I don't think my kids have ever seen me cry. I don't cry a lot and I don't like to cry, so...I hide my tears. Good or bad? Feel free to debate. But the answer is not likely to change my habit!
But they saw me tear up today. They saw the tell-tale chin quiver.
"Mommy, what's the matter?"
I had to compose myself. I looked up at them, tears still obviously hanging in my eyes, threatening to fall at any moment.
"My book is at a really sad part!"
Let me tell you about the hours leading up to this, if I may...
I woke up way too early, after having some disturbing dreams, I think...not that I can remember them. And then the boys woke up way too early, each choosing their own moment way too soon after 5 AM. I tried to pull myself out of my unhappy mood...I breakfasted well, had coffee, showered, dressed, played a bunch, took the kids on random Sunday morning errands (and made a scene at Trader Joe's with them dancing in the aisles like crazy kids). But still...I was just in a poopy, crabby mood.
After Kiefer screamed his way down to a nap at lunchtime, I told the big kids that I needed twenty minutes of quiet reading to help get me happy again. Lorelei pulled out a Ladybug magazine and Ben grabbed a book of Shel Silverstein. Guidry snored between us.
Only it wasn't as peaceful as it sounds. It would have been had there been a "mute" button on the room. But here was the constant chatter dripping from Ben's tired mouth:
"How many minutes left, Mommy? What are you reading? I want Guidry to move. How many minutes left, Mommy? I have a question for you. Mommy. Just one question. Mommy? What are you reading about? Lorelei, what are you reading? What is in the magazine? How many minutes left, Mommy? How many minutes left, Mommy? What are you reading? I want Guidry to move. How many minutes left, Mommy? I have a question for you. Mommy. Just one question. Mommy? What are you reading about? Lorelei, what are you reading? What is in the magazine? How many minutes left, Mommy?"
Yup, your assumption is right: my twenty minutes of reading wasn't as restorative as I had planned.
And, to make matters worse, I am at the end of Undaunted Courage and have been trying to finish it for the past week. It's exceptional and moving and interesting and inspiring, and I really love it. But I'm at the very end, and my pal Lewis isn't doing well. And I really like him, so it's sad for me to see how quickly he's fallen from being a beloved leader to a staggering old man. At his end, he and is alone and sad, numbing himself from reality with drink. And he doesn't even get his wonderful journals published.
But I didn't know that he committed suicide! I couldn't help but cry. It was so sad. My heart breaks for him.
The silver lining in this story involves reading. While I sat there reading, Ben finally calmed down a little and said, "I want to read like you, Mommy." And now they are at memory age, and they'll remember me becoming so involved with a book, so attached to a character, so emotionally caught up with the story that I cried while reading it.
Those tears are worth it, I think.