Someone told me yesterday that I was perceived as “a man’s man,” whatever that means. I want very much to believe that it is a compliment worth holding to my heart like some soldier who bears a brilliant medal for courage under fire. After all . . . what man worth his salt would not want to be known as, well, a Man?
However, I must confess that this is a man’s man who once again cried early yesterday when I took my daughter to her first day of seventh grade. Of course no one saw it, for I am generally too manly to let anyone see such vulnerability, especially when surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of middle school kids. It would, I am sure, be a profoundly uncool thing to be seen choking up on the plaza situated in front of Cheney Middle School.
But cry I did, behind bulbous black sunglasses. And yes there was even a hint of drama, as my lovely Emily and I let go our hands, stepped apart from one another, and I gazed longingly as she turned and disappeared into the thick crowd of fellow students filing past the prinicipal’s stern figure. Suddenly in my mind she was climbing into a well-polished car, a large smile on her face, flowers in her hand, and a newly designated groom at the wheel. And then, in a flash, she was bringing an old man a blanket, draping it over my lap, and saying, “I love you Daddy . . . may I get your medicine.”
Duh! Or . . . as they say here in Fargo . . . Uffda!
So much for being a manly man. I am just thankful that I can be a tender-hearted daddy whose deep affection for his (rapidly maturing) babies knows no bounds. Besides, with every tear I shed I am reminded of the grandfatherly observation of General Norman Schwarzkopf, a model of manliness, who, responding years ago to a question by Barbara Walters about his weepy eyes when speaking of his troops, said: “I am afraid of a man who does not cry.”
Me too, Norm.