Hard Knock Life

So I walked into the holiday trailer in Montana one summer where Erin and the girls were watching the newer Annie. I’d been wandering around the campsite doing something useful (I’m sure) only to enter the trailer and see my wife with tears running down her face. 
There should be an app for that. 
WARNING. STAY AWAY OR YOU’LL GET BLAMED FOR WHATEVER IS MAKING HER CRY! 
I don’t do well with crying. I just want it to stop. 
“You horrible man! You don’t know what it’s like to HURT! I want to hurt you so you cry!” you might say… 
Actually I’ve had extended seasons of shocking pain in life, but I still don’t know what to do with crying people. 
Recently I walked into church and one of the ladies was crying while a friend was hugging her. I assessed the situation, realized it was being handled and slowly moved towards the exit. All I seem to do when someone is crying is something inappropriate like cracking a joke just to make it stop. 
“Erin, is everything ok???”
“Yes. I’m happy crying.”
Ladies and gentlemen, how would I know that’s a thing? I used to cry when I was little and crashed my bike. I laugh when I’m happy and cry when I’m NOT happy. It seems simple enough. 
Before our first daughter Arwen was born, I walked into the living room in the middle of a project (I’m always in the middle of a project) to Erin watching an actually baby being born on TV and weeping. 
WARNING
One time in another project I made the mistake of walking through the room where Erin was watching a movie at the wake of someone who’d died. She begged me to sit with her and watch, so I sighed and composed myself to act like I was paying attention and not thinking about finishing my project. Five minutes later no one on screen had spoken because the camera spent the entire time slow-panning across every single actor crying. 
Not knowing how long this was going to go on for, I decided to risk a getaway with something like “You know this is a movie and not really happening right?”. 
I apparently have a knack for not earning husband points at all the opportune moments because I’m too busy working at things I can actually win. 
Erin is soft and lovely and cried during a cartoon commercial one time. God blessed me with four daughters to teach me a lesson I’m sure, but in my defence I’m the one who has the hard conversations with them for the most part. 
Mostly because I want the crying to stop. My daughters just want dad to fix things, until they get married and want their husbands to listen and NOT fix things which is what I found confusing at first. 
Erin would bring up a problem, I would present three possible solutions, she would be upset because I tried to help, I would say something mystified like “But why did you tell me?”, she would say “I just wanted you to LISTEN”, I would think “Would she mind if I looked like I was listening while watching TV?” but never had the death-wish to say it. 
Erin is good for me in that she’s ok with the world as it is, with me as I am, with the kitchen as it is, with her car as it is. 
I’m never ok with anything and am always tweaking in my mental lab. I feel like it’s a good thing, but I rarely have down time moments where I’m not making decisions. Decisions don’t make themselves ya’ll. People like me make ’em because we’re bored and you took too long. 
When I tell a story I start at the center and work my way out. When I ask a question I start in the center and will ask more questions until it starts taking too long, then I’ll make a decision and get moving. If it’s not working out I’ll make another decision and move in that direction. 
When I ask Erin a question I think her process is something like this: 
“Ok, he’s asking about ____, I wonder why? I wonder what he’s feeling? I wonder what he already knows about ____? I wonder if our argument last week has something to do with it?  I’ll bet I can guess where he’s going? He’s probably REALLY wanting to know about ____ instead of ___ but lacks the intelligence to ask about it. I’ll answer the second part, but work my way into it with forty seven questions of my own just so I have a good grasp of everything and he doesn’t make a mistake and embarrass me.”
Sixty seconds into her three second time slot response I start looking around (I’ve literally done it dozens of times) to find the candid cameras recording my bewilderment at her repeated random words and phrases someone MUST be whispering in her earpiece that has nothing to do with the only thing I asked. 
I’m not complicated. I never want to talk about the next thing until the last thing is done. I’m not sure my brain even can. 
Also guessing what I’m thinking is not a high percentage sort of thing. Stuff in my head gets juggled from dwarves to clowns to firemen, so keeping up in that would be supernatural or mentally damaging or both. 
“Who are you talking to???” I’ve said so many times. 
“Oh, I just thought you wanted to know about ____?”
“If I’d wanted to know about ____ don’t you think I’d have asked about ____?” 
One day she’ll present me with the video of these moments I know she recorded and we’ll all have a good laugh. 
Until then, I’ll figure out a way to live with crying and random answers to questions I’m not asking. Someday I’ll have four of my daughter’s husbands in my basement saying to each other “Does your wife ever ____?” with mystified looks on their faces. 

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