When I call my parents house — yes, a millennial educated in journalism, Spanish, and anthropology who does not live at home with her parents! Alert the media! It is possible! — more often than not my dad says hi, asks how work is going, and passes me straight to my mom. I always have to remind my dad that our family chats don't have to solely be around my mother, and so I force him to chat too and it all works out. But it is symptomatic of a cultural feeling about mothers and fathers.
Now we all know mothers are important (and my mom should be getting a little something special my sister and I dropped in the mail for her earlier this week soon). But Mother’s Day, a holiday started in 1908 by Anna Jarvis and made a holiday by Woodrow Wilson in 1914, is decades older than Father’s Day, which took another almost six decades after the start of Mother’s Day to become a holiday in 1972. And most people think Mother’s Day is far more important than Father’s Day even now.
Now mama, you know I love you and I wanna scream so loud for you because I’m so proud of you but here are three songs millennials might remember from their childhoods appreciating the dads while we’re all celebrating our awesome moms that we are lucky to have:
1. "Father and Daughter" - Paul Simon
An ode from a father to his daughter, this Simon song is a sonic warm fuzzy for the girls out there with special dads in their lives.
Best lyrics: “I'm gonna watch you shine, gonna watch you grow / Gonna paint a sign so you'll always know / As long as one and one is two, there could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you.”
Fun fact: Leave it to The Wild Thornberrys Movie to make kids rediscover the awesomeness of Paul Simon in a totally heartfelt and meaningful way.
2. "Dance With My Father" - Luther Vandross
A remembrance of a father no longer with us, this Vandross song reminds us to make sure we are grateful for our parents while we still have the chance, and does it in a way that only Luther’s silky voice and powerful lyrics could.
Best lyrics: “Back when I was a child before life removed all the innocence / My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then / Spin me around 'till I fell asleep / Then up the stairs he would carry me / And I knew for sure I was loved”
Fun fact: Debuting at the top of the Billboard charts, "Dance With My Father" was Luther Vandross’ only album to debut at the top spot and the album with the largest sales of his career and this — his last album before his death in 2005 — came 12 years after another classic, "Power of Love."
3. "Just the Two Of Us" - Will Smith
Remember when Will Smith used to really make records? The fourth single from the rapper-actor-superstar’s first solo album Big Willie Style, Smith professed love and imparted wisdom on his son.
Best lyrics: “As I slipped out my bed, to your crib I crept / Touched your head gently, felt my heart melt / Cause I knew I loved you more than life itself / Then to my knees, and I begged the Lord please ‘Let me be a good daddy, all he needs’ / Love, knowledge, discipline too / I pledge my life to you.”
Fun fact: An adaptation of a Grammy winning love song by Bill Withers and Grover Washington Jr., Smith adapted the song into a tune about the love of a father to his child — before it was adapted again in the same vein, but to a much more hilarious end, in the 1999 Mike Meyers’ vehicle Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me between Dr. Evil and not his “test tube baby”/love child son Scott but rather his clone Mini-Me.