Let the Tears Flow, Buddy, It's All Right

Denny Freidenrich is the major gift development officer for USC's Annenberg School for Communication. He lives in Laguna Beach

This year's summer classic, the annual baseball All-Star game, proved once and for all that grown men cry. Frankly, I had been wondering about this since I've been crying buckets lately.

Seems as though every time I watch a movie I end up blubbering. It happened again when I recently watched "Pride of the Yankees" and "A League of Their Own" on television. You might think I'm a sucker for old baseball movies, but I'm not. My wife caught me wiping away tears during "American History X" and "Saving Private Ryan."

What makes a grown man cry these days? Some of my EGAD friends (that's Elderly Guys As Dads, if you didn't know) secretly have admitted to me they've begun to weep during movies, too. For the record, none of my friends are wimps. One is a high-tech consultant, two are dentists and another is a high school principal.

At first, I thought we all were going through some sort of "manopause." Then, I realized this wasn't it at all. I now believe we're all crying because we deeply feel our mortality. At 50-plus, we know our days of limitless boundaries are gone forever: that is, eating what we want, going where we please, changing jobs whenever we feel like it, and more.

Wives and kids tend to make sober husbands and dads. I know mine have asked me to stop and soak in family moments like never before. I bet the same thing has happened to my EGAD friends.

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. Just when you think you're on top of your game, something knocks you off your feet. Longtime friends getting divorced, colleagues at work dying and kids taking drugs will do it to you every time. Thank God my family and I have been spared these tragedies; still, I know they happen every day. As my best friend of 40 years recently said to me, "It's enough to make a grown man cry."

I watch my young children play and cry all the time. My wife unloads every few weeks or so. The fact that my friends and I have begun to cry doesn't alarm me as it once did. No, I'm beginning to feel rather comfortable with it. Now, if I could only get through "Field of Dreams" without the tears. Come to think of it, let them flow. It's worth it.

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