Cry Baby

Last night I sat in front of the TV and wept inconsolably at the movie I was watching. I had my chair casually turned away from my husband lest he think me a cry baby.

When the tears threatened to bubble over into downright hysteria I ran from the room on the pretext of needing a wee.

Part of me hoped he would sense my distress and come running after me with open arms and an empathetic ear. I peered back around the door – no such luck, he’d not noticed a thing. But then why would he? We’d been watching a tacky murder mystery. Only an emotional wreck would cry at such a pathetic cause.

This is just the latest in an upsetting number of episodes of crying. I cry at adverts – there are the obvious ones depicting third world countries, neglected children, abandoned animals – all designed to tug at the heart strings, to encourage us to send in cheques, (or completed direct debit forms) to the cause. (Fortunately I’m not in charge of the family purse strings otherwise we would be paupers!) I can see what these adverts are doing yet I still succumb to their emotional pleas – eyes welling, painful lump in throat, face puffy within seconds. I am the aforementioned emotional wreck!

Since giving birth I’ve shed more tears than my two sons put together. I believe there is a conspiracy of the media to turn normal mothers into dripping vigilante child defenders what with every other book, movie or TV series portraying some kind of suffering to children and babies. OK so perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit but in my tear soaked delirium I think I’m entitled to.

What could possibly be the reason for my being so pathetic? Are all mothers the same? Many of the mums nod their heads when I share my shameful disclosure but maybe that’s just in response to the question in their head “Is she a nutter?”. My guess is that the average mother does experience heightened emotional connection to her children to ensure she remains totally and utterly subservient to their needs. I must have had several mothers’ worth because I’m just a dripping mess. It seems my empathy receptors have gone haywire since giving birth to my boys. I just cannot listen to any sad stories, especially when children are involved. I’m just reduced to tears and I suddenly feel the need to solve the problems of the world – child poverty, hunger, abandonment …lost teddies.

Of course, mine are not all sad tears. I do spurt tears of joy too (it’s no wonder I’m not a desiccated version of my former self from lack of water!). Seeing my two play boys nicely together or seeing them tucked up in bed, eyes drooping with satisfied tiredness bring on the tears (and no I’m not just talking about the joyful child-free evening I have ahead of me – although that’s probably a factor).

At last year’s Nativity play, for instance, I was in floods. Although to be fair there wasn’t a dry eye in the house such was the superior acting in this particular show.

So what will I be like when I watch them from the gates on their first day of school, or later, University? When they leave home? Have their first child? I will have a permanent river channel etched into my aging cheeks…

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