Cry Baby

I absolutely do not do leave-taking very well. I am terribly sloppy at goodbyes, and a simple wave from the back car window can bring on a veritable shower of tears. Bill is quite used to it by now and rarely if ever asks “Is something wrong?” or “What’s the matter? Dear.” More often than not he just hums under his breath and goes on with driving, or vacuuming, or eating.
I’m afraid it’s getting worse the older I get, or perhaps more people are just saying goodbye for whatever reason. It isn’t the fact that my granddaughter left with friends to go to Disney early this Saturday morning, although I did get teary-eyed when she hugged me after a little birthday dinner in her honor in order to go home and pack.
Who am I kidding? I cried myself to sleep because I know we will never go to Disney together. Probably not. Maybe. Who knows? But I get “all worked up” as my mother used to say about my habit of turning on the faucets over the most insignificant things. Well, they certainly were not insignificant to me! When my 45 record collection got left behind in a move, I was inconsolable for weeks! When James Dean was killed, I closed the door to my room and went into mourning for months. Wouldn’t eat anything but chocolate.
When our precious young friend Andrea came to our door late Sunday evening, we were taken completely by surprise. You can imagine what an emotional shock this was since we had already said our goodbyes two days before over lunch. (The same day we were to bid my granddaughter bye). Andrea has decided to return to Indiana, her home state, and to pursue an advanced degree in order to become a PA. We are happy for her, and I had managed a very civilized leave-taking earlier, only a few sniffles and one admonition from her of “Aw, please don’t cry.”  But. I just cannot be expected to do this twice in one day, for crying out loud!
My dad was career military and his MOS (job description) meant that we had to move every year, usually just as school was out or at Christmastime. One would think that I would have become a hardened ole hickory knot, immune to having to leave my teen friends (I was right when I sobbed to my mother that “I will never see them again!” With one exception, I never did). Just because I got a lot of practice leaving people behind or being left doesn’t mean I ever became good at it. Now, I get the hankie and tissue box out before I even turn on a Hallmark movie, (even a Hallmark commercial leaves me in a puddle of tears) and the plight of the 1950’s era women in the PBS show “Call the Midwife” leaves me literally exhausted from weeping.
This has been a kind of weepy week, come to think of it. Tears are shed for more reasons than sadness, of course, and I am always ready with a good cry for whatever book I am reading at the moment. “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” kept my pillow cases damp for days, as I had such empathy for the 70 year old British Army widower (yes! he finds romance, sob) though it is obvious we have exactly nothing in common, except maybe age. “The Poet of Tolstoy Park,” a book I just finished which was recommended by one of my Lit Chicks book club friends, was a fascinating and poignant reminder of the courage some have in facing illness and death. Finally, “Bettyville,” this month’s book club read, had me dabbing at my eyes again and again as I was reminded of my own mother’s struggle by the description of the difficult time the author had watching his aging mom slip into dementia. How I ended up with three books, each reminding me of my own mortality, is a mysterious coincidence, one I really don’t plan on revisiting. I’m going to ask more questions next time. Like, “Is this one Sad??”
Then, total reversal. I have to admit that I “laughed till I cried” more than once while turning the pages of local author Kim Sullivan’s new book “Bigfoot: CSI”. Four entirely different book experiences. One predictable outcome. Tears.
The beautiful flowers Sheridan brought “just because she loves us” on the same day this week that another sweet friend Sherry dropped by with some devastating news about a mutual acquaintance we respected so much both brought me to tears. Then a phone conversation with my sweet “baby brother” who is suffering with medical issues left me with a few soggy tissues, though I tried to conceal my concern and lift his spirits by making us both laugh.
So, what makes me such a crybaby? Oh My. Number one? Photo Albums. Pictures of my babies. Grown up. Gone away. Of my babies’ babies. Grown up. Of my mom and dad when they were so young and so beautiful . . . so long ago. Gone now. Photographs of Bill and I. Vacations. Holidays. Birthdays. More birthdays. Growing older. Grown old. So here I am today. Wistful. Melancholy. A little Sad and teary-eyed.
But wait. On Sunday, a gorgeous sun arose; there were pews full of beautiful friends smiling and welcoming Bill and I into the Sharpsburg Baptist Church; the choir’s special music was so lovely it could cause Angels to cry, and our Pastor’s beautiful Easter message reminded me once again of the saving Grace awarded me and others through the death and resurrection of Christ. Beautiful. No tears. Good News. “And may you have the power to understand … how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.”  Eph 3:18. Sweet. Very sweet.

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