It’s Just Something In My Eye

I was a pretty emotional kid. I remember being easily reduced to tears in my pre-school and kindergarten days. By an large, I was a happy child, always wanting to laugh, always had the best intentions, never a malicious thought. When things didn’t work out that way I was hurt by it.

These days, I am generally still that way. I really love being happy, and even more than being happy, I love when other people are happy and enjoying themselves. Now… I’m six feet tall, 250 lbs, and not all of it beer belly… I have a shaved head, and a full beard. I’m a wallet chain short of a hell’s angel.

I’ve had good friends tell me that they were scared shitless of me back before they knew me, and were afraid that they’d have to fight me someday (Apparently that was a common thing to worry about for the smaller kids…) So you might imagine how out of place the rest of this post should sound… I have a very girlishly difficult time not crying at totally girly times.

I can’t watch chick flicks without spending at least twenty minutes steeling myself for the sad parts. Fortunately there’s almost always plenty of time where they’re just yapping, so I take that time to strap on the mental armor.

I’ve even gone so far as setting up a fan so that it was blowing straight in my face, TWENTY MINUTES before even starting a movie, JUST IN CASE there was a sad part, I could say the fan was making my eyes run.

Why do women LIKE those movies anyway?? What the hell is wrong with you people?? “Oh, I love this movie, it’s so SAD!” …wtf?

I’ve been successful in pulling off the tough-guy act for the family so far… for the last 12 or so years, I’ve been able to look away in time, or make myself laugh before having to dig an imaginary eyelash out of my eye… I did get caught once, in Hope Floats, when the main character’s mother dies… She was a taxidermist though, and I changed the subject by saying they were going to have her stuffed and propped up in the swing on the porch. I think I was able to avoid having that hit my permanent record.

Anyway, one of the hardest “guy” (or Geek) movies to watch for me is the third Lord of the Rings movie, (Spoiler coming up, in case you haven’t seen it. …and shame on you for not!) when Frodo gets to take the ship with the Elves, and Sam, Merry and Pippin are just finding out about it… (Which, by the way, Frodo’s an ass for blindsiding them like that, he really should have given them the heads up… ). Watching the confusion on their faces give way to a stomach-knotting dread that they’ll never see their friend again… Yeah, total guy-tears. I think the worst part is, they all have these innocent child-like faces. I hate when kids are disappointed or sad… freaking kills me.

This came to mind today as I sat in my daughter’s school auditorium to see their school show. My daughter’s Kindergarten performed “High Hopes”. She was a rubber-tree plant, and she did a terrific job. For someone as full of energy and drama as my daughter to stand there, NOT move and NOT sing, showed tremendous effort.

I watched her grinning face beaming out at the audience, green construction paper hanging from her cheeks, and could see so much of myself in her. She tried desperately not to laugh when I stuck my tongue out at her. Then of course, I started thinking about how big she’s gotten and how my little girl was growing up so fast, etc… I had to start blinking fast to try to get the tears welling in my eyes to stop. Then naturally my wife looked over at me, and I made the cliche comment about the air quality being poor and my eyes burning… figured that’d cover me for the whole show.

I once told my daughter to stop growing up. She looked at me completely disappointed and said “I’m sorry daddy, I don’t know how!” She’ll be six in July, and it’s kinda freaking me out how fast they went, and knowing that it won’t be much longer before she realizes that I’m not perfect, and don’t know everything, and that she would rather spend time with someone else. God help her first boyfriend… I got a gun and a shovel, and no one will miss you, kid.

Until then though, all I can do is enjoy the things she does, even if they make me crazy. I know there are a few guys out there reading this, and you all have these same sorts of feelings whether you want to admit it or not. How do you deal with it?

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14 thoughts on “It’s Just Something In My Eye

  1. I always learned that being in touch with these feelings and being able to show you have them makes you more of a man.I’ve never cried at a movie. I’ve misted up a little though. Braveheart (back when Mel Gibson was sane, or at least just good at hiding the crazy) was always one that could get me. When they’re torturing him and in his dying moment he screams “FREEDOM” it just gets me every time. So moving.I don’t have kids but I imagine when I do, time will fly by like mad. It already seems to be going so fast, now that I’m getting older. If anyone wants to find a way to stop time, that’d be great.

  2. Okay, that’s it. Hand over your man card. LOLSeriously though, there ain’t nothin’ wrong with recognizing and feeling moments like those (except for the Frodo moment. I mean, really?). After all, despite the assertion that guys don’t have feelings and we don’t care about emotions, the truth is we all feel them to some extent. And if you feel the emotion of a given moment in a book or movie, obviously the storyteller/producer/actor did a good job. I don’t know how you’ll deal with things when your daughter is 17 though. I struggle with it all the time as I watch my 17 year old son grow every day, and I just try to ignore the fact that he will someday be walking out the door for good to go live his own life. Sorry, no advice for you. Now quit your crying! If it hurts, put dirt on it 😉

  3. This post made me tear up! But so does everything, especially–for some strange reason–when an audience applaudes at the end of any kind of performance. And, of course, anything to do with my sons and how fast they’re growing up.Thanks for sharing your softer side.

  4. Your child’s play trumps everything, Matt. Get used to it. You’ve got a lot of that to come. And GOOD for you for being a complete human being, in touch with many types of emotion.My father, a brilliant, artistic, professional man of great humor sat in the dark about 5:00 a.m. to breastfeed my crying baby. I hit the lamp to see Dad weeping over a 20 year old Little House on the Prairie rerun! I learned much about him from that.

  5. My husband tears up a bit too at movies, but tries not to let me know.That scene you wrote about in LOTR made me cry too. But the one that makes me sob is when Frodo is about to get into the boat all by himself and wishes none of these things had happened to him.

  6. Ya know Matt, I’d be a lot more worried about men, and especially fathers of daughters that aren’t able to shed a tear or two. Enjoy each and every moment, because it is very fleeting and fast. I’m sure you’ll be able to put that nice big frame of yours to good use when your daughter starts bringing over potential boyfriends for you to meet…

  7. You’re NOT alone when it comes to gettin’ misty at times, Matt. Certain movies, certain music, the national anthem… so on and so forth… always does that to me, too. I couldn’t think of what to say when I first read this yesterday and the foregoing will have to do.

  8. ABftS – Braveheart is a prime example… I also get completely amped right after he comes back into town after they kill Murron, and he comes walking in slowly… all I can think is “Uh oh… heh… hehe, yeah, now they’re in trouble…” Not quite the same, but still a very emotionally charging scene. MBJ – Awe. 🙂 (I’ll let that “old” comment slide… hehe)Eric – You want my man card, you gotta come get it. My daughter holds onto it for me. If you can get it from her, it’s all yours. While your at it, try to get my hat back for me, she loves to run off with it. 😀 Jenny – Sorry bout that! 😦 Leslie – THAT is a terrific story! I bet that would make a hell of a blog post… [nudge]Toyin o – Thanks! I do my best… If it goes the way I think it does, we’ll have to wait until my kids are in their 30s for them to weigh in on that objectively. ;)Belle – Tell him about my fan trick. Works every time. Not that I’ve done it more than twice, but you gotta admin… Genius. CramCake – Actually, I’m hoping they learn it early, and get over it fast… I’m looking forward to a time when my kids and I can be friends, but until then, that’s really not the job…Up2DaRack – Yeah, I’ve always said that I’d be that “cool dad” who handles things well, etc… My first girlfriend’s father actually polished a revolver in front of me. At the time, I knew what it was about, and was well equipped with enough logic to know that it was a scare tactic, and he’d be SCREWED if he did anything that stupid, so of COURSE it was a bluff… But I definitely empathize with him. “This thing would stop a charging rhino!” he told me in mock-friendly conversation. I ALMOST said “that’s what your daughter calls me!” but we were the only two around and I was not quite that reckless. I’ve thought about sending him a letter about it though. Buck – You hit on a big one there… Music does it to me just as easily as a movie, if not more so since the average song is only about 3 minutes… Luther Vandros (and it’s REALLY not my kind of music so it’s infrequent that I have to hear it) but “dance with my father” is a really horrible song to have to listen to, particularly because it came out at a time when my wife’s father was very sick. It came on in the car, and I thought “oh no…” then I watched it wear hear down… Not sure why I didn’t just change the station… She

  9. Thanks for your honesty and for standing up and saying, “Hey, guys aren’t rocks. They have a full range of emotions.” Of course, they do. I’m raising four sons and I see it every day. Why do guys think they aren’t supposed to show emotion and feel ashamed of tears? Showing your daughter how much you care is the best way to keep the creepy guys away from her. She’ll feel valued and beautiful just the way she is.

  10. I suppose I can only speak for myself and not for my entire gender, but I like watching movies that are sad, or that have sad scenes, because they make it okay for me to feel. And, let’s face it. Girls have a lot of feelings.But I’m one of those crazy girls that pretty much cries in EVERYTHING. You should have seen me yesterday at the end of Super 8…

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