The crying in this house is ridiculous. If they did a reality show on our family, the title would most likely be “Cry Me a River”. On top of it, rarely is this crying warranted. No one’s dead, you’re not that hurt, and, yes, someday the laundry will be done … actually, that’s me – and that shit will never be done and therefore tears are completely warranted.
But the other night, I heard crying that literally ripped my heart in two. I was laying in bed at about 9pm and I heard something that sounded like whimpering. I waited. (whimpering usually leads to “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!”)
I listened closer. I do not DARE enter a child’s bedroom after they’ve been put to bed unless there’s a raging fire or an apocalypse. Those suckers get you back in their rooms and there’s no leaving!
Now I’m hearing legitimate crying, but it’s not loud – it’s kind of soft. And there’s no crying out for Mom or Dad. WTF?! My brain goes into EMOTIONAL TRAUMA ALERT mode. What’s happening?!
I jump out of bed and stand in the hallway in a crouched position, ready to dart at the next whimper, trying to figure out which kid needs a quick therapy session. No child in this house will EVER be able to cry by him or herself over some sort of emotional issue … I WILL NOT ALLOW IT!! That BA in Psych will be used if it kills me!!
It’s the youngest. I leap into his room (I may or may not have put on a cape) and see him curled up on his bed with the book The One and Only Ivan. They are reading this book in school and, like his mother, he MUST know what happens … so, of course, we bought the book and he’s reading ahead.
There he is, tears in his eyes, glued to the book. I sit on the bed and ask him what’s wrong.
Guy: It’s Ivan. He’s leaving. (hiccup, gasp, tears) He’s leaving all his friends.
Me: Oh, honey.
Guy: I want him to at least bring the dog … why can’t he bring the dog?!
His little face scrunches up and he starts sobbing.
Holy SHIT. I am torn to pieces. I lay down and hold him so tight I think I might be suffocating him. There’s this combination of feeling – like you want to take the pain away so badly, but also REJOICE!, your son has feelings and therefore, most likely, will not turn into a serial killer. Weight lifted.
I laid with him for awhile and he asked me to tell him stories so he could distract himself. OF COURSE!! Mommy will make it all better. I’M STILL NEEDED AND WANTED!!! (Can anyone say ‘issues’?)
After about 20 minutes I start to wonder though. While I think the initial crying was legitimate, I am now thinking this thing is morphing into manipulation.
Guy: One more story, Mommy!
Me: It’s time for me to go to bed, honey.
Guy: (face starting to scrunch up) It’s just Ivan …
The emotional savior mom is slowly disappearing and I’m fighting the urge to say “Cut me a fucking break. I’ve been laying here for a half hour, kid. You’re over it”.
By the time I extract myself from the room – he has attached himself to my body like a leech – he is balling again. But not about Ivan – about how I’m the meanest mom ever.
No good deed goes unpunished.
I slowly fold my cape and put it away.
Or maybe I burned it and there’s currently a raging inferno in my backyard.
Kids are great.