It caught me by surprise. There I was, at an all-day seminar in Boardman, Ohio…barely holding back tears. It’s a good thing Michael isn’t here, (I thought). He doesn’t get the crying.

Perhaps, it comes with age. We reach a point, somewhere in our lives when triggers change and inhibitions evaporate.

Growing up I’d see my Dad cry, but only on Fridays. It’d be Shabbos dinner at Grandma’s and I’d watch his eyes well as he said Kiddush in his father’s stead. No one talked about it; it just was. Other than that, though, he never cried—not even when “Maverick” was cancelled.

The first time I remember crying myself—I mean really crying— was watching ‘The Babe Ruth Story”. William Bendix died at the end of the film, and watching it from my Bayard bedroom, a river flowed.

That, of course, was the extent of my human experience. Two major sensors existed: my father (and what prompted his emotion), and baseball. Not once was I, for example, moved by either my mother (who cried on demand), or by watching “Knute Rockne-All American”. (Pat O’Brien died too).

Our Dad taught us, (long before Tom Hanks said it), that ‘There’s no crying in baseball.” I remember the upset at Nigrelli as Jon Scott’s father blew the call behind the home plate. Assuaging and neutering moods, our manager took a bunch of us…Fenton, Fischer, Racila…to the Victory Park carnival. Jeers were fine, but not tears.

Over time, however, my Mom’s DNA prevailed. Evidence—decades of data, confirm this:

I’ve sat alone crying at television, from Gloria Stivic’s miscarriage to the last Ted Mosby breakup. The stuff just gets me. I’ve sat in movies too, and teared with “Rocky” and “Rudy” and (frankly), every Adam Sandler movie. “Bang The Drum Slowly?” Don’t get me started!

And then there’s Hal.

My brother too, (go figure), has our mother’s genes. Together we’ve sat, conjoined and crying…to “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “The Notebook” and, of course…”Field Of Dreams”.

Don’t tell my kid, though—he’ll give me sh&# ! He’ll say I do too much theater and between guffaws, he’ll announce, for my benefit only, the date of the next scheduled TONY awards.

And laugh some more.

But there I was, as I started to say…in a seminar…misty. The topic, (did I mention?), was Child Development.

I was reading a list of benchmarks for children, 0 to 18 months…and I was thinking of Max, who would be one year old the next day:

“‘Attaches to caregiver”. CHECK
“Crawling, climbing” CHECK
“Imitates what he sees” CHECK
“Consistency in routines and caregivers” CHECK CHECK

I thought of that beautiful, happy, boy—surrounded by family—healthy!

And I struggled, unsuccessfully I might add, to hold back tears—tears of joy, tears of manifest gratitude—-and tears of love.

(But don’t tell my son!)


  1. Jackie says:

    Happy one-year birthday to Max!!!

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