The Tears

Pretty much every day in our house somebody ends up crying.  I suppose that shouldn't be totally unexpected when the household includes a 2-year old girl, a 6-year old boy, and a woman married to me.  However, it still amazes me how regularly tears are shed.  And as you might guess, the wailing occurs for many reasons:
  • illnesses
  • nightmares
  • the television was turned off
  • somebody is told to do his homework
  • somebody hit or pushed somebody else
  • somebody took the toy that somebody else was playing with
  • somebody is sitting on somebody else
  • somebody fell down (mainly the wife)
  • somebody doesn't want to eat the dinner provided for them
  • Michigan State football lost yet again in gut-wrenching fashion
The worst is the middle-of-the-night crying.  I'm a very light sleeper, and therefore I'm the one who hears the first whimper.  So, wonderful husband that I am, I get out of bed and stumble to the appropriate child's room to discover the reason for the wake-up call.  Sometimes the solution to the problem is to simply sit with the girl for a few minutes to calm her down until she goes back to sleep after a bad dream.  Other times I end up arriving just in time to catch projectile vomit in my hands and on my shirt (the goal here is to prevent any from getting on the bedding, which necessitates a trip downstairs for an early-morning laundry run - not fun, so I attempt to take one for the team), and I then try to get the boy or girl to the bathroom before the next round of retching.  After 6 years the boy is finally (I think) able to predict when he will throw up and can manage to get to the bathroom on his own. The girl not so much.

And admittedly I'm not exempt from the weeping either.  Most people who know me would say I'm generally pretty reserved (and maybe even cynical) and probably can't imagine me crying (unless they've watched MSU football with me).  I don't know how or when it happened (although I suspect that becoming a parent had a lot to do with it), but somewhere along the way part of me turned into a giant pile of mush.  I wasn't always like this.  MSU sports aside, before kids I hadn't done a lot of crying since my childhood days (except for the times when I sat down to take Theoretical Elasticity exams in grad school).  Now it's like I've become Bizarro Eric.  I tear up at almost anything these days - books, movies, TV news segments, chain gangs working on the side of the highway, etc.

Seriously, I've become very sensitive, particularly when it comes to the kids.  I'm already reminiscing about the days when the boy was only 5 and in preschool.  When looking at our favorite book the other day, the girl asked "Where are you, Goldbug?" instead of "Are you, Goldbug?", and I almost broke down.  I'm such a marshmallow (no comments on my appearance please).  I dropped off the boy at school a couple weeks ago, and after walking the 150 feet or so to the door, he turned around and waved goodbye to me.  Thankfully I was wearing my sunglasses.  What's happening to me?!

I guess it's not such a bad thing that I'm softening with age.  Although in a couple years I'll probably start crying during episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.  I just have to accept that a little crying (not to be confused with whining, which will be discussed in a future post) now and then is no big deal.  Preferably this crying will be more because of my sentimentality than the kids howling for the reasons I listed above.  However, even that is worth putting up with in exchange for all the other experiences that are part and parcel of raising kids.  I'm grateful that I get to be home with the boy and girl to help suffer through the tears.


Last month the 2010 World Beer Cup, the "Olympics" of beer, was held in Boulder, CO.  Now that's my kind of Olympics!  In attendance were representatives from 642 breweries in 44 countries supplying 3,330 beer entries in 90 beer style categories.  I was happy to learn that one of the local beers produced in St. Paul, Summit Extra Pale Ale, won for best Classic English-Style Pale Ale.  Check the list for some new beers to try.

Here's mud in your eye!


Ted said...

Hey, I was just Googling for "men crying" and I came across this post. Just kidding. Thanks for openng up. It's been so long since we have seen y'all. I think it might be time to bring the kids to see the nation's capital. A road trip would also give you fodder for a new post.

I hope to see y'all soon. Also, question for you? Are you going to post photos of the kids or your town, or is that too off topic for this blog?

Eric said...

Ted, I'm getting teary just knowing that you follow my blog. We'd love to visit you guys, but it doesn't look like we can swing it this year. Hopefully in 2011.

As for the question about photos, at first I thought I might post them occasionally, but I decided the blog should just be written. I throw all pics onto Facebook.

How's the Alabama shore holding up?

Que said...

That's pretty funny. I have 3 girls and a wife. So being the only male in the house I don't have the luxury of crying... ever. But I will survive.

My wife is a Michigan fan. So I'm sure there is no love lost between you two. She is also from Colorado and I'm a little upset that she never told me of the Beer Olympics. That sounds pretty sweet! I'm sure I could have plenty of fun being a judge in the competitions. 9.5 for everyone!

Jesus has two Daddies said...

I don't mind the crying, it's the screaming that gets me. Now that the weather is warmer, we have the windows open, I am afraid we are becoming "those people" down the street.

Que said...

How close are you guys to us? WE ARE "those people" down the street! Well... we are aspiring to be them one day. Right now, there is another family that has us beat. But we are 1 more FOR SALE sign in the neighborhood away from taking the spot.

Eric said...

Wow Que, you're really outnumbered. Yeah, I'm sure there's enough crying in your house without you contributing to the scene. Give your wife a "Go State!" for me.

Eric said...

Jesus, I agree the screaming and whining are way worse than the crying. And "those people" on our street are the ones with dogs barking at midnight, not kids wailing.

Que said...

@ Eric - HA! I don't even know you and you are trying to get me killed! Go State! That's rich. I will choose to NOT exercise my right free speech on this one. lol.

Steve said...

Here's something real to cry about: Duncan Keith has now surpassed you as my favorite Spartan. Yesterday he sacrificed seven of his teeth so Chief Black Hawk can add one more feather to his headdress. You're going to have a give me a kidney--or at least send C and A to Ann Arbor for college--to reclaim first place.

Eric said...

Hockey players are tough, Steve. And don't hold your breath on the kids attending UM. ;-)

Steve said...

Well . . . of course they're not going to UMinnesota!

When I was waxing poetic to the kids about Keith's dental catastrophe, little E (an inveterate Sharks' fan who claims to "hate" the 'Hawks) pointed out that the tooth rebound was not so heroic since it set up Marleau's SHG. Hmmm . . . very astute for a six-year-old.

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