There has been a lot of crying around here lately. I’ve been having health issues for the last six weeks and sometimes the pain is so intense that my eyes will tear up and I don’t even realize it. Natalie has been dropping things. A soda into her father’s favorite slippers, a full orange juice container in the back of my newly detailed car, and a nightly tipping over of whatever beverage she has for dinner. She gets so frustrated when it happens that she cries.
The other night, I heard loud cries coming from the living room and rushed from my bed to see what had happened. As I approached, David said, “You don’t want to go in there.” But I never listen. Fearing the worst, I looked around the corner and saw Natalie on the floor in tears, the table in front of her covered in red liquid. My first thought was that she’d struck her mouth on the glass table and that blood was everywhere. On closer examination, the “blood” was fruit punch and Natalie had had yet another spill, this time on the living room carpet, which prompted her crying fit. She was terrified I’d be upset that she had spilled again and ruined the rug. Actually, finding out that it was only fruit punch instead of blood, I was so relieved that I didn’t care about the rug. I was just glad she wasn’t hurt. It didn’t matter. She cried uncontrollably for ten minutes.
As I was calming Natalie down, Nicole came into the room and curled up on the bed next to me and she started crying. She’d been fine earlier and I couldn’t imagine what had sparked this emotional downpour. Natalie was still whimpering in my lap, and now this! In between crying jags, Nicole told me that she’d been thinking about fifth grade graduation and realized how much she was going to miss her friends. She said she didn’t want to grow up, go to middle school and that she wanted to stay in elementary school the rest of her life. I tried to comfort her and assure her that she would see many of her current friends in her new school. I reminded her how often she had talked about and made plans for middle school and how much she would enjoy it when she actually got there. (I should have seen this coming because she’s been listening to some song called, “Never Grow Up” endlessly for the last week or so.)
But the tears continued. So the three of us sat on the bed and had a good cry – Nicole, longing to never grow up, Natalie wishing she were more grown and not always spilling things like a little kid, and me wishing that my body weren’t growing older and betraying me in ways I never imagined. Sometimes you need a good cry and sometimes it’s just hormones. The trick is knowing the difference.