Last night I just sat on the floor and cried. In front of my kids.
I have a memory burned into my brain. I was very young, and I came upon my mom sitting in the bathroom in the dark. I wandered in and asked, “Are you crying?” Of course, my mom being the mom that she was, denied that she was crying, quickly swept away her tears with the back of her hands, wiped her hands on her pants and stood up all in one swift movement.
I can remember each moment of that memory, and I can even slow it down to recall the sounds of her sobbing, the isolated feeling of being in the bathroom in the dark, and the curiosity I felt of why she was crying.
I didn’t feel disappointed or frightened or sad. Just curious.
I try hard not to cry in front of my kids. Because I am afraid it will disturb them or make them worry or feel pressure to “take care of” me, instead of just being themselves, carefree and oblivious. But I’m not very good at turning off my tears once they start to fall. In fact, it’s near impossible for me.
So when it hit me last night, I just crawled into the baby’s dark room and hid in the corner and cried. Inevitably, the kids came in. My oldest asked me why I was crying, and I couldn’t even stop sobbing long enough to tell him. All I could say was “I’m sorry” over and over. I was so afraid that this moment would become etched in his own memory just like mine had with my mother.
My son just kept telling me there was no reason to cry. He gave me a hug and cuddled me till I was able to calm myself down. After I stopped, I told him that sometimes it feels good to cry. That it is a gift Allah has given us in order to help us release our emotions.
I didn’t want to hide the truth from him. I wanted him to know I was crying and know that it was okay to cry, that it is not a sign of weakness and we should not be ashamed of it.