Crying Debt

As a child, I went out of my way to hide my tears.  I hated (still do to some extent) crying in front of other people, including my parents.

My son does not feel this way about crying.  Crying for him, up until now, has been just another way of talking, an expression, a necessity, an activity that flows into and out of other activities.

I have marvelled at his openness.

The other day he fell on a patch of ice in the school yard and bumped his head.

When I saw him at the end of the day, I asked about it.

"I fell. It hurt."

Were you upset? (i.e. did you cry?)

"No, I wanted to, but someone said I shouldn't because then I would be a crybaby."

Something inside me sunk a little.

I have heard many men say that the last time they cried was when they were 7.

The last time I cried was earlier this morning when I was watching Last Tango in Halifax (great show!)

As reluctant as I was to cry in front of others as a child, now I participate in what I like to call "maintenance crying". Every once in a while, I cry, like I sweat, to let out a little excess frustration, feelings, whatever.

My son continued..."when we get home, can I cry then?  I DID fall, I think I do need to cry."

I realized that maybe my son was being pressured to shut off the pathway to maintenance crying and
was about to accumulate a crying debt.

In his question, I heard a hint of alarm.

Are all these times I am not permitted to cry going to add up?
I am owed a cry, don't you think?


  1. Blake McDonald1/25/2015 4:18 pm

    Nothing better than a good cry. I, unlike my sister, cried in the open a lot as a kid. It often resulted in me being picked on. As hard as it was to be picked on for crying or a wide array of other things when I was a kid, I strongly endorse a good cry. When I don't cry for a long time I start to worry.

  2. I still see nine year olds crying on the basketball courts these days, but not so much the ten and eleven year olds. I have to say, I watch my nine year old for his unwillingness - I think as much to guard myself as him mother, as to guard against his toughening... a hard thing in this society, to watch ... to mother through...


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