have you ever cried?

by humanmama on June 16, 2012

“have you ever cried in your whole life, Mama,” asks my six-year-old, this afternoon, while we were all outside and enjoying the gorgeous day. It’s still so amazing to me, sometimes, that they are old enough to ask questions like that. First they start only totally self-aware, and then gradually move into an awareness of the world,  “why? Why do birds fly and I can’t?” Then, little by little, they move into the awareness that the people in the world around them have feelings and thoughts of their own, which are totally unique to their own.  So that even now, being used general self-awareness and egocentrism that a two- and three- and four-year old possess, it stuns me when they ask about me, especially my oldest who actually wants to know.

Have I ever cried. What a great question. How to answer? I did not cry when your dad asked me to marry him, but I did cry when I thought we should just elope because the wedding plans were getting so stressful.

I didn’t cry when I found out I was pregnant with you, or your sister, or your soon-to-be brother, but I did cry when I was vomiting, 15 times a day, and I asked your dad how much longer I could take being pregnant.

I did not cry when you were born, but I cried when they told me labor had not progressed since 6am, and it was 9pm, and did we want to consider a c-section?

I cried when you had your first shots, and I felt like Judas, kissing you and then turning you over to pain. I cried when you first slept through the night, tears of absolute exhaustion and relief. I cried when you cried and clung to my leg when I went to work, part-time, when you were two, and I might have shed a tear or two when I went back to work again, part time, for another company, when you were four years old, and didn’t.

I cry when I think about the evil in this world, and my eyes burn when I think of how much I want to protect you and your siblings and how little I really can, in the end, from all the bad. You’ll taste heartache, and rejection, and failure, like everyone else. I cry when I think of the things you will accomplish, and how one day you’ll not need me and I will need you, and how scary that could be for us both. I cry when I think about you having your own family, and how extatic your dad and I will be to hold your children, should you choose to have any.

…I thought long and hard about how to respond to her. But when I looked up, she had already run to the tire swing, and she was making long, languid circles in the air. So I wiped my eyes, and went on with my day.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Holly June 17, 2012 at 5:15 am

Beautifully written. And beyond genuine.


aj June 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thank you so much.


charles cameron June 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I did not cry when I “gave you away” at your wedding. I did when I saw how amazingly happy you and your just-new husband were later that day. Joy does that.

…and great pride.



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