Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Big Kids Do Cry

I've always been a bit tender-hearted. I blame my grandfather. After multiple children, grandchildren, and decades of marriage, he still teared up EVERY time he told the story of meeting my grandmother. My dad can be rather sentimental, too, but he usually deflects it with a well-placed obscenity and people forget the soft heart.

My husband was playing Sara Arthur's Talk of the Town in the car this weekend. I warned him weeks ago that Stephen McCarthy's stunner of a song "When You Get Back Home" makes me cry EVERY time. We've been together almost 20 years, why does he doubt me?

He played it.

I boo-hooed.

He looked at me amazed and asked, "EVERY time?!?!"

I answered with my father's deflection trick.

The next night I was reading Berke Breathed's "Mars Needs Moms" for my son's bedtime story. There is a tough passage and I could not make it through. My son laughed gently and gave me a big hug. (He's 5! This is getting ridiculous.) In the end, I laughed and made it through, but in an effort to regain the adult role - the truth came bubbling out.

"Sweetie, mama isn't sad. I work with a lot of people and they tell me their stories. And sometimes some story reminds me of one of their stories and I cry. That's all."

That's all? I didn't even know that. But that IS it. At our best, isn't this why we cry?

At funerals we remember all the stories of the one who has died and sometimes cry. We cry for the stories we will no longer get to share with them. We cry for the ones they loved. We cry because this service reminds us of another service that we are not done dealing with.

In bittersweet moments that are not necessarily connected to death, we remember, too. Songs remind us, books remind us, smells and recipes and family gatherings remind us. We remember great trips, funny friends, fantastic nights, kind neighbors. I know that not everyone tears easily like I do but, if we are lucky, we still remember.

I just happen to have a memory accompanied by liquid. I try to think of it as my way of offering a toast. I try to think of it as family legacy. I try not to think about it because it makes me cry.

So today I was checking in at Cul de Sac Blues . I've mentioned this blog before. I think of this guy as the Franz Kafka of the blogosphere. (Day job of indistinct character, great writing on the side.) Check out the link. It made me cry. No real surprise there. But maybe it will remind you of something dear, too.



Lizard Eater said...

SNIFF ... I cry at everything. I cry when I laugh, cry when I hear a song that is even remotely touching. I read that movie stars get their armpits botoxed before big events so as not to sweat. I wish I could have my tear ducts botoxed.

Including the very cool, very UU-like holiday song, "A Christmas/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Chanukah/Ramadan/Boxing Day Song" by Christine Lavin. On iTunes. Recommended. You'll only cry if you're a complete sap like me.

ms. kitty said...

Lovely post, AJ, thanks.