Sunday, September 13, 2015

Raising Husbands Who Get It

Sometimes I think about my future daughters-in-law. True, it's early, but I already feel a responsibility toward them to raise men who will make their lives as my sons' wives happy, fun and (dare I say it) easier.

To this end, I've realized I can't always be the taskmaster. Sometimes I need to just be a woman. That is, I need to be able to read--and react--to a really good book. And I need to do it without worrying about what my sons think.

Son: "Mom? Are you OK?"

Me: *sniff* "I'm fine."

Son: "Why are you crying?"

Me: *shakes head* "I just... I just finished a book."

Son: "Um, and you don't know what to read next?"

Me: "No, the characters. She thought she could save him, but he... they..." *leaves room for more tissues*

Of course, the same goes for movies. If I'm sitting down to a non-Pixar movie and there's a love story involved, sit and watch beside me at your own risk. Soggy popcorn will likely be involved.

My mom never cried in front of us when I was growing up (though not because we didn't give her good reason). So I was well into my thirties before I would let anyone else see me cry, likely because it was just something I'd never seen done. I presume it was the same way in my husband's house when he was growing up, as he tends to roll his eyes and shake his head when I cry at books or movies. But I want the women my sons date to be comfortable getting weepy and emotional without my sons getting freaked out. Better they should learn now that this is something women just do, and that it has nothing to do with them.

They say death, sex and money are the topics that don't get explored in polite conversation. I'd go so far as to say that showing emotion also falls into that category, and I'm doing my part to change this.

To best help them understand the feeling, I have repeatedly viewed Hachi: A Dog's Tale and had them watch it with me. It's not hard. Richard Gere is very easy on the eyes. The movie is based on the true story of a college professor's bond with the abandoned dog he takes into his home. It's about love and friendship, loyalty and loss, just like any good book or movie, and it always makes the kids cry.

So to my sons' future girlfriends and wives,  know that I'm thinking of you and doing all I can on your behalf, at least as far as this is concerned.

You're welcome.


Kathleen Basi said...

You are making me smile today. My boys get weirded out when I cry telling them stories, and I still feel like I need to tamp down the reaction. But on the other hand, when I'm really upset and just letting it all out there, they're always willing to come over and love on me.

D.L. Diener said...

I hope he doesn't feel *outed* by this, but I realized I'd found a gem of a guy when my normally non-emotional husband and I saw the movie Stepmom together. He was as much of a wreck at the end as I was. Of course, we left through the rear exit so no one (strangers) would see him, but he feels things deeply. He keeps it hidden pretty well, but I know it's there. As for our kids, we're trying to teach them all how to deal with their own emotions & how to navigate other people's. Not just for the sake of future spouses but humanity, too.