I remember when I wasn't a father. I was footloose and fancy free, never thinking twice about kids, or much else that might require my attention some day. I lived in the moment. If I wanted to go fishing, I went fishing. If I wanted to play golf, I set up a tee time. If Connie wanted me to do something else, I canceled my tee time and did what she wanted. Life was simple. I hardly paid any attention to kids, either in real life or on TV. News stories about sick or injured kids were just that - stories. They didn't affect me, so I paid them no heed. I was a rock, with no emotion coursing through my veins.
It would be a massive understatement to say that having kids has changed my perspective somewhat. What would be more accurate would be to say that having kids has turned this steely-eyed rock of a man into a quivering jellyfish who is liable to shed tears while watching a news story about a child who got a sliver stuck in his pinky toe. I'm not really sure what exactly happened, but I can not stand stories in which a child is injured. Oh my goodness, if a child is killed in a news story, it is almost impossible to suppress the waterworks.
The weird thing is, I even find myself getting choked up at stories that really aren't all that sad. Like this morning, I read a really upbeat feel-good story about an amusement park where all the rides are made for handicapped kids. There's a big swing for kids in wheelchairs, and a merry-go-round that's at ground level so kids can't fall off and hurt themselves. Nothing but good times were reported in this story, yet I found myself getting emotional while reading it. I'm even getting a little misty-eyed just thinking about it now. Makes me wonder if other manly men like myself are turned to jelly when they have kids. I'm going to assume so, because if not, then this blog entry never happened. Got it?