Our yard is so large, we share our fence with 6 other lots. One of these belongs to a young family who also attend Cathedral. They heard directly from the horse’s (the would be Max,) mouth over the fence that we had had a little girl and they stopped by recently with a gift. It happened to be on a day that Jac and I were napping downstairs while the kiddos slept upstairs. However, when the family brought the gift over, the kids met them at the door, announcing we were asleep. When I found out later, I was mortified. Because of this, Jac chose to wait a few days to tell me that he had seen the mom at the grocery store and she inquired about my condition.
“I asked Max how he liked having another sister around.” she explained. “He said ‘She cries alot. And my mom cries all the time and is tired.’ Do you guys have enough help?”
I found some consolation in the fact she was concerend enough to offer help, but it didn’t take away the sting of embarrassment completely. Again with Max and the Too Much Information!
The truth is, the first two weeks were so very difficult. I was over the moon about Ellie and so happy to have Mama Syd and Papa Chris around. Physically I felt better than I had in months. People cooked me dinner! But emotionally I was a wreck.
It didn’t seem like I cried all that much, but I’m sure to my kids that one tear from their mama is one tear too many. I remember as a child that empty feeling in my stomach I would get when my mom would cry – even if it was just during a movie and I knew all was well. There was something unsettling about watching the pillar of my world be shaken.
At any rate, with the help of friends and doctors, all was set right once more.
However, come Monday I was ready to let loose the waterworks.
Jac and I weren’t communicating very clearly. Philip refused to stay at Summer Saint school and he came home in tears with a very frustrated dad in tow. Chelsey was sick – so sick she slept until noon – and we were worried about her. As I changed an inconsolable Ellie’s diaper and listened to Philip and Tess howling in harmony, I fought to keep from having myself a good cry. In that moment I felt the embarrassment of Philip ptching a fit in front of most everyone we know and I assumed they were all casting judgement upon his mother for homeschooling him and keeping him too sheltered. I felt like a failure as a wife for not being able to just plainly say to my husband what I was thinking and needing. I kicked myself for keeping Chelsey up past midnight for too many nights in a row. I wondered where I went wrong with Tess; she’s been screaming and slamming doors like a teenager as of late. And I was heartbroken that I couldn’t make Ellie feel any better. I was ashamed of it all.
So I did what I always do on the brink of colapse and I called mom. MY mom. The woman who cried through every Disney movie we ever watched is unmoving in the face of my catastrophes. As usual, she poured out compassion and advice and this time, instead of crying on the phone, I was able to laugh.
And after the call I squeezed my girls, was enthusiastic when I picked up Max, kissed my beloved and set Philip’s world aright again. Chelsey woke up feeling better and the day went on beautifully.
But I carried with me the reminder that there is no shame in crying.