Andrew McCarthy has little recollection of his life before becoming a parent.
He has no idea what he used to do all day before he had kids, the actor joked on the phone. He honestly can’t remember what he used to do to pass the time.
Obviously, there are a slew of Generation Xers who would gladly remind him that at least some of those days were spent working on legendary ’80s films like “Pretty in Pink” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.” Movies that would immortalize McCarthy as a heartthrob while also granting him lifelong membership in the infamous “Brat Pack.”
McCarthy published a book on the incident called “Brat: An ’80s Story” in 2021. In it, he describes being “tumbled and tossed in the backwash” of early success, as well as a 500-mile trek across Spain in the 1990s to find himself in the aftermath.
The five-week walk down the Camino de Santiago changed McCarthy’s life so much that he decided to undertake it again 25 years later, this time with his 19-year-old son Sam. McCarthy recalls the event in his new biography, “Walking with Sam.”
What he wished to do was try to develop an adult-to-adult relationship with his son, as he didn’t have one with his father, and he didn’t want that to happen with his children, McCarthy says.
McCarthy argues that in an effort to remedy the wrongs of his past, he overcompensated in parenting his son and, as a consequence, “pushed (Sam) away to a certain degree.”
The Camino de Santiago provided an opportunity for them to reconnect and renew their relationship. And, as one would imagine, there were ups and downs along the way.
There were times when they did not see eye to eye, and he would just let (their relationship) fall apart, likely for the first time in his life, and risk saying, ‘OK, I don’t know what’s going to happen here as a result of this fight or this frustration,’ and just let him see fully who he is in that, McCarthy says.
That was something he wouldn’t necessarily do in the past, he adds, since he risked that his kids wouldn’t like him anymore. And he had an added burden since his relationship with his father ended so abruptly when he left home.
However, he claims that “letting it fall apart when it fell apart” pushed him and his kid to find out how to work through the difficult times.
One couldn’t stray too far off the tracks since they were on this kind of inevitable mission together, since they’d still meet in that town. One’ll have to deal with it at night, he says.
McCarthy claims that he and Sam are in a better position on the other side of the voyage. McCarthy has learned to let go of “the need to solve” his son’s difficulties. In exchange, he claims Sam reaches out just to speak, something McCarthy claims would not have occurred prior to their vacation to Spain.
McCarthy claims that the trip also provided him with the greatest luxury: time with his kid.
McCarthy shares Sam, now 21, with ex-wife Carol Schneider, and he and his wife Dolores Rice have two more children, Willow, 16, and Rowan, 9.
McCarthy said he is still in the “throes” of parenting and is putting what he’s learned into practice “in real time.”
A friend of McCarthy once remarked ‘Kids ruin your life in the best way.’ And that has been his experience.
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