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Meredith Leigh Knight Columnist

Published Friday, March 01, 2013

Big girls don't cry

I’ll admit it; I cry like a girl. Not that I think crying is unhealthy. In fact, I’ve tried to teach my son that it’s OK to cry. Still he’d rather cut off his foot than let anyone, especially his daddy, see tears. I guess it’s a guy thing.

Maybe if I’d been taught from an early age to suck it up, I could control my tears, too. Maybe, but I doubt it. Therein is the problem. I don’t cry at the appropriate times. I’m dried eyed at funerals, unblinking in emergency rooms and matter-of-fact after car accidents.

The tears come when I least expect them. And once the floodgate is opened, it doesn’t shut off until it’s empty, which may very well be hours later. I handled my grandmother’s battle with cancer and funeral like a rock until All Saints Day at our church. Our preacher’s sermon turned the valve, and I cried and cried and cried. Everyone stared, and still I cried.

Same with my daughter’s graduation. I remember thinking, “Do I cry now or later?” Of course, it really wasn’t up to me. The tears came when they were good and ready, which happened to be a breakfast one morning, much to my family’s bewilderment.

Certain things are known tear-triggers. For example, since the birth of my daughter 18 years ago, I’ve cried every time I heard the song “Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, and I do mean every time. When I was pregnant, I watched “The Baby Story” every day for nine months and cried as each baby was born. Those were the sweetest tears.

Once I got called into my boss’ office. He reprimanded me, or at least, I think he did. I’ll never know his true intentions because I started crying. My boss immediately apologized, took it all back, and came around the desk to give me a hug. I left with a box of Kleenex and a raise.

Okay, so, sometimes crying isn’t all bad.

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