A North Carolina dad has won scores of fans on social media after his mother captured him breaking down in tears during a late night lullaby to his son, who is hearing-impaired.
The dimly lit video, posted Feb. 12, shows Zach Oxendine of Lumberton singing a country song as he sways 2-year-old son Judah back and forth in his arms.
Oxendine, 25, begins to cry when Judah looks up at him with a wide, dimpled grin. He is seen wiping away tears at one point, and covers his face with a pillow while the boy sits in his lap.
The three-minute video has been viewed 18,000 times, and was called “heartbreaking” by London’s Daily Mail. At points in the video, Oxendine tells his mother, Linda, he’s “about to cry” and asks her to stop filming. She encourages him to keep going and Oxendine eventually finishes.
The song is country singer Lee Brice’s 2017 hit “The Boy,” in which a father laments his son is growing up too soon.
Viewers on YouTube are calling Oxendine’s unguarded emotion “tear-jerking” and “beautiful.”
“In love with how he loves his son and how his son knows and responds with a glowing smile,” posted Christine Martinez on YouTube.
“Beautiful moment between a father and son!” responded Lauren Christopher on YouTube. “So nice to see the dad's emotion and love for his son.”
Judah was born prematurely at 23 weeks, weighing just under 2 pounds, and endured “scores of operations” in his the first six months, reports StoryTrender.
“Every time I watch the video back and see his smile, I tear up,” Oxendine told StoryTrender. “Since he was born and aware he was in the world, he’s never stopped smiling.”