As I sat on the front porch this afternoon with my crying four-year-old, I was reminded that sometimes kids are just going to cry. She was upset first because she couldn’t watch her TV show, and then it was the thought of me trimming the nail on her never-ending finger, and then it was because the neighbor’s trampoline was wet and she needed to bounce, and then the grand finale of the sobfest erupted over her riding her scooter on the big sidewalk and not the little one.
All of these tears and issues took place over a five-minute time span. And she was genuinely sad. Oh sure, I could have told her to just “dry up” or “do I need to give you something to cry about?” or given in to her “please, please” for one of her many requests, but I didn’t. I just told her she could just sit there and cry for a few minutes, that she must need to have a good cry. I also explained to her, “Now, don’t cry too loudly because baby birds may be sleeping in the hanging plant and you wouldn’t want to wake them.” She stopped crying, joined me on the love seat, placed her head in my lap and began to stare at the hanging plant.
We pulled out pictures this past week to reminisce about my father-in-law who had passed away and to embarrass my son James in front of his girlfriend. After all, isn’t childhood photograph embarrassment in the job description of every good mother? Seriously, he was the cutest little rascal and he was a rascal. Many a day I pulled him away from the bigger kids at the neighborhood pool just as his little four-year-old-hand was accomplishing the position they were teaching him for the universal symbol for “the bird.” But I digress. This proud Momma wanted to share photos of his wide grin with just a hint of mischief in his eyes sporting his Toy Story Woody vest I made him for Halloween.
As I poured through the green photo box, I came upon a picture of tears. There sat my three little boys who are now all grown men, one who has a tear-maker of his own. They were three, one, and a few months old. Baby James was in the middle, in his car seat, face pinched so tight you can hear his scream straight through the printed picture. Philip was staring at the camera with a look of sadness with his eyes and mouth betraying that he was on his way to joining James. And there sat Matthew, just staring at both of them, contemplating what in the world was going on.
The picture made me smile and I thought to myself even then, yep, sometimes kids just cry. In 25 years as a parent, I know there have been many crying moments and days, but I really don’t remember them. It took the picture to remind me that when I had a bunch of little people the waterworks must have been plentiful, but that’s not what I remember. It also made me grateful that aside from a sniffle or two occasionally from my seven-year-old, the four-year-old is bringing up the rear and there shouldn’t be too many more years of the hysterical outbursts over what seems like nothing to me, but obviously is indeed something to her. Yes, she is my last crying Irwin, or at least the last one I can’t hand over to their mom or dad and say, “Here, I think they need you now.”
So if you are reading this today and you are knee-deep in tears and desperate drama to ride the slide one more time please from your little ones, be encouraged and take heart. It won’t be too long before it will take a picture or a session of storytelling to remember those moments.