“Crying” by Roy Orbison is, of course, a great song, but this is more about crying than classic Orbison. I was thinking about how we cry in my family. My parents and I do not cry in front of each other. Itâ€™s unbearable and makes whatever painful situation even more acute. I remember when my emo flew in from Ohio when we first found out my dad had cancer, I picked her up from the airport, cried, she cried. When she got to our house, she came up to hug my dad and tried to say something like â€œhung-booâ€ (which I think means â€œbrother-in-lawâ€ but I can barely remember like my kidsâ€™ names these days, so donâ€™t take my word for it) but she couldnâ€™t get the words out, because she was crying, which made my dad cry and pull away, so he could pull himself back to stoic. With my kids, they cry in front of everyone pretty easily of course, because theyâ€™re still young (though First Son is starting to seem to sense of embarrassment about crying), and sometimes, I end up crying in front of them â€“ not like all the time, but some nights are super-hard and the tears come. If I can sneak into my room or the bathroom, I do it, but sometimes, thatâ€™s not possible so the kids witness my waterworks. They ask me about the tears, and I just tell them point blank â€œIâ€™m crying because Iâ€™m tiredâ€ or â€œIâ€™m crying because Iâ€™m sadâ€ â€“ and Iâ€™m beginning to think this might be actually the part of parenting Iâ€™m doing well unintentionally. I think itâ€™s good for them to see someone get upset, cry, express/release, then move on, because the older I get, the more stressful the demands are on my mind/time/body, I am beginning to understand how itâ€™s not helpful to hold all your stuff in. Iâ€™m not saying go overshare adult problems with kids, Iâ€™m saying, sometimes, you feel like doody in life, and itâ€™s okay. You weep, then move on. We shall see. This is a distinctly different from the way I was raised. Also, when the kids ask about deep, crazy stuff, I try to come up with a simple explanation that wonâ€™t make them anxious. First Son matter-of-factly told me last night how he was telling his teacher about my dadâ€™s cancer, how he has brain cancer and how it affects the way he walks/talks. Huh. The other night, Wonder Twin Girl had a meltdown at a restaurant and because I read this story that went viral about a dad who let his kid freak at Walmart, since he was raised to let it out. It made me realize, when possible, I have to give them room to feel like crud.
Weâ€™ll see what kind of adults they become.