In the movie, “Parenthood,” an elderly Jason Robards asks his sensible son (Steve Martin) for advice about his gambling addicted son (Tom Hulce).
First, Robards admits that he was a lousy father and that he hated the worry and anguish that came with parenthood.
Now, Robards is engulfed in worry again – if he doesn’t pay off gamblers they might kill Hulce.
Again, Robard rails against the pain of parenthood.
“The worry, the pain. That’s not for me,” he tells Martin’s character. “And it’s not like that all ends when you’re 18 or 41 or 61 or 81. It never, ever ends.
“There is no end zone. You never cross the goal line, spike the ball and do your touchdown dance.
“I’m 64 and Larry (Hulce) is 27. He’s still my son.”
It’s a grim but touching scene, watching a man who rejected the obligations of fatherhood now admitting that he has lost the fight.
Despite his best efforts, Robards still cares for his children… and that feeling will follow him to the grave.
I’ve always enjoyed that scene and viewed it as the flip side to my experience as a father.
Robards is right… parenting never ends. But that’s good news.
I’m 67 and my son is 25. And there’s still nobody (other than my wife Dana) that I would rather spend time with.
Jack lives in town and I see him regularly. We play golf together once a week, he visits for a meal or two on the weekends when we play guitar together, and we speak on the phone a few times a week.
Robards is right. Parenthood doesn’t end – and I’m grateful for that.
Do I still worry about Jack, and fret about his future? Sure. That comes with the territory.
But my touchdown dance is spending time with him. Thankfully, parenting is an adventure that fuels me every day… even at my age.