Prince William recently went on record to say that now that being a parent has made him “more emotional.”
Really? Me too. I embarrass myself with how easily tears come to my eyes nowadays. I was not always a crier. In fact, my grandmother said she could never tell what I was thinking since I showed no emotion. (She never knew, but that comment hurt my feelings.)
Now, I cry at almost anything.
Naturally, I cry when others do, at big things (when a loved one dies, when feeling extreme pain) and more trivial things (the predictable rom-com, the sad novel), as well as at happy occasions: weddings, graduations, and almost any other time my children are recognized for their achievements. However, I also cry when it is unexpected, which brings funny looks (and suppressed giggles from my kids).
Like many people, I cried during parts of the Hunger Games. But I think I cried more. It started when Katniss volunteers as tribute, in her sister’s stead. The unselfish love she has for her sister had tears running down my face when I was reading the book. It went on from there. Needless to say, I couldn’t see any of these movies in the theater (and am impatiently waiting for the last one to be released on DVD; no one needs to see that ugly crying face in public).
Sitcoms (yes, situation comedies) have also been known to make me cry, especially when a parent/child relationship is involved. I also have been known to laugh until I cry, but that is really a different thing altogether. Sappy advertising gets me, even ones featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales that appear during the Super Bowl.
Several years ago, my daughter had a part in the musical Titanic at our high school. I happened to work in the school at the time and by chance was in the building the day of the preview, so I joined the mostly student audience to watch the first act. There she was, in a yellow gown, dancing among the other first-class passengers; the characters were enjoying themselves, blissfully unaware of what was to come. There I sat, with tears streaming down my face, trying to wipe them away with no one seeing. Now this show tells a tragic story, and tears are acceptable and probably expected at the end, but, this was not the sad part of the story. Though it could have been argued that I was emotional at how happy they all were, not knowing what was to come, that was not the case at all. I was crying because my daughter, whom I had carried for nine months, birthed and then cared for throughout childhood was dancing on a stage, looking beautiful and all grown up.
School voice recitals have been another problem for me. Here I have sat and listened to talented children (and not only mine) sing songs of their choosing. Most of the music is contemporary. Ballads of course tend to be sappy, but the choices are also often upbeat. Watching these children whom I have known since their elementary years (or in some cases toddlerhood) sing with such presence and emotion can be nostalgic. Make it my child, and I am, again, trying to keep my cries quiet and unobtrusively wipe the tears so as not to embarrass (them or myself).
As I mentioned, my tears are not reserved for my children alone.
I spent many years as a Girl Scout leader, and from the start, had a group of middle through high school girls. As a result, many years required a goodbye at the end of the school year, as one or more went off to college. Each year, I planned my part in our ceremony and almost without fail, I cried. In most cases, it was because I was seeing these girls, younger (likely as their parents were), and marveling at how grown up they had become. I also mourned their loss, as I had grown to know and love them as individuals and enjoyed spending time with them. The girls would chuckle at my emotion, as did some of the parents who were guests at these ceremonies. Last year, the girls not only anticipated it, they explicitly stated that the time had come for me to cry.
Parenting brings out raw emotion.
You see the world differently as a parent. Like many other things, it doesn’t make any sense until and unless you experience it. (Who am I kidding? It doesn’t make any sense, period.) You feel emotions more intensely than you could have previously imagined. I am not saying that all parents are criers, but emotions seem to hit harder and affect you differently than they did before kids. For years, I have tried to hide this fact from the world. Now that the heir to the throne of England is admitting it, I guess I can too.