It’s All Right for Mommy to Cry

We went to see a family movie* in the theater on Monday. My son had already seen it with his grandparents when he visited them in Ohio, so he knew enough to warn me that I might cry.

He feels uncomfortable when I cry around him, but I’m trying to figure out how to let him know that it’s just part of who I am.

He was right, of course. I cried at a couple of different dramatic points in the first 2/3 of the film, and then could not keep my eyes dry for the last 1/3. It was a really good show.

I just cry sometimes. Not all the time. Just whenever my heart can’t hold my present emotions all at once.

It could be in a movie–yes, even an animated family film. It might be during church–although I’m equally as likely to laugh out loud there as I am to sob.

I sometimes let tears flow about frustrations in day-to-day life, work, or relationships.

I might break down understandably because of trauma–you know, like that time when the Wi-Fi router blew up? Other times I cry for what seems like no logical reason whatsoever.

It may not be every day. There may even be weeks at a time that go by without a good cry.

But these tears of mine just sometimes gush out as my heart bursts forth with whatever it can no longer contain.

MomCrying

But my son, he doesn’t like it one bit. He’d really rather I not do it.

At first I thought he was embarrassed by it. So I asked him.

“That’s not it, mommy,” he explained. “I just don’t like to see you upset.”

“So you’re worried about me?”

“Yeah.”

But for being worried about me he can be pretty obnoxious.

Sometimes he glares at me–he has even mastered the preemptive glare in which he tries to lock eyes with me if he even suspects I might cry as if to say, “Don’t even think about it.”

Other times, when he doesn’t notice until I am actually teary-eyed, he’ll nudge me with a “Hey, cut it out! I don’t want to see that!” jab.

Then there are times when he sees me crying while I’m talking to my husband about a problem and he’ll overhear a bit and want to be my little “fixer.” He’ll pop over and give me some seriously oversimplified solution to some really complex situation that’s weighing on me.

Most of the time, in one way or another, he’s essentially telling me it’s not okay, that I shouldn’t cry.

For that reason, my favorite response of his to my tears is when he sweetly brings me a stuffed animal, “for love comfort.” I like these times best of all because it gives me some hope that he’ll let it be what it is and not try to shut me down or fix me.

I know it’s a pretty sophisticated idea for a 10-year-old kid to take in–that’s okay that his mom cries sometimes. But I do hope he’ll come to terms with it.

Because it just is.

I think crying is like singing, writing, doodling, and speaking for me. It’s all related to the idea that I need to express what’s in me. It has to come out somehow. Even the very most important thoughts and feelings aren’t fully real to me if I don’t have some way to let them out.

And while I never want to burden my son with problems too big for his little ears and his little heart to deal with, there are just gonna be these times when I get a bit weepy. And I don’t need to be fixed or quieted, I need to pour out my heart.

He doesn’t have to watch.

But we’ll both get along better when he learns that it’s all right–probably even good–for mommy to cry.

 

*The movie we saw on Monday was How to Train Your Dragon 2