Friday, December 11, 2009


For years I have given my mother a hard time for being sappy. I'm not. Never have been. Every year at Christmas, there is an unspoken competition. Who can make Mom cry first? I'm pretty good at it, and we all know her weaknesses. Truth is, whenever we ask her what she wants, she always says nothing. So we are left to our own devices and we get her the things that we know she will love, though they generally make her cry. Personalized bracelets, photo albums, singing cards. Slam dunk, guaranteed tear jerkers.

She's always been the type of person who cries at Hallmark commercials. Movies make her cry, even the ones that she has seen about a million times. She knows how they end, and yet ends up teary eyed. I used to harass her about it, because I used to be the furthest thing from sappy. Used to.

Though I try to be strong, and I try to be stoic, I just can't do it all the time anymore. I used to be better at it. When Gary was sick, we had no choice but to stay positive when we were with him. I learned to cry when he couldn't see me. I got good at it. When Tom was sick, I was marvelous at hiding my emotions. We were living in the apartment at the time and I would cry the entire time walking out to take out the trash, and the entire way back. But I would be fully composed by the time I came back in the door. I had to be. When Ashley got hurt and needed emergency surgery, I stayed strong, holding her until the anesthesia took effect. Only after she was asleep did I let myself cry.

These days, I am so overwhelmed emotionally that I cry about everything. I find myself randomly tearing up at the littlest things. Sometimes they are happy tears, sometimes they are sad ones. I've learned that there is comfort in letting go of the emotions. Of letting myself feel them. I try to keep myself composed around the kids as much as possible, but it seems to only get harder the older I get.

The kids always want to listen to the Christmas radio station right now, and there are times I just can't do it. Darn that Josh Groban. Even those Hallmark commercials, they get me now. Break out the tissues, I've turned into a sap.

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