Since getting married I’ve become more emotionally free, which is a less _______ way of saying that I cry much more quickly and easily. Then having kids made it even more so. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t spend my days choking back tears, but there’s something in the intimacy of relationship and family that loosens the ol’ tear ducts, allowing salty water rise to my eyes much more freely.
I’m never quite sure when to expect it. No, that’s not true–I usually expect it in really sappy moments, like the family episodes on Survivor; or when pets are reunited with their owners, like in Homeward Bound; or when broken relationships are restored, like in Uncle Buck (yes, Uncle Buck. What of it?); or when a crowd of thousands sings along at a concert (like Coldplay’s “Fix You”). In short: I’m a sap.
But sometimes an onslaught of tears comes unexpectedly. I am surprised and delighted by the release, but also more than a little embarrassed. It happened recently with Madeline’s first report card from her new school. There is much to commend in the report card, but two phrases in the comments sections really hit me.
She respects others and follows the classroom rules and routines. She sets a wonderful example of citizenship for the other students.
Madeline always hands in her best work.
I was the first to look at the comments in Madeline’s report card. I tried reading them to Dixie, but I couldn’t–I was choking back tears.
I’m not sure why I responded this way. It could be because the child the teacher sees is not often the child we get at home–so I might have been saddened by the “injustice” of this. It could have been because I was in the middle of a stressful week of due-dates and I often am not satisfied with the work I hand in. It might be that I was simply overcome with pride for my eldest. Those comments mean more to me than good grades.
Who knows. But I was surprised.
UPDATE: Just back from parent-teacher interview. Beaming even more. Dixie and I both almost broke down–it’s just such a relief and delight to hear positive comments from her teacher. Madeline isn’t a terrible kid at home, although she does have quite the attitude and can be very rude, so naturally we worry about her attitude in school. Apparently it’s not the same there.
The teacher also provides a different point of view. She mentioned a couple of things that Madeline does, things which at home we often think are rude. In describing these things, her teacher referred to her as “full of life”. Sometimes it’s good to see things from a different angle.