Big Girls Don’t Cry

We were all feeling the pain after the Spurs lost.
We all had “the feels” after the Spurs lost in the first round of the 2015 Playoffs.

I’m standing in the parking lot outside a beautiful day school that is walking distance from my desk at my new job, when I burst into tears. My poor husband stands there, flabbergasted, in 100-degree heat. He just wanted to come see my new office and check out the amenities. I’m realizing that to fully take advantage of the perks at my new job (like the onsite, fully-accredited day school) I will have to say goodbye to the school family that has been with us since O was just a toddler. I’m not ready to make that decision. And I’m surprised at my outburst.

The only other time I’ve cried at work was when I was really pregnant and working long hours with one of my very good friends (and boss). These days, it seems I can barely get through the week without something tugging at my heart strings hard enough to cause a downpour.

I partially dreaded my son’s one-year well check. I knew he’s strong and healthy and developing on track. I also knew he was going to have shots. I hate knowing those instances when he will cry out in pain and look at me, tears filling his big blue eyes as if to say, “How could you let them do this to me!?” And if history has anything to teach me, it’s that I will fight back tears for my child, who is in pain.

But it doesn’t even have to be something as visceral as shots. I could be reading a bedtime story (like The Giving Tree or Love You Forever), and as cliche as it is, it gets me every time. In fact, as a rule Love You Forever is one of the few children’s books we don’t own. Nevertheless, my kids look at me with some concern and then flash a smile in their attempt to make me feel better. But it’s not that I feel badly or supremely sad—I’ve just got “the feels.” I feel things a bit more deeply now and with more consideration than I did before these kiddos came along.

It’s one of those things I’m also starting to understand about my own mother. I remember her eyes welling up with tears when we would give her our homemade Mother’s Day presents or whenever we had an awards ceremony. It was a little embarrassing at the time. Her reaction was usually met with an eye roll and a half-smile, but we always knew hers were tears of pride and joy.

Now that I’m a mom, I’m starting to understand what my mom must’ve been feeling. My mom was notorious for tearing up during movies. In this way, I’m becoming more like her. I can’t get through the first 15 minutes of Up without turning into a blubbering mess.

The other day we were watching one of my favorite movies from childhood, The Princess Bride. We almost got through the entire movie just fine. In fact, this film had NEVER made me cry before. But then Peter Falk, who portrays a grandfather narrating the story to his grandson, played by Fred Savage, delivered the last line of the movie, and I was wiping away tears.

I can’t really explain it. It’s literally like walking around with your heart outside of your chest. You never realize before becoming a mother just how much your own mom loves you. Then you have a kid, and it’s just eye-opening to realize that wow, my mom loves me so much more than I was ever capable of loving her.

I’ve never been much of a crier, and was always a little embarrassed if my feelings got the better of me. But, I’m learning not to hide my tears. I want my children to know the pride and joy I feel for them. So when my four-year-old starts belting out the chorus from “Danny’s Song” or whistling the theme song from All Things Considered and I’m ready to burst into tearful pride, I just let the tears fall. But I try to flash them a smile to let them know Mommy’s not sad; she’s just got the feels.

Celina is a “professional volunteer” serving on multiple nonprofit boards and advisory groups. In her former life she started a nonprofit, which she left last year in the most capable of hands where it continues to thrive. In another past life she was a host and reporter for Texas Public Radio. She’s a “native” Texan and life-long San Antonio Girl. She attended school in Chicago where all she did was talk about how great Texas is. Her husband, Luke, is her high school sweetheart and the most supportive spouse you’ll ever meet. They have two children whom words can’t currently describe, but keep reading and you’ll get a pretty good idea who they are becoming.


  1. We cried every time we read “I Love You Forever.” Lillian had the same reaction! I feel your pangs of sentimentality. I don’t have them as much now but some. We can no longer carry our daughter, who is kind of small of her age. We got away with it for 10 years, now she is simply too big. Thankfully she is a cuddler and likes to be babied at bedtime, so we still enjoy kid-like interactions. Middle School is upon us, I’m not holding my breath that will continue.

    When Lillian was born, I was overwhelmed with love for her. I didn’t think my heart could take it. I asked my mom, “Do you love ME that much?” “Of course I do.” I suddenly felt badly for ever thinking she didn’t.

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