When I was a teenager, I wasn't a real big cryer.
Ok, that's not true. I cried when my soccer or softball team lost the championship. I know I definitely cried a lot when Nomar Garciaparra got traded to the Chicago Cubs (who did we even GET in that trade, anyway?). But real things, like natural disasters and human suffering and all that? Never. Call it being conveniently (or generationally) detached.
In college, I only cried over boys. Well, maybe the occasional bad grade or unfair ruling by a teacher on the policy of retaking a poor exam. But mostly boys. Boys whose names I can no longer remember without struggling to picture their faces. Hours spent sobbing into my Red Sox pillowcase in a cinder blocked dorm room while my friends went out and I claimed to be "sick". Call it late-onset teenage angst.
In the wake of reaching my mid-20's, I've started to realize I cry all the time. Not about baseball (well, wait till October, anyway) or boys. All of a sudden I seem to be a hub of emotions, springing up at the strangest times.
Things That Make Me Cry:
1) Country Songs. Not even necessarily sad country songs. Happy ones, too. Touching ones. Songs about daddies and daughters and courageous mothers and the people we all grow up to be. Mainly, these songs prompt a tear when I am alone, driving, in my rusted pickup truck.... did I just write my own song? Sometimes a song invokes a little welling up, but there have been rare occasions where I find myself all-out bawling when I reach my destination. Brad Paisley is always good for that. And Reba! Reba, the queen of a strong sob story. I don't even need beer to cry my tears into.
2) Movies. Specifically movies that have no surprise left for me and that I have seen 865,000 times. I watched You've Got Mail last week and cried like a baby, even though I have every line memorized. The same goes for Field of Dreams, every time. Kevin Costner, standing alone on his majestic field that he created, realizing suddenly that the whole thing came about because of a secret desire to see his father again? "Hey, Dad? You wanna have a catch?" Waterworks kick off wherever I am. I cannot watch that movie with others. One, because I cry, and the second reason being because I recite every line word for word and it drives my friends to the brink of violence.
3) Other People's Suffering. I know you're supposed to feel for others, but I seem to have recently reached a whole new level. I wept openly when I read an article in our local newspaper about a deputy sheriff who, at 25, died in a violent altercation. He left behind a young son and a pregnant wife. When his wife heard the news of his passing, she immediately went into labor and gave birth to a perfect baby girl. Oh, the tears. I don't even know these people! I am sure we can all agree that it's sad, but I am NOT the kind of person who is driven to sobs by stories of strangers. What is wrong with me?
Recently, I spent a day in the Emergency Room for a flu-like illness that was persisting into it's sixth day. I ended up, as chance would have it, in the "room"(read: stall) next to a woman who works for the same company as I. She recognized my voice and started talking to me, and for the rest of the 7.5 hours that they kept me there, poking and tapping me, I had to listen to her go through the various (apparently painful) stages of prepping for gallbladder surgery. She cried several times. I cried right with her. When I was leaving, she tearfully told me they had to cut off her wedding ring. Instead of offering my sympathy and heading for the door, I burst into tears all over again. It was just so sad! Again, what is wrong with me?
The only thing I can conclude is that this is yet another part of the eventual transition into My Mom. I remember watching movies with her as a child, hearing a sniffle and glancing over with the inevitable obnoxious child question: "MOM, are you CRYING?" It was always answered with a sniff and a "no" (liar), but I could never understand what it was about that kind of stuff that moved her to tears. I guess now I can understand. Just so long as it's not early-onset menopause, I think I'll be just fine...