Having kids sometimes means watching and re-watching the same movie over, and over again. Most recently, my kids have fallen in love with 'The Book of Life' and I've seen it about a dozen times over the last couple months. It's not a perfect movie, in fact, it's thematically criminal in handling its female lead, but I find it immensely enjoyable, even after all these viewings. I've struggled to find the impetus for such a connection and I think today's viewing cemented it for me.
In the film, Manolo Sanchez wrestles with his family's, and society's, expectations of manhood and success. Ten years ago, I would have identified with Manolo, but today I find myself more concerned with Manolo's father, Carlos, who, despite a disparity in their approach to bullfighting ethics, is a good, loving parent. What I connect to about Carlos' situation, or more accurately, what I envy about it, is that Carlos learns, with absolute certainty, that he has been wrong.
I don't believe that I'm a bad father, but statistically, I have to be doing something wrong, and an inability to recognize what that could be, is frustrating. Just once, I'd like my children to confront a giant skeletal bull, and explain to me, through a spontaneously composed acoustic guitar performance, all the things I've gotten wrong as a parent. It's a completely unreasonable request to make of the universe, but it can't hurt to ask, though I'm pretty sure I won't get the answer I'm looking for, in fact, I'm certain of it.