Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tears in Thy bottle

My daughters play on a co-ed basketball team.  Well, it's supposed to be, 'cept they ended up being the only two girls to sign up.  While not ideal, I figured it would give them a good experience at being challenged in the sport, and settled myself in to being the "girls' mom."  I knew they would have to try to run faster, jump harder, and play tougher than before.

Then the slap of my daughter's skin on the bare gym floor made everyone gasp.  In an attempted steal, she had been knocked over, sailing to belly flop in front of the crowd of boys.  Tensed for action of my own, I could see her eyes grow wide, her lower lip jut out, and just begin to tremble.

"Okay Claire, okay.  Get up; can you get up?" 

Coach Jackie, who is mercifully also female, looked at her in the eye.  Ever a people pleaser, my nine year old bounced up to her feet, and dusted off her legs.  "Shake it off Claire, shake it off." 

Claire gave herself a shake, and boldly re-entered the game.  A nearby dad leaned over to me and said, "You have one tough kid."

It got me thinking.  I knew she'd wanted to cry.  I also knew her male peers would not.  Should I have given her a hug right afterwards, and let her have a quiet sob till she was better?  Or done what I did, and supported her toughness?  I'm still not completely sure. 

I find it interesting that so many things can spark tears.  There are about as many causes of tears as there are causes of love, and with similar variations.  I can love pizza and love my children.  I can cry over a sentimental movie, or the loss of a loved one.  Or heck, yes, over nothing at all. 
I find it hard not to try to comfort anyone I find crying.  Most recently, I sidled up to a kid weeping alone at a party, to hear the tragic tale that her dad had taken away her I-Pad for an hour.  Some days before that, as I was entering my doctor's office, a woman was leaving in sobs.  I turned to follow her into the parking lot and ask if she was okay, if she needed anything. 

She startled me with a brilliant smile.  "Oh no!  I'm just great!  I tried to get pregnant for years, and I just heard I succeeded, and everything looks good!" 
There was a time I couldn't imagine such outward displays.  I was rather a stoic kid.  With oodles of self-control, I was quiet and shy, and definitely disliked "making a scene" of any kind, so naturally weeping fell into that category.  Also, I was proud to be part Native American, and had read somewhere once that they were a particularly tough people, and I loved the idea of being "tough" too.  I did find this toughness awkward when all of my girlfriends were bawling over a movie like "Ghost" and I just could not cry if I wanted to.  So the actor is pretending to die.  Big whoop!  I liked the control of being detached from messy, noisy, tissue-requiring feelings.
But as an adult I find many uses for a cry, in private of course if it can at all be helped... but hey, if my kids see me crying sometimes (no not the wailing type, just a sniffle here and there) it proves I'm human too, right?  It helps me deal with the wonders of mood swings, to process the occasional lack of chocolate, and to cope with feeling sick or overwhelmed.   It helps me while I join in mourning forty years of abortion.  I find tears wash away the extra emotion so that my more rational side can take over, and planning can begin. 
I used to be embarrassed by the female affinity for tears, but now I can appreciate the depths of feeling we women have, and respect men who can be tender enough for tears.  Now I see tears as part of experiencing the breadth and depth of life, a purgation of excess feeling, a time of reflection, a release of pain.  I see that while self-control is a virtue, "toughness" is not.  And while I find it frustrating at times in a household of little women, I have plenty of opportunity to practice patience and understanding with kids who cry over the loss of one of a million doll clothes, weep that their favorite pillowcase is currently being washed and is unusable, mourn the bedtime hour as babies, and grieve over every cut, scratch, bruise, or bump they imagine they experience.  Lots of hugs and listening ears--I'm hoping--will teach empathy and lead to greater perspective and self-control.
Case in point: Felicity's reaction when her pretzel was not getting out of the bag fast enough:
And come to find out, while I am pondering my quasi-deep thoughts, there is actually a whole book written on my current fascination called "Crying: The Mystery of Tears."  Truly friends, there is nothing new under the sun... Yet we all want to get our two cents in, we bloggers, lol....
Anyway!  Hope you are well, and do not have any overwhelming need to cry.  Thanks to those of you who continue to encourage me to write.  I am determined to get on a twice a week schedule... One of these days, I will learn how to simply post a picture and a thought, and not these lonnnng epistles.... :)  Thanks for putting up with me, oh world wide web! - TLC
P.S.  I'm on my computer at the moment, as opposed to trying to text blog on my phone, so I can look up Scriptures more easily: I think this one is so touching and beautiful, the image of a Fatherly God who cares about all our cares...
"Thou countest my wanderings; put my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?" Psalms 56:8

No comments:

Post a Comment