Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

The Art of (Not) Crying

This face is hilarious! (from

As a full-time mommy, full-time wife, full-time teacher, full-time Christian (although I fell off the wagon a couple of times last week), and part-time blogger, I have felt the urge to cry on more than one occasion. The problem is that I can’t. Okay, find a movie about a terminally ill mom with two or more small children or a sappy Hallmark commercial reminding us all of the beauty of grandparents, and I’ll let a few tears go, but in the midst of daily turmoil my tears never find their way to the surface. And I hate that.

Now, I don’t want to be that woman who cries every time she hears a bird chirp, but it would be nice to be able to pull out a few sobs at some pretty key moments in my life. This issue is  not new for me either. I never really was a crier. When I was a kid, my dad used to say, “You need to cry before your tear ducts dry up.” I tried, I really did, but unless I attended a funeral for  someone I really loved, I couldn’t do it. Admittedly, though, crying is much easier now that I’m a mom, but still, more often than not, if I do actually cry, it’s when the stress of whatever was bothering me is resolved.

A few weeks ago, my kids came home with construction paper faces glued to popsicle sticks. Each face was of a different emotion (although the “sick” and “scared” faces were virtually indistinguishable to me). The other day, my baby stood kind of creepily immobile at the bathroom door as I washed my face. I asked her what was wrong, and she held up the sad popsicle stick face.

“Why are you sad?”

“You are leaving me,” she said as tears rolled down her face. Let me first say that I almost quit my job in that moment, but the fact that we actually enjoy eating food gave me the reality check that I needed. Like Lucy, I had some ‘splainin’ to do, but I couldn’t help but wonder how she was able to pull those tears so effortlessly to the surface.

I’ve been on this earth for 30 years, and I don’t really think I can master  that feat in the next couple of days, so I’ll take my baby’s trick of making signs to hold up to explain how I’m feeling. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

The I’m-So-Angry-But-I-Can’t-Fix-This Cry: When the car has broken down, my husband is working an hour and a half away, my dad is out of town, I have no juice in my cell, and my purse has a grand total $1.76 in change. (from

The Sexy Cry: When I’ve done something I shouldn’t have, and I’m not wearing enough mascara to really pull off the black streams running down my face, and the one to “punish” me is a “big, powerful, hulking man” (I just threw up a little) (from

The I’m-Disappointed-But-I’ll-Be-Okay Cry: When the ice cream shop is out of the mint chocolate chip I like, or when you promised me we’d go to Red Lobster, but it’s raining too hard to go that far, so we end up at IHOP, again (from

The Feel-Sorry-For-Me Cry: When I’ve lost something or someone irreplaceable and I’m thinking about it right now (from

The Keep-Messin’-With-Me-Go-On-I-Dare-You Cry: When I’ve suppressed my stereotypical angry black womanhood pretty well up until this point, but you keep pressing those buttons sure to unleash a fortified can of whoop-a$$(from

The Get-Me-Out-Of-Here-Before-I-Poop-Myself Cry: When you’ve invited me to a dinner party, but you decide to “experiment” with that new Indian dish you’ve been dying to try, and my stomach just can’t handle it, but I don’t want to bless your bathroom with this gift, but I just might have to (from

The Fake Cry: When you want me to be sad about your issue, but I have my own issues that make yours seem like petty ramblings, but I really don’t want to be rude (from

The So-Glad-I-Made-It Cry: When the whole world was against me, my spirit was being attacked from every angle, but somehow, God saw fit to smile on me one more time, and I made it through that storm (from

Did I miss anything?

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2 thoughts on “The Art of (Not) Crying

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Children are amazing, and I love how easily they show their emotions.

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