Enough to Make and Grown Man Cry

Originally published Feb. 20, 2015

2014 was the year that I cried in my car. Well, to be honest, I didn’t really full-on sob. I mean, it wasn’t like tears were running down my cheeks or anything. Okay, I almost cried… I kinda cried. Let’s just say I made some funny faces and a tiny amount of liquid squirted from my eyes. But that, in itself, is noteworthy.

Because I don’t cry. It’s not because I’m tough or macho or anything. Trust me, I’m not macho — I’ve spent way too much time ranking Rory Gilmore’s boyfriends to be considered macho.

I’m just — as a kindly therapist would say — “emotionally distant.”

Want proof? Here’s a picture of me on my wedding day as my beautiful bride — THE LOVE OF MY LIFE — is walking down the isle.


Okay, back to the point. Here I am, pretty much kinda sorta most definitely crying in my car. Don’t worry, these are tears of joy. In fact, these tears — as few as they may be — represent one of the happiest moments in my life.

These tears were a direct result of finding out that I was going to have a daughter.

August 29th: The day that our 3rd child became our 1st daughter.

Let me backtrack for those that don’t know every intimate detail of my life (shame on you). That Paul, the one crying (kinda crying) in his car? He had two boys at home. Two strapping, beautiful, intelligent boys that filled him with a pride that only a father can feel towards his sons.

That guy and his wife (you know, the woman that walked down the aisle and saw him make that face and STILL married him) were planning on stopping at three children. Two is a handful. Three is a family. Four is on the road to Duggar-ville.

The stakes were high when we walked into our ultrasound on August 29th of last year.

To be clear: Of course we would have loved to have a third son. Every parent says, “We just want our baby to be happy and healthy.” That is absolutely true. And that is what my wife and I were thinking walking into the sonogram… with the caveat “and maybe no penis this time.”

It should also be noted that we were walking into the appointment with a plan. I would find out the sex. My wife would not. Cruel? Maybe. Ingenious? YES! Here’s the details:

  1. We’d have the sonogram.
  2. The technician would write down the sex on a post-it note and hand it to me.
  3. Following the appointment, my wife and I would go our separate ways.
  4. By myself, I would look at the post-it note and discover the sex of our child.
  5. I would plan the MOTHER OF ALL GENDER REVEAL PARTIES for my wife and family.

This all happened exactly as planned. It was #4 that had me crying like a baby (sort of) in my car.

The note.

Why did I react this way? What makes a daughter so special to a father?

I’ve actually given this a lot of thought in the last 6 months, especially in the last month since she was born (happy, healthy, sans penis). The go-to answer is that a baby girl is more delicate than a baby boy so the father feels a stronger urge to protect the baby girl thus forming a deep bond.

Warning: I’m about to say a naughty word… That’s bulls**t.

For context, here is what I tweeted following the birth of my daughter.

This is 100% true.

Women are weaker than men? Bullsh**t.

My wife is stronger than me. My mother is stronger than me. My two sisters are stronger than 99.9% of the population. My maternal grandmother was the toughest woman I know. My paternal grandmother should be running this country. My sister-in-law should be RULING this country. I’m up to my ears in strong female role models. I’m under no illusions that my daughter is of the weaker sex.

My daughter can kick your a$$.

So what was happening in my car on the afternoon of August 29th? Why was I experiencing a joy that — honestly — wasn’t present the first two times around?

I was imagining the woman that was growing in my wife’s belly. The strength and intelligence of my grandmothers. The power of my mother. The mental resolve of my mother-in-law. The resilience of my older sister. The authority of my younger sister. The magnetic personality of my sister-in-law. The sheer majesty of my wife.

I was imagining all those attributes combined into one tiny human. One beautiful, perfect, wonderful baby girl.

I’ll tell you, it’s enough to make a grown man cry.

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