Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who Feels Like A Crying Jag?

The old man, always in a plain black or white t-shirt.

Because I was raised by Ray Daugherty, who thinks of himself as a lone, austere cowboy in our little blue-collar neighborhood in Indiana, I wasn't allowed to cry.

If something was about to go down where I might want to cry - like, ohhh the time I had to have my broken ankle reset or the time I thought my cat had been murdered - he'd say or do something to the effect of, "Don't cry now. You're tough. Nothing you can't handle." Or, if he was the one making me cry, it was more to the effective of, "NOW GOD DAMNIT, DON'T YOU CRY!"

Obviously I was raised by a very sensitive man who is super in touch with his emotions.

In three decades I've seen him shed one tear, and that was at my great uncle's funeral. It stunned me so deeply I went into complete hysterics, convinced the whole damn world was coming to an end. I think I cried for about three hours after that.

Whenever I'd get injured as a teenager and would be bleeding or whatever, he'd minimize the event by holding up my bleeding hand and saying something really sweet like, "If I hold it up to the light I can almost see where it's cut!"

Real funny. He's grouchy and stubborn and difficult, but he's also very funny, protective and sweet. Probably like all dads, I imagine.

I'm remembering all this because earlier today my mom and I were talking on the phone and she told me she'd been feeling kind of low all day, which is unusual because my mom is a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of person.

"Well mom, you know we're not allowed to cry, right?"

"Yeah right," she laughed. "Did you know your dad used to cry every night when you were going through cancer treatment. Every night, Gina. He was a mess."

Wow. Now why after seven years she'd choose to tell me this, I have no idea. But man, talk about shattering your visions of your dad. I always thought he was the rock. (Apparently we are our own rocks.)

Not to let a one-up slip past me, and for all those years of him yelling at me to toughen up, and because that's just the way I was raised, I have her put my dad on the phone so I can rub it in a little.

"Hi Pap, yeah, I'm fine. Sooo, mom just told me you used to cry like a big baby when I was sick. Ha. What's up with that, tough guy."

So he says, "She said I cried? Ha. I never cried. I knew the whole time you were gonna be ok. You're a Daugherty, right?"

Then he paused for effect and added, "Besides, I'll punch you out, little girl."

Ahh, now there's the sweet ol' dad I know and love.

I would like to point out that in spite of his best efforts, I turned out human anyway.


Anonymous said...

That's the way real men are supposed to be...And now we know which side the table flipping gene comes from.

Gina said...

Ha! It's true.