I’m a pretty emotional person. I cry at sad movies, I cry at happy movies, I cry on the first AND last day of school. I cry at weddings, when anyone I know is diagnosed with an illness, when I get into a fight with someone. It’s a pretty consistent emotional response from me and has been throughout my entire life.
My kids have become a little immune to it. Like when I cried during the Secret Life of Pets Two, they giggled. “Mom’s crying!” my daughter whispered to my son in the theater. Even I knew it was ridiculous as I tried to explain it to them later. How my heart just feels things-that even a cartoon character’s personality resonates with me.
But when I wept because a dear family member told me he was sick, their little faces didn’t hold a trace of amusement in response to my tears. They responded. They hugged me, they colored me pictures to cheer me up, they prayed with me that night. My little six and seven year old children actually helped me work through my sadness.
I’ve thought about it hiding it, about letting them see me as a little more tough. About trying to explain to them that they don’t need to be emotionally connected to everything the way I am. But after considering this, I’ve decided I don’t want it to be seen as a weakness. It’s not. I’m a strong woman after I get the tears out. So my explanation is, “Just because I’m a mom doesn’t mean I don’t have feelings.”
I feel deeply. I’m introspective and sensitive. I hyper analyze things. I notice the passage of time. I’m a thinker. And it’s okay for my kids to see it. Because they need to be able to have empathy for people like me in the world. The feelers. The ones who don’t analyze as much as they sympathize. The grown men and women who might tear up when they’re happy or sad or overwhelmed, and it’s not something to be ashamed of. I’m not fragile, I won’t break. But I need to let out the feelings, I need the release. And then I can carry on.