September 16, 2015
I grew up in an Irish Catholic Family in the Greater Boston area. We didn’t share a lot of deep feelings and we certainly didn’t bandy about the phrase, “I love you!” My wife grew up in a “I love you!” family. When we started to go out I remember the moment I wanted to say those words to her and like any guy, I summoned up the necessary bravery with six or seven Budweisers and a few shots of Jamesons. Neither of us will forget the moment I romantically slurred those words to her in the early stages of our relationship.
(Remember, if you’re going to tell someone you love them, take five aspirin and drink lot of water immediately afterward.)
After I told her, I figured I wouldn’t have to utter this awkward phrase for a while. I was wrong. My wife was big on saying it, and informed me that it was important to say it a lot. This forced me to have to drill the phrase into my dialogue with her and create a new habit. I practiced saying it in front of the mirror. I said it to myself as I made breakfast. I repeated it over and over during commercial breaks while watching TV. I got very good at it. I never missed an opportunity to tell her “I love you” when the situation called for it. I was knocking it out of the park. The problem was I was too prepared to say it and it made its way into situations it didn’t belong. I over-corrected.
My vigilance to this phrase led to my accidentally telling the man who read the meter outside my apartment and the guy who made my coffee at Dunkin Donuts that I loved them. Of course, I liked them. They were great guys, but love was a strong word for how I felt about them.
(I made his day but I could never go back to this Dunkin’s again.)
But these events weren’t as tragic as what was about to happen next. While leaving a message for my Mother, out of pure reflex, I ended with “I love you.” The moment I hung up the phone I gasped. I knew there was going to be some fallout from this and I was right. About twenty minutes later I received a call from my sister, that began with, “Did you just tell Mom that you loved her? What the fuck is wrong with you”?
This conversation led to the implausible conversation I had with my Mother an hour later that began with my saying, “Mom, I just wanted to apologize for saying that I loved you.” It’s a weird family dynamic. Yet, one that somehow helped make me a generally pleasant person to be around. My family loves each other, we just choose to express it with a joke or thoughtful gift on birthdays or Christmas. No drama, no over sharing and no crying.
I’ve never seen my Father cry. I’ve never seen my Mother cry either, but that’s because as she’s explained when she has to cry she gets in her car and goes for a drive. It’s led to people in our town calling her the Weeping Motorist.
(Here’s an idea of what my Mom looked like during report card week)
So there you have it. The Hurley’s don’t say “I love you” and we get our crying done in a Toyota Camry. The point I’m trying to get to in a very long winded way, is that I’d like my Sons to be able to use this family skill of burying their emotions rather than becoming this new accepted version of guys who share every feeling they have and aren’t embarrassed to show it. I don’t think they need to go to the extremes my family has over the years, but I’d love to find some middle ground that doesn’t turn them into a Bachelorette Suitor.
(Chris’ reaction to being rejected on the Bachelorette this past season)
I don’t want them to be robots but we’ve all experienced someone sharing a deeply sensitive moment where they opened up to us. I think we can agree that it’s horrible. I think the best way to teach the Boys how to reach the right balance between unfeeling ass and emotional enema bag is to use the Patrick Swayze Model.
Here’s the Swayze I DON’T want them to be.
Sam in Ghost is the Bad Swayze. In the beginning of the film he’s great. He won’t tell Demi Moore he loves her. He just replies “ditto” when she tell him how she feels. Then, he gets killed and he spends the rest of the movie either crying or near tears. No one wants to hang around this weepy Swayze. He’s draining. They want to hang around this one.
I want Charles and Arthur to use Dalton from Road House as their Swayze Model. They’ll never be as cool, inwardly tortured or as deadly as Dalton, but this is what they should shoot for. If a little bit of the Ghost Swayze kicks in from time to time then I understand. They should just make sure no one sees that Swayze side of them.
I’d like my sons cry or express their feelings for the right reasons.
- They get kicked in the groin
- Their favorite team wins the Superbowl
- Their favorite team loses the Superbowl
Acceptable “I love you”
- You’ve been left no other option. (Try to have beers nearby)
I won’t be surprised if some people who read this think that I’ve got huge emotional issues that need to be dealt with using a team of psychiatrists. Whatever! If you really feel that way, I’ll just get in my car and go for a long drive.
Least Favorite Child Results
September 14 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Arthur has an ability at a very young age to fart louder than I could ever hope to. It defies logic that he his farts are so incredibly audible. When it happens at home, it’s adorable. When it happens at the Von’s Supermarket in the checkout line, like it did on this particular evening, it’s less cute. No one believed that sound came out of the baby and no one wanted to look me directly in the eye.
September 15 – Least Favorite is Arthur once again. Feeding an infant at 3:30am in a pitch black bedroom presents it’s problem. Finding the baby’s mouth to get the bottle into is the ultimate threading the needle scenario. I’m pretty sure I lost a lot of sleep this particular night trying to feed Arthur milk through his ear. It’s his fault. He’s not helping me at with his swivel head.
Total Days as Least Favorite Child
Charles – 45 Days
Arthur – 42 Days
Tied as Least Favorite – 1 Day
Days Since Neil Patrick Harris Received My Post and Hasn’t Responded – 63
Congrats to Neil on a solid ratings performance on the premiere of Best Time Ever!