We sent the boys to put on their pjs as my husband and I lingered at the dinner table. Somehow we got onto the topic of what qualifies as a major life event. I cited the kids and Belac's challenges as being real events and challenges, but put a surgery I had 3 years ago in a separate, not life-altering category. He looked at me in a sort of disbelief. "Gimky. That was life-altering for me, and I can tell you that it was for your father, too."
"I know," I told him. "I remember when you all suddenly appeared in the middle of the night and I heard my dad in the hallway, shouting on the phone. I worried I was dying and told my sister not to leave me."
"Gimky, it was a big deal even before that. Your father was very emotional during your surgery."
"What do you mean?" I asked. By then the news was good and they were almost certain it wasn't cancer.
"Gimky," he explained, " he held it together when the surgeon came but lost it afterward."
"My father was... crying? Are you sure...? Where was my mother?"
"Your mom was with the kids. Your father was crying," and with a little laugh, "in a way that a man cries when he's in the company of another man, silently and with restraint. Your surgery was major."
My husband. He had to take a seat in the middle of our wedding. Someone ran to fetch him juice and a friend found him a hard candy from the depths of her purse. We all chuckled with laughter, he most of all. My husband is not afraid to be himself. He says what's on his mind, he laughs at himself, he shows his emotions. What you see is what you get. But my FATHER. He's a pathologist, used to seeing all sorts of medical conditions. He's an immigrant from another world, strong and disciplined, creative and thoughtful in his own quiet way. He's a still-waters-run-deep type, certainly not a mush ball in the all-American sense. To hear that he cried over me... I don't know, my eyes got moist thinking about it. I know what it's like to cry over a child and I'm sorry that I made him cry.