My 7-year-old son is crying. It’s actually ironic, but he’s crying because another kid at the park called my kid a cry baby. “I…am…not…a crybaby,” he says through snot tears while wiping them on my sleeve. I wait until he calms down before saying, “Being a cry baby is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact you should be proud, especially because you’re a boy.”
It’s not the usual advice a mom would give her kid. I’m essentially telling my son to cry and be proud. Meanwhile, the world tells little boys to buck up and teaches them that crying is bad. “Be a big boy,” someone might say to a crying boy. Or worse yet, “You’re crying like a little girl.”
But a boy who cries is totally normal and a grown man who’s comfortable enough with his emotions that he’s willing to cry is fabulous. I should know. I’m married to a self-proclaimed cry baby and it’s one of my husband’s best qualities.
While so many of my friends have to chip away at their husband’s emotions and basically teach them how to access their feelings, I don’t. I know exactly how my husband feels by the tears of joy or sadness he so readily displays.
Being married to a crier means I’m married to a man who’s not only confident enough to be vulnerable, but he’s in touch with his emotions and can access them easily. My cry baby husband weeps at the same spot in Good Will Hunting, despite having seen it over a dozen times. He can sometimes be caught tearing up while looking at pictures on his computer of the kids.
It’s not so much his crying that I like. It’s that he’s connected to his emotions, which means he’s connected to mine. I don’t have to be embarrassed to be emotional nor do I have to pretend like I’m not. But more importantly, my weepy husband is showing our son that boys of any age can be strong, powerful, assertive, confident and yes, emotional.
So the next time someone calls my son a cry baby I hope he thanks them. I’m fairly certain his future wife will.