One day, several months ago, before Davis was born, it may even have been before I was pregnant, Aunt Carol and I were having a discussion about how often she cries. She noted that I rarely cried. I then asked my friend Kathleen about the topic and discovered that she cries at least once a week…at movies, at songs on the radio, when she is just thinking about something…anything is game to get the river flowing. I realized that I maybe cried once a month at best. It’s not that I didn’t feel like crying sometimes, I just really didn’t follow through. Crying takes a lot out of you. But, even if there were times when I wanted to cry, they definitely weren’t as frequent as once a week, not even once every two weeks.
Before Davis was born, everyone who had bore a child kept saying, “Everything will change.” I understood, schedules would have to change, sleeping times would have to change, the way we went on vacation would have to change, spontaneous “Let’s go there” would have to change. I got it – all the external things we were used to would have to change. Well, once again, I didn’t “get it.” I didn’t get how having a baby would change you at the very core of your being. I didn’t get how having a child of my own would make me look at the whole world through different eyes – tear-clouded eyes.
It seems like now, everything is potential cry-making material. It starts from the moment I get out of bed. In the shower, sometimes I think about my mom and wish she could have been here to meet Davis and watch him grow, how he is missing out on having her hold him and make things for him. Then, the commute to work affords me time to listen to the radio and pray. When I am praying for Davis to be well and happy and blessed, I want to cry. When songs like, “He Was Walking her Home” come on the radio, I feel like sobbing. I am considering putting on my mascara once I arrive in the parking lot at school instead of before leaving home. At school, I am reading a book with my fifth graders about the Holocaust. I have read this book for the past two years and it has never emotionally impacted me the way it has this year. It breaks my heart to see a mother have to watch her child struggle to survive through such a horrifying experience. Sometimes my students at school do or say things that make my heart melt. On Friday, my students wrote nominations for the Crystal Apple Award. One student wrote about how I was the only teacher who had ever attended one of her basketball games. It was all I could do to hold it together. If, on the rare occassion, I get to watch Oprah and she is featuring children from other countries who are so less fortunate than we are, I go ahead and get the tissues ready. I have become so sensitive that when Marion’s pregnant belly started to become apparent, I got all teary-eyed. When I see my dad holding Davis and looking at him with such proud Grandpa eyes and see Davis smile and look a whole lot like his Papa, I just about lose it. Sometimes, I even want to cry when I just look at Tracy and realize how fortunate I am to have a husband who loves me and loves his son so much that he sacrifices what he wants in order to make sure we are happy. I realize that not every woman is so blessed. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
I never would have believed it if my other mommy friends had told me that having a baby would affect me in such an emotional way. It seems that when you have a baby, God decides to open up this part of you that was never there before, almost like a present that he saves until you have a child. So, what used to be once a month is now usually at least once a day. What used to be a tiring, dreaded experience is now almost cleansing and refreshing…another unexpected blessing of being a mom.