I AM NOT a weeper. I have sat through every installment of Toy Story without shedding a single tear, waved three children off to primary with a smile on my face, and attended countless weddings/funerals without smearing my mascara. I am a rock.
99.9% of the time I find it easy to be the rock and my family has come to depend on my ability to maintain composure. It offers them comfort in a way that my tears would not. “Mom is okay therefore I will be okay” is an illogical but still reassuring assumption that can ease both pain and anxiety.
The only problem with not being a weeper is what happens on that rare (0.10%) occasion when the waterworks start. For me, it only happens during moments of deep maternal happiness. And not the prom picture, tooting a flute at a recital, drop off at university crap. I am referring to a way-down-in-the-pit-of-my-soul warmth that is activated when all of my children and their friends are in one location (preferably within the four walls of my house) and there are sounds of happiness all around me… guitars and pianos and strange X-box special effects noises.
Yep… this is when I feel weepy. Most of the time, I can conceal the situation with a quick trip to the toilet and a stern talk to myself in the bathroom mirror. And since the family is pre-occupied with all the guitar strumming and piano playing and video gaming, no one really noticed my absence so my persona as “the rock” remains intact.
But there are occasions, once every few years, when I cannot exit the situation. So the weeping happens. Conversation stops. Heads tilt. Time stands still while water pours from my eye sockets and my nose drips. Someone, usually a teenager, will note the obvious… “She is crying“. A communal “awwww” will pass around the room… the sort of “awwww” normally reserved for viewing sleeping babies or youtube videos of dancing kittens. There will be an awkward attempt at comfort… because I am a difficult person to comfort given that it is an unfamiliar role for me. I am a great hugger but a terribly stiff huggee.
It is obvious that my weeping is as discomforting to others as it is to me. Were it within my control to snuff out this reaction entirely, I would certainly do so. But it is not. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be welcoming two of my brood back into the house. Already I can feel the way-down-in-the-pit-of-my-soul warmth. And so I issue a warning to those around me (like those weather channel notices about upcoming hurricanes, and thunderstorms, and other unavoidable forces of nature).
Please be advised that there is a significant risk of mother crying during the next 48 hours. The long-term forecast predicts repeated crying throughout the upcoming 14 days.