I just figured out why I cry

Alright, women–especially moms–cry. It’s such a total stereotype too, which doesn’t help the whole problem of crying at the drop of a hat. Who has two thumbs and doesn’t like being a stereotype? This mom. Crying was a pretty unpleasant discovery for me after I had kids. I’ve never been a fan of crying in general. You make funny noises, bad faces, and snot and tears get everywhere. Not appealing. Plus, let’s just be realistic–what on earth is crying really accomplishing besides a puffy face? Pretty much nothing. Have you ever looked in the mirror while crying? Not your best look. In fact, if you’re anything like me, I bet you were so horrified that you cried even harder.

Here’s the kicker about the whole crying thing though. Sometimes the toughest part about crying isn’t the emotion that accompanies it, but simply not being able to define or understand that emotion. Granted, lots of times you cry because you are genuinely happy or sad, but the other 75% of the time you cry simply because you relate. No, there was nothing explicitly sad about that bedtime story, but you relate so deeply to the idea of loving your baby as long as you’re living; your baby they’ll be, that you just cry.

The other day I was watching a commercial for detergent. This was while the Olympic games were still on TV and the commercial showed all these little kids with their game faces on participating in Olympic sports. Of course, I’m exasperated because everyone knows little kids shouldn’t be doing the high dive and so far this is a lame commercial, so I’m watching with equal amounts of irritation and annoyance while a little boy bounces gently at the top of the diving board before preparing for his backwards dive. All of a sudden the camera cuts to a woman in the stands watching with tense eyes and white-knuckled hands. And then the words: Because to you, they’ll always be kids.* And then in one giant woosh of emotion I saw every Olympic athlete with a mother in the stands watching her baby on the parallel bars or running their heart out in a footrace and then of course I thought of my own two little babies as adults someday doing who knows what and doing it well, and like a crazy time warp, all of a sudden I was that mother in the stands with tense eyes and white knuckles. So yes. As you may have now deduced, of course I cried.

I didn’t cry because I was happy, and I didn’t cry because I was sad. I simply cried because I related so deeply. Someone once compared having children to letting your heart walk around outside of your body for the rest of your life. That’s true. A common side effect of letting such a fragile organ jump off of couches and cry over the mean boys in Sunday school, or getting scared of the thunder, is that your heart is always a little bit raw and broken and exposed when it comes to your children. There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s a gift that allows all parents a unique and earth-shattering look into the Father heart of God for his children. And the strange uptick in crying? That’s simply what happens when you relate to everything in the deepest part of your exposed heart.

I’m trying not to let it bother me though because I’m pretty sure I prefer it this way. I’d rather live like that trembling fall leaf, than the bud that was always hidden deep inside the branch.

Speaking of which, the trees in my town are starting to turn their leaves. What is up with that anyway!?

*or something to that general effect. It’s not like I sat down and wrote out the commercial verbatim.