I woke up this morning, on my last official day of spring break, to more cold rain and an empty Kindle battery. I was feeling lazy and wanted to enjoy my coffee, so I clicked on the TV. Surprisingly, there is a dearth of programming at 5:00 a.m. on a Friday morning. As I scrolled through my options, I found myself drawn to Super Nanny, a show where struggling parents call on a professional nanny for help and advice.
In this particular episode, a newly divorced mom was having a very difficult time with her six (!!!) children. Her face radiated pain and fear as she revealed the events of the past 18 months: divorce, the death of the family nanny and the loss of the home to foreclosure. I felt tears start to slide down my face as I watched.
I’ve never been much of a crier (well, since I outgrew my temper tantrum stage). I’m not a sucker for sappy movies nor am I drawn to “chick lit.” I’m not hormonal and I don’t have a biological clock ticking (I knew from my late teens that I didn’t want kids and I’ve never wavered in that decision).
So, why the tears? Although I could not relate to the challenges of raising six kids as a single parent (much respect!), I could relate to the series of losses that the family faced. But understanding and empathy is one thing and tears in my coffee is another.
The truth is that, since my divorce, tears come easily. I have become the person that cries from commercials or greeting cards. I am now that woman whose eyes well up when watching a family at the park or a passage in a book.
I’m sure it has something to do with my acceptance of my vulnerability and my willingness to let go of the strong facade I wear so well.
But I’m blaming the aliens.