his mother, my grandmother, who had died four years before I was even born. Hearing him like this, I nearly broke down myself.

The area of the blood burst was behind his right ear and, while the doctors were positive about the non-damage it had enacted thus far, they were also concerned that this was perhaps something my father had from birth or that it might be the beginning of further leakages.

When the doctors asked my parents if my father had ever had any 'head trauma' they both replied "No." But when I learned about the location, it dawned on me that it was at the bald spot behind my dad's ear that was a result of my dad being roughed up at age Fifteen. The story was that when he and a friend were walking home one night from the local Jewish Community Center, they were jumped by a gang of kids who screamed out antisemitic slurs as they beat my father to the ground.

My dad had long forgotten the incident, but thank God it left a deep impression on me, when he told me about it years ago and that I would make the connection now. Lastly, how bizarre it is that an antisemitic incident from Forty-Six years ago would now play out in this fashion.

Once it was clear that this leakage was an isolated incident due to outside forces, we were told my dad would need a 'procedure' to 'glue' the hair-like vein that was bleeding. This would entail the 'Fantastic Voyage' of a thin wire being sent through his body and all the way into his head. If it didn't work out, brain surgery was the next option - something we were praying wouldn't be necessary.

Last Friday afternoon, while the doctors sent the thin wire in, my family and I waited, holding our collective breaths.

Finally, the doctor called and the procedure had been a success. Thank God. After several days recovery in the hospital, my father is now back at home.

I am still emotionally exhausted from the ordeal. More than anything, seeing my dad go through the perils of this past week serves as a strong reminder of how fragile and fleeting life is and of the importance of family. Maybe my father is right that his 'mummy' was looking after him and I only pray that she continues to do so for a very, very long time.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You Simply Melt Right In...

My kids are pretty heavily into Schoolhouse Rock at the moment and it's great to be sharing something that I used to love watching as a kid on Saturday mornings. The music is great and more educational than a thousand Sesame Streets.

This was a special day for our nation and, as we watched President Obama be elected, I couldn't help but hear that song "Great American Melting Pot" playing again and again in my head.

"America was founded by the English,
But also by the Germans, Dutch, and French.
The principle still sticks;
Our heritage is mixed.
So any kid could be the president.

You simply melt right in,
It doesn't matter what your skin.
It doesn't matter where you're from,
Or your religion, you jump right in
To the great American melting pot..."

It's a special day when the ideals of our nation become a reality as well as a helpful reminder that in America anything can happen.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Music For The Film

Singer/songwriter Adriel Borshansky is working on a new song for inclusion in the film and I'm so excited about it that I wanted to share it in its very early form.

Here's the demo/lyrics for a taste of what's to come:

(read on as you listen to the song)

I stepped down
And let another mission consume me
I stepped down
And let the house fall

And there's nothing I can do
To write it all anew
To fill the void with roses and letters
Would make the distance all more true

Can it be saved
Can I become the man my children crave
Can I transform
And finally show that I'm above the norm

I took a step down
From my values and my reasons
From the source of all my feelings
To work

Well I'd love to say I'm sorry
I would love to make it up
But I wasn't even there
To understand the way that works

And there's nothing I can do
To write it all anew
To fill the void with roses and letters
Would make the distance all more true

Can it be saved
Can I become the man my children crave
Can I transform
And finally show that I'm above the norm

Let's rebuild our broken bridges
And come back to things that really matter
We will fall in mounds of snow together
Bound by love that's been with us forever
I can't keep on living buried
Underneath this blanket made of stubbornness
I must despair before the power
Of my deep, hidden love

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dear Do-Nothing Dad

Here's an article from (of all places!) that I think sums up a lot of my personal feelings regarding so many dads out there that make the rest of us look bad - and their dutiful, enabling wives. Special thanks to my wife for bringing this to my attention and to Graham Carr for cooking it up.

Monday, January 5, 2009

In Memoriam: Ralph Benitez

A few days ago one of the project's subjects, Ralph Benitez, passed away. Given his long battle with AIDS and his deteriorating health, his death was not a shock, but it is still so sad. Ralph exemplified all the best we hope for in a dad. His care, love, wisdom and sense of humor were apparent every moment that I was lucky enough to spend with him. When I think of it, his story will really be the heart of my film - as it should be. His passing is a reminder to me and to all who knew him how we can never take for granted the good people in this world and that one should never judge a book by its cover.

I miss you, Ralph.