What makes a 70-year-old man cry?

I have been very busy this last month. It is rare that my eyes water up with tears. I believe my children have only seen me cry a couple times. Each time was at the death of my parents. This is not something that I’m particularly proud of, crying so rarely. I many men of my era were taught that crying would show weakness in a man’s character. And so many of the men of my era were very careful not to cry in front of anyone else. I’m sure this is the reason that the leading cause of death in men is heart attacks. And many heart attacks are caused by stress. The stress just builds up and builds up until a man cannot handle it anymore.
Luckily, times have changed. Men, particularly war veterans, are encouraged to let their feelings out and are no longer worried about being seen crying. And so, as I have gotten older, I have been able to show my feelings which sometimes means crying. I have to admit that it is pretty rare for me to show such emotion publicly. But in the last few weeks there have been two occasions that made my eyes water and my emotions got to the surface and I cried. Both of these instances, product tears of joy. Not tears of sadness are tears of pain.
One of these instances was the birth of a grandchild. I had to travel to Houston, so I could be at the hospital when the grandchild was born. It is about a 4 ½ to 5-hour drive. I had been planning this trip for several months and so in my mind the birth was going to be on a Wednesday. I had planned to drive down to Houston to visit my family and the new grandchild and then drive home the same day. I have done this before. Usually after the birth of a child the mother and the father are besieged by well-wishers and family members. So, my first trip for the newborn child is usually a short one. It is important to me to physically see the baby in the mom and know that they are safe and healthy. And if anything should go wrong I would want to be there to help. Fortunately for me, all births have gone very well. Well, I got down to Houston on Wednesday and walked into the hospital. I went to the birthing center and asked the receptionist about which room the family was in? She was unable to find their name in the computer and so I got out my phone and called my son and asking which room he was in? He was silent for a minute and then told me that the birth wasn’t going to happen until tomorrow. I’d gone to the hospital on the wrong day. So, I stayed at my son’s house overnight. I had not taken any of my restless leg medicine with me because I thought I was to quickly turn around and go home that night. That was a mistake. I stayed awake the whole night walking and pacing in the bedroom because my legs would not quit kicking and moving. But that’s not the reason that I cried the next day. Finally, at six in the morning I went to the hospital and reported to the receptionist. I gave her my name and she said that she remembered me from yesterday. I was the guy that got there a day early. So, I spent the next five hours walking up and down the waiting area of the hospital. The receptionist was very nice to me and kept me informed on the baby’s birth. She more or less baby set at me while I walked up and down the waiting room area. There were many young couples who reported into the area with the woman ready to give birth to their child. It was a beautiful site as you can see the hope and the nervousness of the young couples as they were about to experience a new baby in her life. This is not why cried. I watched as the mother to be with lean up against the reception area wall as to give relief to her condition. The condition was that they were very ready to have the baby. Usually, next to them was the father to be carrying a number of bags full of different gear. He looked more like a pack mule than anything else. Soon after the young couple would check in and the woman would go back through two doors in the back of the room into the birthing area. A group of excited relatives and friends would show up in the waiting area in anticipation of the big event. It was nice to see people hug each other and say that they were glad to see each other. Their faces were all smiles. For most couples and relatives, the event only lasted about two hours. And then you would see a family member go back behind the doors of the birthing area and a few minutes later come out showing the pictures of the new arrival. Smiles and oohs and awes would always come from the group. Someone would tell the others that the baby has the father’s eyes or the mother smile. All positive things were happening.
Finally, it was my turn to go back behind the doors. As I was directed to a particular room and I walked down the long hallways I would pass the nurses stations. They were all busy and most of them were very kind to smile and wave as I walked by. I finally got to the room and knocked on the door and I was greeted by my son. Then he directed me back inside the room where would see his wife, the mom holding the brand-new arrival. She looked great and she was holding the new born son. All of a sudden, I was very nervous when she invited me to hold the baby. I have had many children and many grandchildren. But each time that it is the first time that I hold a newborn child I get nervous, like I’m going to fumble the football or cannot hold the child properly. But the new mom and my son were quick to encourage me to hold the child. The baby was wrapped in the baby blanket with a little knit cap on his head I looked at my new grandson. I’m sure I’ve felt the same as all new grandparents feel, proud and amazed. He of course was perfect. He opened his little eyes and looked left and right and then in my mind he smiled at me. Of course, I realize it was probably gas or something else that made his face move. That is when the feelings inside me started to build up and my eyes started to water.
This new arrival to the world will face some great times. And the feeling that just a little part of my DNA and those that lived before me will continue, in part, is in this new child. It is truly a miracle, the birth of a child. The mom looked great although you could tell that she was pretty tired. So, like the people before me I got my phone out I started taking photos. Filled with the pride of watching a newborn child smile and look at me made me tear up. I knew that I did not want to spend a lot of time in the room as a new the mom was very tired from giving birth. I told my new grandson that I love him and then I said the same to the mom and dad of this new child. I still feel a little funny about crying in front of people, so I left the room and walked down the long hallway past the nurses and the receptionist. As I passed both locations I said out loud, “do you want to know what makes a 70-year-old man cry? It is looking at his brand-new grandson”. I didn’t look at their faces as I made the statement. I kept walking quickly outside the hospital to my truck. I crawled into the truck and cried like a baby for about five minutes.
The second event that made me tear up again came when my youngest son called me after I’ve gotten home. My youngest son is a lot like me in that he doesn’t call often. I don’t think I called my mom and dad very often when they were still here. Most conversations with my youngest son are fairly short and to the point. But this call lasted a while. I was so excited to hear his voice and know that he was okay that I struggled to find things to say or ask him. I was really thrilled to hear his voice in such a positive and healthy manner. I stumbled to ask him about his children, his job and his wife. All questions that I had prepared to ask him when he would call me. But when the moment came my brain went into a scramble and I struggled to have a long conversation with my youngest son. It was crazy. I usually do not have any problem communicating. But when it comes to my youngest son I find myself sometimes lost in what to say. This conversation went on until I started tearing up really bad and found myself almost unable to speak. So, I ended the conversation by telling him I loved him and his family. I hope he did not feel that I was cutting the conversation short for any bad reason. I was just getting real emotional, so I found it hard to speak.
These are two things that made this 70 yr. old man cry. Both were positive, wonderful and a good reason to cry for joy. I hope that future generations will make the men of the species be able to share some emotions without any fear of being considered weak or mentally unstable. There have been other times in my life when I’ve showed my emotions. But I think it’s the first time I have had two of these experiences in such a short time. I’m at home now on life goes on for all. But even as I’m writing down the experiences that I had I started to tear up a little bit. I’m setting in my blog room with my three dogs and I was writing this blog and all of the sudden my eyes started filling up with water again just reliving the recent experiences.
My thoughts on this is that I am becoming more comfortable letting my eyes water up when the emotions warrant such a reaction. I hope that my sons and my grandsons will be less encumbered by such negative thoughts of a man crying. And I hope that their lives are filled with positive reasons to cry. Pops

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