Tears are such a part of life. They are normal at funerals, births, weddings, and goodbyes. Most times, other people’s tears don’t have lasting effects me. I recall seeing a lady crying on the way to the ladies room at work a few weeks back. I enquired of her neighbor if she was OK as she was crying. Her neighbor responded that she was having a bad day. That was enough for me, someone was in the know and I was good with that. Not that I didn’t care about this individual, but tears have a way of draining me, emotionally.
I was reading Denise Riley’s post on Men, Boys, Balls and Giant Pink Boxes a few months back and it unleashed a waterfall of memories. Part of Denise’s post described how uncomfortable her household filled with males is around the female tear. I wrote probably 90% of this post in the first day after reading that piece. The rest has been percolating since (see, I really didn’t want to deal with the subject).
My first memories of feeling uncomfortable with tear-fall came when I was less than 5 years old. I vividly recall on several occasions my mother crying on the phone. I don’t know who she was talking to or why she was crying, but the most important thing in the world at that time was to do was to run to the bathroom and get her toilet paper so she could wipe her tears. If her tears were gone, it was OK. The response was Pavlovian: Mommy is crying, no matter what, get her toilet paper so she would stop.
Next biggest tears in my memory came when my daughter was maybe 4 years old. She tripped in a driveway during a Labor-day party and cut her lip. Huge tears and the boo boo face broke my heart. It was a powerless feeling to watch her begin to fall and even more powerless to see her realize what just happened and have the trauma materialize on her face. She put her arms out and ran to me and bled all over my grey No Fear shirt. As I write this, for the first time in 10 years, I am wearing that shirt. I love the shirt, but it still has the stain of my baby’s blood and that stain always takes me back to that moment.
The only time I ever saw my Dad cry was in Yankee Stadium. It was a chilly night in middle of May 1999 when the Angels beat Irabu and the Yankees 2-0. We walked up to the old stadium that night and were able to get seats at field level. My dad and I were just sitting there for hours in the cold watching and talking. I remember asking him about his parents and what he missed about them. He just started tearing up and his lip quivered and then quick as that, he stopped. It was a strange moment. Then a moment or two later, Mo Vaughn hit a home run that would be all the Angels would need to beat the Yankees that night.
The next strongest images of female tear-fall come from recalling breakups. Breakups in my teens and twenties usually associated with moving away. Ironically, those memories all center around cars. I can visualize perfectly each car and where they were parked as we said good-bye. I remember the song playing on the radio and the look in their eyes. I am old enough now that some of those people are no longer with us which somehow makes the tear-fall more poinient to me.
There are a few more tear memories that are a little too intimate to detail, but they too are powerful images that are burned into my heart and memory.
Your turn. What tears do you remember most clearly? Answer below please.