I am a crier. I do not mean that I shout, “Hear ye! Hear ye!” a lot. I mean I break down crying a lot. I have sobbed through every funeral, wedding, baptism, Christmas pageant and raffle drawing that I have ever attended. While talking about my grandfather at his funeral I couldn’t choke the words out and ended up being totally unintelligible. But I didn’t cry any less when I attended the funeral of my great uncle-in-law who I never actually met. My husband likes to joke that I should hire myself out as a professional mourner if I ever need to earn some extra cash.
I come by my tears honestly – my own mother is a crier as well. When we were teenagers my sister and I used to make fun of her, but now that I have kids of my own I may have surpassed her. Children, it turns out, make their mothers cry. In the bad times, but also in the good ones. First birthday parties, especially, seem to bring out the waterworks in every mother.
Hannah’s dressed as an angel, cue the waterworks
I think the reason that I cry over my children is the intensity of emotion that they invoke in me. Kids are just so much, all the time. So much energy, so much love, so much noise, so much protective instinct. It all builds up inside my chest until it has nowhere to go but out of my eyes. All of the feeling that is always just under the surface comes pouring out with the waterworks.
Jacob loved the pumpkin patch, and I cried
No milestone goes unnoticed around here. No first or last happens without being baptized by my tears. My children find it vaguely alarming. For the longest time Hannah didn’t understand that I could be happy and crying at the same time. She was convinced that something must be very wrong for me to be tearing up. And so I had to fight back my urge to sob, and put on a brave face. Today, though, she just rolls her eyes and says, “Mom’s crying again!”
Hannah lost a tooth. Sob!
Thankfully, my husband Jon mostly takes my crying in stride. He’s had to, really, if he wanted to remain in a relationship with me. I do try not to cry loudly or make a big production out of it, but I still tear up on a fairly regular basis. At movies. When we disagree. When we agree. When we talk about our dreams. When we fold the laundry. Any occasion can bring on the crying if the conditions are right.
I just had a baby and my eyes are totally dry
There are some situations in which you’d think I’d cry, that I don’t. For instance, although I cried a lot contemplating Hannah’s first day of kindergarten, when the big day dawned my eyes were dry. And while I cried a lot after they were born, I didn’t shed a tear either time I gave birth, although I know my husband did. Not every situation that you expect to be emotionally overwhelming actually is, as it turns out. Sometimes you’re too busy living something to stop and think about it.
I think that’s the key with crying. Crying is something that happens when you’re reflecting on a situation. Ceremonies and rituals and movies and babies blowing out their first candles leave you sitting back and watching. You can absorb the significance of what’s happening. When I watch TV shows where someone else gives birth I hear the first cry and I cry, too. But when I’ve just pushed a baby out of me, I’m not really reflecting on the experience. Reflection happens later.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just found out that there will be an Angry Birds sequel. Sniff!
Are you prone to crying? And have there been times when you did or didn’t cry, and you surprised yourself? I’d love to hear about it!
PS – I’m going to be talking all about balance at the Vancouver Attachment Parenting group tomorrow. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you! I promise I won’t cry.