Fatherhood Has Turned Me into a Crying Sap

Last month, I hired a photographer to take family photos. My wife and I have an 8-month old daughter and very few pictures on the wall to show for it. The photog, David Calvert, is a buddy who also shot our wedding. David sent me a text to let me know that the photos would be done soon. In that text thread, he added a sneak-peak of images.

After looking, I responded, “Is it weird my eyes involuntarily watered up?”

Being a dad can elicit physical and emotional responses similar to an allergy medication (drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness, irritability, loss of voice, sleeplessness, chills, headache). The most common side effect is watery eyes.

I have found that after just 8 months of fatherhood, I’m tearing up more than usual. And by “usual” (puffs out chest), that means almost never.

Now, I’m not saying that the cuteness of my daughter causes me to sob uncontrollably into my wife’s shoulder. Most of the time, my emotional moments don’t even require a tissue. It’s just sometimes when the little person that I helped create does something that makes me laugh, smile or proud, I just sometimes develop a lip quiver.

Or sometimes people cut onions at that exact moment.

Or I have a clogged tear duct.

Or I’m trying out new eye drops.

Or “Excuse me, I have something in my eye.”

Or my freakin’ allergies are flaring up. That’s northern Nevada for you, am I right?

It’s only a little embarrassing.

Here are several moments where I teared up because of my daughter:

  • When I see her after work and she smiles.
  • When I see her when she wakes up in the morning.
  • When she cries, stops and then smiles when she sees me.
  • When my wife sends me pictures while I’m at work.
  • When she smiles at me with food all over face.
  • When I sing to her while changing her diaper.
  • When my wife chases us while my daughter is on my shoulder.
  • When I write Reno Dads articles.
  • When she’s being held by a family member and puts her arms out toward me as a way of nonverbally selecting me as the lucky person who shall hold her.
The tear-ups are caused by pride, love and sometimes shock.
I’ve noticed that when we’re at the grocery store or anywhere else in public, I always offer to carry my daughter. It’s selfish. I want people to see how adorable my daughter is, then look at me and go, “Damn, man. You have an adorable daughter.” I take pride in that.
The love comes in my attitude and planning on a daily basis. When my wife was pregnant, I wasn’t the lovey-dovey, rub-her-belly-type of husband. I wanted to paint my unborn daughter’s room, put her crib together and carefully plan out how I was going to pay for the things she needed; from sippy cups to secondary education. Even now that she’s 8 months old, I’m on high alert for her safety. When she bumped her head on the kitchen tile last month, I almost lost it. I was so mad at myself and heart broken by her overwhelming sob. I felt like I had let her down.
In terms of shock, my daughter is strikingly beautiful. I’m sure all parents feel that way, but for me it’s hard to comprehend. I look at my own baby pictures and see a cute little dude. I look at her, and her blue eyes shine bright as diamonds, her symmetrical face is free of flaws and her smile just makes me step back and say “wow.”

Believe me, I know that the crying has only just begun. It is only going to get worse. First day of school, victories in sports, graduation, potential wedding, etc. Many other “firsts” are still out there waiting for me.

And she hasn’t even started talking yet.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Julie says:

    Well written! Enjoy that sweetheart!

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