Maybe it was because when he was between 5 and 12 years old, my dad was raised by a single mom. And while she was at work, his maternal grandmother took care of him. Maybe it was because my dad married the oldest of three daughters. Or maybe it was because he had three daughters of his own. Whatever the reason, my dad has always been able to easily tap into his feminine side as shown by his shedding more than a few tears as long as I have known him.
It can start with a sad movie, hearing about someone’s struggles, cheering for a favorite cause, or even while listening to the Star Spangled Banner. Ever so subtly, my dad’s lips would start quivering and his eyes would start to water. His voice would catch and then he’d need to take a deep breath or two in order to regain his composure.
I thought all dads did that kind of thing so I was never embarrassed by his actions. Rather, I learned from my dad that it was OK, even for men, to feel deep emotions and let them show during tender moments of both joy and sorrow.
When I met my husband, we were still in high school. Sure, I thought he was cute and fun and easy to talk to. But what sealed the deal for me, was seeing my future spouse express his deepest emotions through falling tears. Because I was used to my dad responding in a similar way, I knew I had found a special man to share my life with.
My dad has also shown me his more “manly side.” From him, I learned how to devour the daily sports page, how to swoosh a basketball, how to put my college degree to work, and how to always be true to myself. But of all the things my dad means to me, the way I am most my father’s daughter, is in the way I can feel the moment and not be ashamed to cry. What a wonderful legacy: to know and experience the softer side of life. Thank you, Dad.