Once upon a time, I prided myself on not being emotional. Not even seeing “Titanic” or “The Notebook” in theatres could make me shed a tear. I had an iron lock on blubbering: I was tough and confident, and nothing could bring me down.
That was because nothing hard had ever happened to me.
Until it did.
I don’t need to give you a laundry list of difficult crap that I’ve been through, because we all have our problems, but I chalk it up to my parents’ very difficult divorce, a brother fighting a war and coming back not so okay, long distance relationships where my fiancé was deployed to the middle east, and a bunch of other crap I don’t care to divulge. It’s life. Like I said, we all have hard stuff and mine is not exceptional.
However, these experiences tapped into my lock on my emotional self, and let’s just say the tears flowed more freely after my late adolescence. I could have a good cry at a sappy movie with the rest of them.
But it was nothing – I mean NOTHING – compared to becoming a mommy. Oh my goodness, one smile from my infant daughter had me blubbering like a fool. I remember, when Claire was very teeny, watching commercials about puppy chow and bursting into tears (hello, breastfeeding and fluctuating hormones). Ok so maybe that was due to postpartum craziness, but these days I have no excuse, as my hormones seem to be back in a normal rhythm and I am no longer breastfeeding.
So what’s my excuse now, when I take Claire to story time at the library, and watch her get up the courage to walk away from me and dance while waving her arms in the air, and I choke back sobs? Or when I am playing music in the kitchen and she starts to wiggle her hips like I taught her and smile up at me while she dances? And why do I cry when I turn on “Daniel Tiger” for her and watch lessons about how to be a good friend, and how being with family means you are safe? Or when I open the car door to get her out of her seat and she just looks at me and says, “hi mommy” with a smile.
I can’t help but hold back sobs (and sometimes I even fall short of that) at the pure innocence of it all. They are the most beautiful, ordinary moments of my daily, boring life, and yet I know I will remember them forever.
Challenges and hardship can often make us into better and more rounded people. I am glad I am not a “rock” of emotional strength anymore. I want to cry happy, ugly tears at my daughter’s innocence. It is the greatest blessing of my life.