Being a Dad Who Cries
There’s nothing in my eyes, those are tears
I’m a guy who cries. A lot.
I haven’t always cried a lot. there was a time when I was a teenager and maybe even in my early 20s where I’d at most have been a semi-frequent tear shedder. I did cry at movies that had particularly moving parent and child moments or when dogs lost their lives. Eight Below is still the worst movie I’ve ever seen for just that reason.
Physical pain wasn’t, and still isn’t, a big instigator of tears. I can suffer an injury or run silly distances without shedding tears. But if someone tells me the burn on my arm reminds me of their child, you’d best have a tissue ready.
At that same age I was the kind of person who thought, “I won’t be any more moved by the death of a child or a parent when I’m a parent because I’m already as sad as anyone could ever possibly be when I hear of such things.” God knows that sentiment might be true for some people but it has proved to be one of the most naive thoughts I had as a young person—a young person who also held such beliefs as “I’m a good driver,” and “nobody cares if I wear my pants around my knees, they’ll see what’s inside me and still want to hire me for their management level job right out of high school.”
My semi-frequent tear-shedder status has since changed to chronic cryer. Since having kids, I cry all the time. I cried writing my previous post for this blog because I imagined my little girl and myself on a date. I cry when I picture myself having the conversations I have with my kids with my own parents. I cry when Toothless lifts up his wing to reveal a still alive Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon. And, of course, I cry when I hear of eight-year-olds dying in Boston or when I read a letter to everyone written by a dad about his daughter who took her own life after being sexually assaulted.
We’re at a point where it makes no difference if I’m crying at home and this has helped us develop very sensitive and caring children. If my daughters see tears in my eyes they don’t shudder to think of what must have happened to make a grown man cry. Instead, they come over (well at least the three-year-old one does) and gives me a hug.
“You sad Daddy?” she asks.
“Just a little.”
“Did you see that dragon save his Viking friend? He was in a spiral dive but still took the time to tuck him under his wing. There was so much fire and there is such a natural instinct for a dragon to want to eat a human. It’s so touching.”
“That was nice Daddy.”
And it’s that my girls are so caring that I sometimes look at them and want to cry for no reason at all. It’s a mix of joy of having such wonderful children and disbelief that there’s stuff in this world that can take away anyone without notice.
I have no time to worry about whether or not it’s ok to cry. I love my kids and the things they do. Those things are also going to make me cry multiple times a year for many years and I’m a dad who’s proud to say I’ll shed them.
Mike is an Ottawa born-and-raised husband and father of two. He’s obsessed with making sure his daughters says ‘daddy and mommy’ and not ‘mommy and daddy’ and with ensuring his daughters know they’re both one-of-a-kind.