From Hollywood to social media, these dad moments shined.
— December 30, 2018 —
The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. But when it came to showing love for dads in 2018 the Internet mostly, as the kids say, gave me life.
Too often in popular culture fathers are depicted as either Missing in Action or bumbling blokes who can’t seem to cook, do laundry, or care for their offspring when Mom is away. But the moments below—a mix of real-life and fictional dads—reflect fatherhood at its finest, from hilarious to heartwarming.
Some of these moments were viral sensations. Others emerged from movies and TV shows or simply from my online wanderings. So without further ado, Fatherhood@Forty presents the seven Best #DadMoments of 2018.
7. “Daderina” Fights Stage Fright
Marc Daniels was dubbed by the internet as “Daderina” after he hopped on stage—with a baby in his arms—to rescue his tutu-wearing daughter, Bella, from a terrible case of stage fright. Daniels told USA Today he initially thought his little girl only needed a quick hug of reassurance, but soon realized that if he didn’t stay by her side she’d have to come off stage. He didn’t want that.
#Daderina fan @KC_Baby_Fair summed it up best: “Daddy dancing with her doesn’t make him super. Daddy knowing the choreography, executing the steps, and holding a baby makes him super!”
Credit: In Motion School of Dance via Storyful
6. T’Chaka Counsels His Son
As part of the ritual to become the Black Panther, T’Challa takes the heart-shaped herb that gives him his heroic powers and experiences a spiritual vision in which he meets his deceased father, T’Chaka. “I am not ready to be without you,” T-Challa says, to which his father replies, “A man who has not prepared his children for his own death has failed as a father. Have I ever failed you?” T’Chaka goes on to provide his son with nuggets of wisdom he will need to succeed as the new king of Wakanda.
As @kevin_oconnor16 put it on Twitter: “The first ancestral plane scene in Black Panther will always get me. Makes me want to hug my dad.” Hug it out, Kevin. Hug it out.
Credit: Marvel Studios & Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures 2018
5. Jack Pearson Uplifts Randall
I know, I know. Technically this moment is from 2016, but I only became aware of it this year thanks to a Father’s Day piece by TV Guide that celebrated the full Dadness of Jack Pearson. In this scene, Jack and his adopted son Randall go through a father-son initiation at karate practice that is full of symbolism. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows from this point on for Randall (played by my fellow Stanford alum Sterling K. Brown. I see you, #ChocolateCardinal), but that’s what makes This Is Us such a powerful, tear-jerker of a show.
Credit: NBC Universal
4. Dad “Comfort Nurses” Baby
Christopher Brown goes by “Daddy Duke” on Twitter, but his newborn daughter apparently confused him with “Mommy Duke” when, in a sleepy haze, she latched onto his nipple. 😳
He grabbed his cell phone to share the moment which was equal parts awkward, hilarious and tender.
“It was the sweetest thing,” Brown told Mother.ly via Twitter DM, after the video went viral. “I don’t want people to think I posted the video for any kind of clout, just sharing a bonding moment between my daughter and I.” #DadProps
Kids have impeccably (im)perfect timing, especially when it’s time to leave the house or when you finally sit down and get deliciously comfortable only to have to get up because they need something. 😒It’s like you’re Big Jerry from that popular Swiffer commercial who’s in desperate search of “deep couch sitting,” but can’t find any because your adorable son is the spawn of the Energizer Bunny.
That’s why I love this Instagram moment from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. As parents, we may complain but rarely regret the childhood disruptions to our daily To-Do list.
In an alternate universe, on Earth-1610 to be exact, teenager Miles Morales is Spider-Man. That’s all fine and well, but his father, Jefferson, knew him before the blow-up (as in, before he was bitten by a genetically enhanced spider). There’s an authenticity to this scene from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse that rang true for me: people who love you help you stay grounded.
If you search Facebook for the hashtag #AutismDad, a stream of posts (like the snapshot below) will appear that make visible what is often invisible: fathers of autistic children.
Since learning to accept my daughter’s autism diagnosis in 2017, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside bold and fearless Autism Moms who are advocating for greater acceptance and resources to support families raising children with special needs.
I don’t always see the dads, granddads, and other father figures, but when I do I’m heartened.
These “dadvocates,” to borrow a term from Mathew Oakes, are the ones who wear t-shirts that proclaim, “I love someone with autism,” who actively co-parent, who are defining new “normals,” who weather the good and bad days of life on the autistic seas, who channel love of family into meaningful advocacy. To these men, I say thank you for the example.
In July, I posted the photo below to Facebook with a note: “Sugar Smacks is the best bike buddy. Hittin’ the curves of the DuPage River Trail. #familyfun #daddydaughter #summer.” My aunt Linda quickly replied, “You should be voted Daddy of the Year! Love the picture!”
I’m certainly not Dad of the Year, but this pic is my personal #DadMoment of 2018. As one meme declared: “Autism Dad. Not all heroes wear capes.”
Six weeks before my 40th birthday, I became a first-time father. This life-changing moment made me think about my own dad, who became a father at 44. As my parenthood journey unfolded, I noticed that most of my friends had become parents earlier in life yet, here I was, changing diapers and battling sleep deprivation at (nearly) 40. I told my wife, “Parenting is definitely a young man’s game.” But is it really?
Where most of my friends were preparing for their children’s middle and high school graduations, I was mastering the art of the swaddle, perfecting the one-hand baby wipe, and learning to decipher my daughter’s gurgles and whimpers. It occurred to me that I had so much more to offer my daughter at the sure-footed age of 40 than I did at, say, 28, when I was still coming into my own.
In this awareness, I gained an appreciation for where I am in life and the idea for Fatherhood@Forty was born. Fatherhood@Forty is a creative outlet to blog about my experiences and inspire other (relatively) late-in-life dads. It’s been said that each child is their own assignment and I believe each parent’s journey is its own destination.
Here are a few factoids about me, Johnathon Briggs, the editor behind this blog:
I am a former journalist (Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, Chicago Tribune).
I love exploring Chicago and the Midwest with my family.
I remain on a constant quest to stay fit.
I support charities that fight HIV, uplift families affected by incarceration, and ensure African American boys graduate from college.
I enjoy reading comic books and binge-watching House of Cards.
As a reporter for daily newspapers, I had the opportunity to interview fascinating people and to test out great products and brands for my readers. I hope to do the same for you as I blog about the moments that make up this adventure called fatherhood.