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.