For the past week, one word has been creeping around in my head, popping up over and over and over. That word is TENDERNESS.
Maybe it’s because my mom went away for a little while and I’ve had some time with my dad that I might not have taken otherwise.
I know tenderness may not be one of those words you usually associate with two grown men bonding. It’s not typically part of the Y Chromosome Playbook they give you as a boy to commit to memory and take to heart, yet I think it might just be one of the most crucial reasons why my friends are my friends (female and male) and why my family and I are so incredibly close.
Not only do each of those very special people in my life have a capacity for tenderness, they have a propensity for sharing it (with others and with me).
As a young boy, I suppose I looked up to my dad first and foremost as this great athlete, as this man’s man to use an old-school phrase, for being strong and brave and able to do just about anything. Today, I still appreciate all that, but the thing that strikes me most profoundly is my dad’s ability to be that guy and to still share moments of tenderness.
And, in looking back, I think what truly connected us even when I was a boy, regardless of how many sports I played and how many other things we had in common, was that part of my dad’s personality, that part of his soul, which he revealed in those moments.