What’s the first thing you do when you feel like you’re going to cry in front of your kids? You leave the room, right? What’s the first thing you do when your kid gets hurt? Pick them up and say, “Now, now. It’s ok. I’m here. Don’t cry.” We spend a lot of time trying to avoid tears from our kids and a lot of time hiding our own. And maybe we shouldn’t.
I’ve been on an emotional seesaw the last couple of months, teetering between sad and overwhelming, abysmal darkness. I’ve held it together as best I could and in the moments I thought I wouldn’t be able to hold it together, I’ve run off to the bathroom, locked the door, and turned on the shower so no one could hear me sob under the running water. Ok, that’s a little dramatic but not far from the truth.
I’ve hidden my sadness because I don’t want to scare my kids. I don’t want them to feel confused or unsure and I don’t want them to feel the pressure of sadness that I feel, moving away from this place our family was born. I want them to be confident in this change and to see this move for what I really believe it is: a new adventure for our family to share. But at this moment, if I’m honest, it isn’t that for me. In the future – in a few weeks from now – it will absolutely be that but not right now. Right now, it is messy and sad and deeply painful.
And maybe they should know that – maybe they should see it – so that they could let go and feel all the things too. Because while we want to protect our kids from sadness and tears, the other side of the coin is showing them not to fear those things either.
I’m not, like, gonna plan a cry or anything (it’s 3:22 pm and I’ve penciled in a howling cry to show you it’s ok). And I don’t intend on breaking down into a slimy ball of droopiness or a grief-stricken sniffling, boogery mess whose kids have to pick her up and console but I have accepted that my kids seeing me cry over the ending of this era is not a terrible thing. We all mourn and mourning this time in our lives speaks volume to what this country and the people we’ve met here have meant to us.
So to my kids I say this:
Mami is crying. Yes, because I’m sad, but mostly for gratitude of having known something this special and having been able to be a part of it. This country gave me a community I needed at an important time in my life. It gave me a place to be myself and a place to create. It gave me my writing dream, magazine-type vacations, and more fun than might be legal. This country gave us a nanny that has loved you like family from the day you were born and first friends and best friends. And, of course, it gave me us. It gave me the first few months of marriage to your dad, the patience and help of being a mom for the first time, and the memories of being pregnant a second time. It gave me you. It gave me us.
Damn straight, I’m gonna mourn this place. Absolutely, I’m going to cry and it’s ok for you to do the same. Mourn this place and remember it and love it with your whole heart and then let it go and know that it’ll be with us wherever we go because this country is forevermore a part of our fabric. It is the ground our family grew from, the place our vine began.
We live a gypsy life. A love-filled, courage-needed, drinking the whole bottle, gypsy kind of life. Tears are unavoidable. They are also welcomed.
Now excuse me, while I go die in my sad tears, (#kidding)
Arrested Development gif via Giphy