The Unbearable Banishment: don't ever let 'em see you weep

Sunday, June 21, 2009

don't ever let 'em see you weep

I was reading an abridged version of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett to 7-Year Old Daughter the other night and at the end of the story I started to cry. It hit me like a freight train out of a dark night. It’s a beautiful story with a beautiful ending and for some reason the whole rejected/accepted theme got under my skin. I was embarrassed.

I wasn’t exactly blubbering, but tears were streaming down my face and I had to stop several times to compose myself before moving on to the next paragraph. 7-Year Old Daughter had never seen me cry before and I don’t think it freaked her out, but she did have an odd look on her face.

When I finished reading, I kissed her forehead and turned out her nightstand light. She wouldn’t let me put the book back on her bookshelf. She insisted on holding it. She was hugging it close to her body. Mrs. Wife kissed her good night and she still wouldn’t let go of the book.

Now that I think about it, maybe it DID freak her out a bit. From now on, I’m only going to read stories about combat and carnage. After all, I have a reputation to protect.

* * *

We had a brief repose from the unrelenting rain we’ve been getting over the past few weeks so we drove to Asbury Park to walk on the beach for a bit. I watched from a distance as 7-Year Old Daughter danced along the shoreline. She was all by herself, singing out loud and kicking the water. She such a joyful kid. Despite what I wrote above, the truth is that I’m just a cranky old fuck. I hope I don’t do anything to screw her up.


OpenID nursemyra said...

Oh I really hope she remembers your tears and you reading that book to her when she grows up

June 22, 2009 at 3:34 AM  
Blogger Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

She might not really understand now..but she will eventually. I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen my dad cry and I don't think I have. In fact, I've only seen him REALLY angry a handful of times. I don't remember him reading me bedtime stories though.

June 22, 2009 at 4:52 AM  
Blogger sid said...

Okay now I've just got to read this book.

June 22, 2009 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

I remember military commands barked at my brothers. Little show of emotion except for masculine hostility. My mom used to defend him: his dad died when he was a baby; the only father he knew was the military.

June 22, 2009 at 3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You did not screw her up it is good to see that Dad has emotions and he is just as human as the kids.
Just think how our life would have been different if we had a dad that showed emotions....any kind of emotion towards us.

June 23, 2009 at 12:40 PM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

Yeah, I think it's OK for kids to see our soft side now and again. That classic model of fatherhood - strong, domineering - isn't really the norm these days.

June 24, 2009 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger Blues said...

oh yes, I remember loving that one when I was young. It's good for her to see you cry. Not all the time, but you know.

July 7, 2009 at 3:58 PM  
OpenID tomeoftheunknownblogger said...

I don't know the book. Is the story cause for tears? Perhaps there is something underlying?

I was always one to "never let 'em see me weep". Not that it occurred that often. I think the first time my kids saw me weep openly was after my dad died.

Of course, since my first wife died I haven't really given a shit if anyone sees or not. That life event kind of changes one's perspective, I've found.

July 25, 2009 at 11:40 PM  

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