Culturatti Dads Write Letters for Mother’s Day
This past Valentine’s Day, we coaxed creative dads into spilling their guts and sharing love letters to their families. The stuff we got back was heartwarming and funny and probably scored those dudes some serious brownie points.
For Mother’s Day, we figured we could get a new crop of culturatti dads to open up and pen some sweet words to the mothers in their lives. Check out who was man enough to pony up below. Bunchland: getting men to share their feelings since February 2010.
George Pettit, lead singer of Alexisonfire
Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad
Damian Abraham, lead singer of F*cked Up
Christian Jacobs, co-creator of Yo Gabba Gabba!
Andrew Pyper, author
Marc Trinidad, comedian
Eli Klein, DJ
George Pettit says:
It is no picnic being married to a traveling musician. I drink too much. I’m a slob. I leave for months on end and when I return, I have all sorts of new, disgusting habits. Yep, from my greasy unwashed hair to my unclipped toe nails, I’m not exactly a prize. So when I found a great woman, who was willing to put up with all of my short comings, I held on like grim death.
I met my wife Megan a few years after moving to Hamilton. Megan is a rare breed: a beautiful, powerful woman with big brown eyes that carry the sadness of all the world’s abandoned kittens. She has these long and exquisite legs that are forever tattooed on the inside of my eyelids. Sharp as a knife and quick to cut me down when I need it most. We have spent countless nights watching awful horror movies (some good) on our couch. She’s my best friend. Megan is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. And she doesn’t seem to mind me being around.
January of 09 we made it official and tied the knot. For our honeymoon we went to Vietnam and Cambodia for three weeks (her idea.) Shortly after we returned, we started looking for a house.
We were all packed up and ready to move into a modest little abode on Hamilton mountain when Megan sprung the news. Two lines, not one, on the pregnancy test meant that the culmination of our love was taking the form of a growing baby boy in her stomach. I think at that moment we both sized each other up and tried to imagine what we would be like as parents. It was tough to envision. We were so used to it just being the two of us. But hand in hand we plunged into the unknown world of parenthood.
On December 21st, 2009, our son Owen showed up – a week late. Just like his old man he moves at his own pace. He was 9 pounds and 14 ounces and for those of you who don’t know, that is fucking massive. With a brand-new baby in our arms, we made our our way home. It turned out that Megan was born to raise that boy. She has endless patience. She lives to see Owen smile.
One time after coming home from Owen’s first inoculation, Megan told me that she would gladly get 20 needles so that junior wouldn’t have to get one. In spite of its complete medical impracticality, I thought it was a really beautiful example of her desire to protect him from all the harmful things that life is going to throw at him. When I look at her, I know that Owen is going to be okay. She is a loving and thoughtful mother.
So on this Mother’s Day, Megan, your extremely grateful and unworthy husband would just like to say that he loves you and he will love you forever. So when the universe contracts into one, infinitely dense, quantum singularity, trillions of years from now, my love for you will spark the next big bang. You are a stone fox.
George Pettit is the lead vocalist in the Juno-nominated band Alexisonfire.
Neal Pollock says:
I’d be a little more nervous about the coming storm of Mother’s Day if I felt like your daily contributions went unnoticed. But they don’t, at least not by me. I see you constantly shifting our son’s vitamin-and-vegetable dosage to meet his incessantly changing nutritional needs. He dresses as well as a 7-year-old boy with aspirations toward urchinhood can dress, and you do it on about $100 a year. If I could pay you, I wouldn’t be able to pay you enough to put salve on minor ankle scrapes while the boy, with his low pain threshold, kicks and screams as though you were amputating without anesthesia.
But though you do a damn good job at all that stuff, so do most moms. What I appreciate about you most, as a mother, is the unique nerd twist you put on the venerated and ancient art. Any reasonably competent mother can take a child’s temperature when they’re sick, but it takes a special kind of woman to spend an hour looking with their child for pictures of Bigfoot online. Though I don’t share his, or your, belief that aliens exist, I figured that most kids believed such things until I heard our son talking to his cousins and friends about them. Most kids think the Loch Ness Monster is a myth. Not our son. He’s the Mulder to their collective Scully, and it’s all because of you. When our son says he believes in ghosts, you tell him about ghost-hunting technology. When he claims that aliens visited him in the middle of the night, you believe him. When he sees mysterious objects flying over the Hollywood Hills, so do you.
This doesn’t mean that I think you’re a “weird” mom. You still bake the cookies and prepare the snacks for the baseball team and find the anti-allergenic soap when it’s needed. What I love about you is that, while motherhood is an essential part of your identity, you don’t let it define you. After a few rocky years, you’ve integrated mom-ness into your very essence, and it’s been a privilege to watch it, and you, bloom into a full-on wacky adulthood. So this Mother’s Day, wear your goofy wide-brimmed gardening hat with pride, listen to your old David Bowie records, and watch some back episodes of Destination: Truth with your little boy. Better you than me.
Damian Abraham says:
I love you guys. I really don’t say that enough. Without your love and support I would not be here. You are the people that are keeping me relatively sane and together.
To my mom,
Did you ever see that movie Fight Club? If not, don’t bother, it isn’t really very good. In the film there is a scene where Brad Pitt’s character describes his character’s generation (and by extension mine) as a generation of men raised by women (easy to infer that he is referring to divorce and absentee fathers). The implication is that this is a negative; that we, as men, have lost out because we were taken care of by our mothers. It is so asinine. I am proud to say that I was raised by a woman and that that woman was you. You are the source of who I am today. You never let me down and always tried to make sure Tristan and I were able to have everything we needed and wanted. You protected us from the bad in this world and never let the terrible things that you had to deal with turn Tristan and I bitter. You have always allowed me to make my own way, and though I’m sure you haven’t always agreed with the choices I have made I know you will always be there to help me and support me. I thank you so much for everything.
To the mother of our child,
I can’t imagine anyone that I would rather have beside me to share the task of raising this little boy then you. You are kind and compassionate far beyond anyone else I have ever met. You are the strength of character that I don’t have, with your support I have become a better person then I was without you. You inspire me to try and make this world a better place. Together we have made a beautiful baby (more to your credit then mine). He is so lucky to have you as his mother. You have already put him before yourself in every way you can. You are my parenting hero and I am but your loyal sidekick. I am so excited about what lies ahead of us.
I love both of you so much. Happy Mother’s Day, you two.
Christian Jacobs says:
First off, to my loving mom who taught me so many important things at early stages in my life. You taught me how to read before I even started school. You had fun teaching us how to play games and be creative from as far back as I remember. And even though I resisted quite a bit, you always made sure music was a big part of our family life. You made me sing in church, you made me take piano lessons, you made me attend musical performances and watch broadway musicals on TV (all of which I pretty much hated at the time), which led me into a life of music-related interests and projects. You let me pitch to you to get better at baseball, until I cracked your shinbone on a down and inside fastball (sorry!). You let me get a skateboard and turn my back on team sports forever just because that is what I got passionate about. You always encouraged me to be creative and draw and paint. You taught me to never give up on my goals no matter how old you are (when you graduated college in your 50s!). But most important, you taught me that ultimately kindness and compassion are the most important tools to success. That being a friend to someone is more important than being their boss. Helping someone is better than getting the “sale.” I love you, Mom, and thanks for being my friend and someone I could learn from and talk to even when I was a teenage jerkface.
Now to my best friend and greatest example of living strength in my life, my wife Shanna. Even from our somewhat rocky courtship, Shanna, you have always been concerned about being a good mother. Would marrying some dude in a band with big plans (but nothing solid) to make television shows be the right guy to start a family with? Your own experiences with your family growing up has given you a laser focus on what is most important for the positive upbringing of a family, and it shows in everything you do. You have been so patient with me and through our trials, past and present. And, in the end you have always helped us make the best decisions for our children. I can’t imagine having one child but you have had four, two without the aid of painkillers or an epidural. How do you do that?! You are the true superhero in our family, the rudder behind my wacky rowing style. I can always come to you to help me make the righteous decision, and I can always count on you to do what is best for our kids. You have shown me to stand up for what we believe in, no matter what. You are true to your faith, and it helps me to stay the course in this slippery world. You are also so patient with kids and constantly concerned for their welfare. It breaks my heart to travel so much and be away from you all so often, but I know how strong and driven you are. I know that no matter what my kids are in the best hands. In the hands of a loving mother who has given up her life and interests for her children. Great children are your career, and we have great ones. You have supported me through some really lean times with a child on each arm. And even now, as I write this from some hotel in Virginia, out on the road with the show, you continue to hold down the fort with an unbroken resolve to bless our family with your love and strength.
I love you Shanna, and I pray that you will know that I honor you like it was Mother’s Day every day. My best friend.
Christian Jacobs is the co-creator of the phenomenally successful Yo Gabba Gabba! and goes by MC Bat Commander when he’s singing for The Aquabats.
Andrew Pyper says:
A few days before leaving on what was initially intended to be a solo business trip to New York, I bumped into a friend and told him how I’d asked my wife, Heidi, if she wanted to come along with the kids – a 3 year-old daughter and 3- month-old son – and to my surprise said yes.
“I’m sorry, man,” my friend said with a consoling shake of the head. “What bet did you lose?”
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Me and my young family stroller-and-Baby-Bjorning around Manhattan, taking in the sights, blowing our daughter’s mind with visits to the Museum of Natural History, Times Square, a carriage ride in Central Park. Then the reality of the thing settled in. Booking the SUV limo from LaGuardia (the only available vehicle with two safety seats) and paying the out-of-nowhere surcharge for our son at the check-in desk (where the attendants, both coming and going, were baffled to the point of suspecting a security threat by our including my wife’s surname as middle names for our children). Then the flight: three prodigious diaper changes on the plane before take-off. Not to mention that the barf bag I had to deposit these poo packs into had “Get Off the Plane While You Still Can!!” written on it in pen by a previous passenger.
It was raining when we arrived in New York. And stayed that way until the morning of our departure. In my mind, this little meteorological quirk posed logistical challenges of a kind that Napoleon’s army faced in their winter advance on Russia. For the first day, I gave myself the job of pack animal: carrying baby seat and coats around museums when their coat checks were full, scooping up my daughter when she complained of fatigue after toddling a couple blocks up Fifth Avenue, lugging whatever needed lugging.
But here’s the thing: I was having fun. We all were. In fact we visited all the places and did all the things we wanted to on the morning of our last day in the city. Because of a meeting I had to attend, I left my wife and children off in front of the Plaza after our carriage ride, wondering how they would manage, on their own, without me, their general and guide and bellhop.
“We’ll be fine,” my wife told me as I kissed her farewell on 59th Street. “I know what I’m doing, you know.”
Without me, and over the span of four hours, my wife herded our two little ones up to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, lunched in a café, bought gifts at FAO Schwartz, took a bus back to our hotel, changed them all into clean clothes, then trekked uptown at rush hour to dinner with friends. On her own. In the rain.
Let me say this: My wife is a truly amazing mother and a woman I am lucky to call my partner and lover. But she’s also strong as hell. And this Mother’s Day, I am grateful to her – and to New York – for reminding me of her strength. Because what she told me on 59th Street was true. She is fine. She does know what she’s doing (even if I don’t half the time).
Happy Mother’s Day, my love. You and the pipsqueaks can come with me on business anytime, and I don’t have to lose a bet to say so.
Andrew Pyper is an acclaimed Canadian author, and his fourth and most recent novel is The Killing Circle.
Marc Trinidad says:
“A mother is not a person to lean on but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” I can say with much certainty that this quote resembles the relationship between my mother and I. An independent individual was the goal that was to be achieved in my home. It was never stated in those words, but this quote sums it up: ‘Your actions speak so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
My mother, opinionated, tough and highly emotional, has a work ethic that will make a marine drill sergeant envious. It is these qualities that I hope to emulate. I create and conspire with my comedic endeavors knowing fully that it was her actions, her wit and ability to laugh through most situations that molded me into the man, the father and human being that I am today. I say most because I’m an ADD child. In Canada that’s Attention Deficit Disorder. In the Caribbean, that means Another Discipline Delivered. I had to hide her slippers, her pot spoons and anything else not bolted down. Including my siblings.
Yes, the beatings helped mold my back into the concave you see today. I won’t change anything though. Maybe one day I can be half the man my mother is. And hopefully, one day that legacy can be passed on to my children. Sans the beatings of course.
Marc Trinidad is a Carribean-borned comedian who currently resides in Toronto and has opened for Dave Chappelle and other big names.
Eli Klein says:
On Mothers’ Day 2010, you will be 11 months and three days old. You’re able to walk, babble, splash water in the bath, throw things, dance to music and harass the cat. My next mission is to teach you about some of the most important people in your life: the moms. Plural.
There’s Bobi Hope, your mom’s stepmom. She lives in Calgary and showers you with gifts when you visit. You spat up on her many times over the holidays, but she didn’t mind a bit. She’s one of those professional moms who’s got children and grandchildren a’plenty, and thinks that even your puke is cute. She’ll teach you to be a good listener, how to pose for Sears portraits and how to play Hanukkah games.
Your Granny Heather is my stepmom. She lives in Vancouver with her beagle, Katie, and very serendipitously was in Toronto the day you were born, and was among the first of our very large family to hold you. She’s an artist by training, a theatre maven by profession – the arts are in your family’s blood, and I see it in the way that you bounce to the reggae records we play on Saturday mornings, in the fingerpaintings you bring home from daycare and in the dramatic flair with which you throw yourself to the floor when you realize you’re out of Cheerios.
Your Nanna Karen is my mom. You went to visit her and your Grampa Dean in Whitehorse last year, where you made friends with Molly and Gus, their golden retrievers. She helped you learn to crawl, just like she did for me 29 years ago! She also taught you that a wooden spoon makes a great teething toy and taught me from day one that being a good dad is all about showing love. She’s showed me lots of love over the years, something I hope to teach you by example, a lesson you’ll pass on to your kids someday. She’s taught me so much about what it means to be a good person, to be creative, to be confident in my intelligence and in my decisions and to share what I love with the world. I learned from her about being a self-starter, about being independent, but never afraid to lean on others, to be emotional and sensitive and to walk through the world with an eye on social justice and peace. These are things (among many others) that I want you to know, through me and through her. As soon as you can, thank her for that. These are lessons that will last you for the rest of your life.
The mom you’ll know best is your own mama, Leah. She is so special to me, and I can’t wait for you to get to know her better. You already know that she loves to see you smile in the morning and that she’ll always say “Where’s Kieran?” when you put a toy over your face. She’s going to teach you about being gentle, about being good to your friends (because they will be good back to you), and if you choose to have kids of your own, she’ll teach you everything there is to know about babies; she’s an expert, you know. Midwives make excellent moms.
You’ll learn that your mom loves to dance; she and I have done plenty of that over the years together, and now that you can stand on your own two feet, we’re overjoyed to have you join our boogie crew. She’s also a fantastic cook; I hope she’ll teach you her banana waffle recipe, so you can let me in on her secret. Be sure to ask for her famous coq au vin, when you’re old enough to pronounce it, and have enough teeth to eat it.
It was a year ago this week that you were squirming and kicking and making us both very aware of the feisty, funny and fabulous child that lay within your mom’s belly. During this last year you’ve turned my wife into an amazing mother, and I can’t wait for you to blurt out for the first time, “I wuv you, Mama.”
Because I sure wuv her too.
Love, your dad
Eli Klein is a music industry type, DJ, food nerd and incredibly proud dad and husband. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo of George Pettit by Natalia Balcerska Photography via Flickr.
Photo of Damian Abraham by Jess Baumung.