Because I cry.

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“So do you feel like motherhood has changed you?” Hubs asked on Mother’s Day.

“Yeah.” Duh.

Hubs and I were high school sweethearts, you know. Back then, he had a nickname for me: The Ice Princess. Yes. Before Ana and Elsa…there was me. Only I wore baggy jeans, flannel, and sang “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from my ’87 Mazda instead of “Let It Go” from a snow-capped mountain. I’d like to see Ana or Elsa drive a stick at 16.

I was likeable and friendly in general. But in terms of “love” my demeanor was somewhat chilly, I suppose you could say. I thought “love” (#eyeroll) was lame and sensitivity was useless. I was slightly apathetic. Hugs were reserved for grandmas and parents, and handholding in public was impractical, if not ridiculous. I loved my family. I loved sports. I loved Doritos.

Age and life experience slowly chipped fissures into my icy façade. Then the knock-out blow, Motherhood, took my frozen blueberry heart and left it in the sun to melt and over-ripen to mush, and ferment into wine whose sweet tanginess I lap up. I grow drunk. And I pass out. From…feelings.

*Shudder*

What happened to me? I go from The Ice Princess to Richard Simmons after too many cocktails. I’m now the girl whose husband feels the couch shaking and looks over, only to see his wife sobbing when Andy leaves Buzz and Woody for the last time on Bonnie’s front porch before going off to college.

I can’t explain it. Everyone is different. Our hearts are snowflakes. We live and learn and grow in different ways. For me, it was giving birth to a 10 lb. 1 oz. human, who has since nearly tripled in size. I find myself internalizing the world’s problems on my commute home as NPR whispers in my ear that life is unfair and generally terrible for so many. I internalize the world’s problems because I frame them in terms of my son’s future. And when I do that, I think about all kids. And you can’t think about all kids without thinking of humanity, and boy is humanity big.

Suddenly, the list of things that used to make me cry seems trivial – both in size and significance – while the list of things that makes me cry today grows into a grocery list of items needed to prepare dinner for the Duggars.

What made me cry at 21:

  1. Ruining an expensive shirt
  2. Ruining my hair
  3. Mean people
  4. Slicing onions
  5. Stepping on rocks
  6. Leaving Disney (World or Land)

What makes me cry at 35:

  1. Ruining our democracy
  2. Ruining Earth
  3. Mean people
  4. Slicing onions
  5. Stepping on Legos
  6. Arriving to or leaving Disney (World or Land)
  7. NBC’s Parenthood
  8. Meaningful looks
  9. Weddings
  10. Folgers commercials
  11. Katy Perry’s “Roar”
  12. News
  13. Hunger, famine, injustice
  14. Last-second, game-winning shots
  15. Abuse
  16. Notes in minor key
  17. “Up”
  18. “Toy Story 3”
  19. Pixar music in general
  20. Triumph
  21. Sunsets and cornfields
  22. Poverty
  23. Luke bringing balance to The Force
  24. Empathy
  25. Lack of empathy
  26. Anyone growing up
  27. Anyone going off to college
  28. Birth stories
  29. Bon Iver
  30. Free-and-reduced lunch rates
  31. Did I mention poverty?
  32. Movies with Dakota Fanning as a child
  33. 80s love ballads
  34. Redemption
  35. Justice
  36. “Bridge to Tarabithia”
  37. Jesus
  38. Homelessness
  39. Sea World
  40. Plastic grocery bags
  41. Plastic food containers
  42. Plastic cutlery
  43. Plastic bottles
  44. Plastic in general because #45…
  45. Plastic cesspools in the ocean
  46. (Which brings me to) Vinyl
  47. Heartfelt Taylor Swift songs
  48. “Hoosiers” (see #’s 14, 20, 22, 34, 56)
  49. Jimmy Chitwood (see #14)
  50. Kids standing up to bullies
  51. Babies who survive
  52. Babies who don’t
  53. Katy Perry’s “Firework”
  54. Grace
  55. Love
  56. Hope
  57. Faith
  58. “Mary Poppins”

If you’d told me 10 years ago that a pop singer with gigantic eyes and sometimes blue hair would sing a song about roaring like a tiger, and that I would actually listen to it, I’d have laughed in your face. If you’d told me that I’d not only listen to it, but belt it at the top of my lungs while a huge lump of inspiration and strength and beauty and hopefulness and gratitude rises in my throat … well I’d have spit in your face.

I cry. I cry for joy. I cry for sorrow. I cry all. the. time. Two and a half years after having a baby, the ice has cracked. The pieces have drifted at sea and washed ashore white sandy beaches, completely melted. And it’s warm and sunny. And I feel strong.

Oh boy. I think I’m gonna cry.

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7 thoughts on “Because I cry.

  1. Bravo, Chris. Once again….you’ve made me cry. I used to think I was too sensitive (people told me that quite often too, so it’s no wonder I continued to think that when I was an adult) until I read a book with that very title (Are You Really Too Sensitive?) and realized I was OK. Emotions tell us things we need to be aware of – all kinds of things. You’ve created some great lists and everyone has their own list and it grows as we grow. Bravo for melting. You will be a better mom for it, although I never thought of you as that much Ice Princess as Reserved Young Woman waiting to find herself. And now you have!

    • Thanks Dianne! I’ve been trying to articulate for awhile how this change has happened. It’s strange. I just…cry! I’m really starting to own those tears though, and laugh through them! 🙂

  2. I am totally the same! Today, I went to the spring concert at my son’s elementary school. As the K-2 kids sang “True Colors,” along with their precious accompanying hand motions, I was wiping tears from my eyes.
    That song always gets me. But seeing my little kindergartner in his first concert WHILE singing that song = me making an ass of myself in the audience.
    Great post. I’m glad it’s not just me.

  3. I was hunting around for posts about Pixar and Disney because today I posted a short film by Pixar and there you were. I didn’t intend to read it all, but I couldn’t help it. Beautiful, beautiful post. (And I warn you. If you go to my post today and watch the short film, it may make you cry, too.)

    • Oh, I remember this one! I love Pixar (except Brave…sorry Bravesters, that one is not for me) and will never forget sobbing in the theater when we watched Up. And that was at the beginning of the movie! Thanks for reading!

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