My husband is very sympathetic when I cry but he always wants to know “what happened?” There must be a single event that has triggered my tears. Did I cut myself while chopping onions? Did the kids break an irreplaceable dish? Did a pet die? (I made that last one up. We don’t have any pets because I got tired of being the only one to feed them and clean out their tanks/bowls/cages. Now, if we got a pet – that would be a good reason to cry).
I think it must be one of those Venus / Mars things, but I have a hard time explaining to my husband that nothing happened exactly. Sometimes the sameness of my life – the broken record that is my nagging voice, the dishes and clothes that never stay washed, the decisions about what to feed everyone that I make 3 times a day (which works out to 1095 times a year) – sometimes it’s the nothings and the everythings that overwhelm me.
Jane Dickson StairwellI’m standing alone in a stairwell looking down at all the steps I’ve taken. I’ve married a great man, given birth to four wonderful children, accomplished a few impressive things along the way like collecting college degrees, running half-marathons, finishing some quilts. But some of those other steps below me represent regrets – the petty things I’ve said and done, the projects I’ve started but not finished, the many ways I’ve screwed up my kids (because God knows they’d still be perfect if it weren’t for the bad habits I’ve let them develop). And above me the stairs continue to ascend with mocking regularity. I rest my arm on the railing and prepare for the rest of the climb – the next step, next day, the next batch of laundry. But for now I pause in the light of the landing that is the present moment and I take a deep breath. And sometimes I cry just a bit.
I cry to relieve the pressure. I cry because I’m not sure what else to do. I cry to let my husband see that I need more help. I cry to let my kids know I’m human – as if there were any doubt. I cry because, just for the moment, I can see myself from above and my life seems a little pathetic, like a scene in a tragic movie or a Kodak commercial. My son, when I’m putting a bandaid on his owie, always looks in the mirror to watch himself cry and it makes him cry harder. Sometimes we all need a good self-pity party.
And then I realize that crying isn’t going to get dinner made, and the kids are looking a bit too concerned (because they didn’t really want to know I was human) and are offering to help me set the table. And nothing happens but I’m fine now and aside from a little emotional hangover in the morning, I’ll be fine then too.