I'm not a crier. Never have been. Probably never will be. It's just not in my nature. Sure, I tear up little at the end of Rocky II but that's about as far as it goes. What can I say, I was raised in a household of boys? The youngest, I was shown at an early age that any emotional vulnerability on my part would be exploited relentlessly and used against me repeatedly at a later date. So it's just not something I do; not because I think men shouldn't cry- all the power to those who can- but it's just not in my repertoire of emotions. So you can probably understand the flack I get every time my wife goes through piles of old baby clothes and I don't join her in some nostalgic waterworks. It's just not in me. She folds some stained bibs and the tears start to flow. I fold an old ripped onsie and I wonder why the hell we're not throwing it out?
Don't get me wrong, I can be nostalgic, but I'm just not going to shed a tear over some clothing my daughter has outgrown. I didn't cry at the birth of my daughter. I didn't cry at her first birthday. I didn't even cry when I got the bill for her first month of daycare (but I wanted to). So there is no way you'll ever see me crying over a pile of clothing my daughter has outgrown. But I do love my little girl, and even though I'm a heartless bastard with a clogged tear ducts, there are times in her life that I wanted to cry. So I've come up with a compromise...
No, I'm not going to start my own baby journal, but I am going to recount the emotional moments I have encountered as a new dad; whether they made me cry or not. And I'm going to do it in song.
Here we go. This is The Sound Track of First-time Fatherhood: Side One- Conception to Birth- all those moments where I should have cried, but just couldn't being myself to do so.
Let's Get It On (Marvin Gaye, 1973)
You want to talk pressure, the kind that would bring any man to tears? Let's talk about the pressure to perform once you've decided that it's time to have a baby. You're standing there all naked and vulnerable watching your wife take her basal temperature with her legs in the air like a Thanksgiving Turkey screaming at you to "DO IT! DO IT NOW!" And you can't help but break down screaming "I'M NOT A MACHINE! I'M A MAN!" And she yells at you until the only thing that gets up is your self-esteem as it walks out the door. That would make most men cry. (Not I. I do as I'm told).
2. Early Pregnancy-
Let It Grow (Eric Clapton, 1974)
You want to cry? How about coming home from a long day of work to a woman who has been doing nothing but puking for the last hour, who can't stand the sight of you, going "YOU! YOU DID THIS TO ME! I HATE YOU," before slamming the door in your face, only to open it again to hand you the list of all the things she wants you to get her from the store, screaming: "AND DON'T COME BACK UNLESS YOU GET IT ALL! " Scary... but not enough to make me cry.
3. The Sonogram-
You Can't Always Get What You Want (The Rolling Stones, 1968)
This one almost brought me to tears, but I wasn't alone. It appears the only one more distraught over the fact that we weren't going to be having a son on our first go around than me... was my wife. "Check it again," she growled as she took the technicians hand and ran it across her belly. "I can't have a girl. Girls hate their mothers!!!!" In hindsight, I wouldn't have it any other way. But all new dads mistakenly want sons; going as far as paying for the 3D sonogram to be 100% sure before they go in to a deep depression... until they hold that little girl for the first time that is.
3. Later Pregnancy-
The Bitch is Back (Elton John, 1974)
Thankfully, at this point, all of the morning sickness is gone but your wife's hatred for you, the one who planted the demon seed inside of her- the one that won't let her sleep comfortably- is only growing stronger. During this period you'll be kissing a lot of ass, rubbing a lot of feet and stroking a lot of ego ("No honey, you still fit in to that dress...kinda"). But it won't work. She's on to you, and she's going make you feel her pain, even if she has to kick you every time the baby kicks her in her sleep. My advice: sob silently to yourself my friend, unless you want to fuel her fire.
The Waiting (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1981)
What's worse than an angry pregnant woman? Answer: An angry pregnant woman whose due date has been pushed back a few weeks. Or, in my case, an angry pregnant woman who made herself an appointment for an epidural, who was then given the run around because the hospital had no available beds, causing her to go in to actual labor, only to still be put off for 8 hours because the hospital had no available beds. Guess who got to sit next to her the whole time?
Everything is Coming Our Way (Santana, 1971)
All right. For most, this one is a no-brainer. Hearing my little girl cry for the first time certainly was, and is a highlight in my life, but I still couldn't do it. No tears... except for the two minutes where my wife was crushing my hand during the delivery. I told her they were for the baby, of course.
6. Holding My Daughter- First time-
In My Life (The Beatles, 1965)
If there was ever a moment where I REALLY should have cried, may be THIS was it? Holding your child in your arms for the first time is a momentous occasion, and a healthy child should not be taken for granted. But who can cry when you're having too much fun trying to figure out who the hell the kid looks like. "Gollum? No. Wait. Your Aunt Enid- the one with more hair on her face than her head."
I know I SHOULD have cried here. I mean, after all, how many times do you fall in love with someone at first glance (especially a girl with a pointy-head, bluish skin, and covered in goo)? But I was too busy trying to be her protector to cry... Just ask the woman who asked if it would be okay to introduce our two newborns in the hallway:
"Look, Lady, I know he's only ten minutes old, but I don't appreciate your son ogling my daughter like that. You really should teach him that it's polite to look in a girl's eyes. And, no, the fact that he can't focus is NOT an excuse."
I told her. But, sadly, I never cried.
END SIDE ONE
Stay tuned until tomorrow when we explore the other emotional side of first-time fatherhood in song (SIDE 2: Birth to 2 Years) . You'll laugh. You'll cry. It will become a part of you... unless you're a heartless bastard like me.