No one told me that somehow when you grow a human being in your uterus, the physical changes are not just stretch marks, extra-belly skin, sagging breasts and dark circles. They are also extra laugh lines, and somehow a weird physiological change that somehow makes your tear-ducts more sensitive.
My husband (then my boyfriend) once commented on my lack of emotion, pointing out that I don't cry at sad movies. For the record, I have known my husband almost 17 years and have NEVER seen him cry, so the whole "people who live in glass houses..." (BTW - after being together 17 years I now am ofter called "crazy" "dramatic" and "overly-emotional" so I have lost my tough-as-nails reputation.)
Besides, I argued, I did cry when I watched Black Beauty. Remember at the end when the boy is riding the cart by the field? And the horse recognizes him even though he is all grown up? And the old horse starts running as fast as he can to catch the boy (now a man) and get is attention? Totally cried!
But as a mother, something has changed in me, and now I can cry anytime, anywhere. Technically, I should consider acting 'cause there is no need for fake tears for me.
Things that make me cry now, as a mom, that didn't affect me at all before include (but are definitely not limited to):
Terry Fox. Just thinking about him makes me cry. I don't know if it is in amazement at his story, his courage, his strength or that he didn't finish his run but we all remember him and know what he did for cancer. Every September when the kids come home from school and talk about Terry Fox, I open up one of our books and start reading about him and just cry and cry. Silent hot tears thinking about him. Summer of 2009 when we drove up to Thunder Bay, we saw where he ran his last mile and had to stop. OK. Tears starting....
Remembrance Day. Starting in high school I bought and wore poppies because I took the subway to school and had to walk by those veterans every day. My school was right near Queens Park, and for a few years when I was in the choir I actually sang at one of the government buildings. I can still sing, "In Flanders Fields" and "Abide with me." Now, I want to cry when I see an aging veteran, so few of them around, their hands shaking as they want to pin your poppy to your coat, right over your heart. I think about everything that they went through, and wonder how they don't cry every time they put a poppy on some stranger's jacket.
Now don't even get me started on our Highway of Heros and the repatriation ceremonies.
Finally, a few weeks ago I sat mesmerized with the rest of the world watching the Chilean Miners. 69 days! Trapped underground. I was just so happy that they were all OK and all finally out. Tears of relief and joy for them and their families. And when their kids saw their dads?
The latest was this morning, watching this video on YouTube . OK. I didn't actually know that Rick Mercer and Mark Tewksbury were Gay.
There are so many things that touch me now as a mom that I think I just didn't notice before. It is like being a mother is an open wound, susceptible to all of the pain, hurt, love and joy that others feel. Like a major empathy nerve.
Here is a story that can also make me cry - to all of the moms out there who always have a Kleenex shoved up their sleeve:
"Mom, why are you crying?" he asked his mom.
"Because I'm a woman" she told him.
"I don't understand," he said.
His mom just hugged him and said, "and you never will." Later the little boy asked his father, "Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?"
"All women cry for no reason" was all his dad could say.
The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.
Finally he put in a call to GOD. When GOD got on the phone the man said, "GOD, why do women cry so easily?"
"When I made women she had to be special. I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world; yet, gentle enough to give comfort.
I gave her an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children.
I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.
I gave her the sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her very badly. This same sensitivity helps her to make a child's boo-boo feel better and shares in her teenagers anxieties and fears.
I gave her strength to carry her husband through his faults and fashioned her from his rib to protect his heart.
I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes tests her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfaltering.
I gave her a tear to shed, it's hers exclusively to use whenever it is needed. It's her only weakness; it's a tear for mankind."
--- Author Unknown ---