More as an adult.
At inappropriate times and without an end in sight.
As a child, my mother said once that she couldn't attend my soccer games because they made her cry. As a 12-year-old tomboy, I thought it was a screwy excuse. I thought it was an odd way of getting out of having to watch poorly coordinated preteens flopping around on a soccer field under the sun.
But now I get it.
In college, I remember standing at a bus stop and falling into tears when a fire truck screamed by, lights blazing and siren blaring. My only thought: Someone is hurt. It was raw and embarrassing, standing in broad daylight with tears streaming down my face over what might, ultimately, have amounted to a cat stuck in a tree.
Since then, I've had similar moments. If I see PETA footage on the evening news, I break into tears. I tear up almost every morning while watching Good Morning America--whether the story is happy or sad. I welled up once in my car, listening to the live version of Indigo Girls singing "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," a song I've heard and sung aloud infinite times before. And then there was the time I held my friend's four-year-old son at Fred Penner's "Happy Feet" show. The boy was happy and laughing and clapping. I was holding him on my lap, crying, enjoying his pure happiness. Over happy feet. I know. Someone get that girl a drink.
A friend of mine became engaged last year. Like a baby, I cried when I read her e-mail announcing the news--cried with joy--just true, undeniable happiness. Not envy, not sadness. I was just happy that she was happy. More recently, at her wedding, I pulled a Tammy Faye, crying during the ceremony and letting out an audible sob when there was mention of those who had passed and couldn't be there as well as the generations to come. Ugh. Then there were the speeches during the reception . . .
And now there are the photos that are starting to circulate from the wedding. Beautiful pictures. My friend, so genuinely happy, surrounded by family and friends. I scrolled through the photos on Facebook tonight and felt my eyes watering again.
It begins to make sense, why I keep a small circle. Not purely because I'd be dehydrated if I cared so much about more people. But because I truly care about those I let in. It is much easier to keep people at a distance and not care too much. Hell, I've had long-term relationships with people over whom I barely shed a tear. And then I've also had relationships with people over whom I've shed too many. Dangerous business, affairs of the heart.
So what I've learned is that I can't have children, love my partner, watch TV, take the bus, or become a firefighter. All of those pose aqueous dangers. But rather than limit myself, I guess it will be easier to just stock up on tissues.