Today was a monumental one in our family. My baby started school. He’s my youngest child and my last. This is it for me.
And having done the first day of school thing twice before, with my older children (16 and 8), I knew today would be hard.
Anyway, today is my third and final First Day Of School. The last time I will cross that daunting threshold with a little person’s precious hand in mine and my heart exploding with emotion.
And yet I didn’t cry.
I tried to cry. I wanted to cry. I was expected and expecting to cry. There were tissues helpfully dotted around the classroom and handed out by teachers.
But it never happened.
In a way, this was disappointing to me. And yet not at all surprising because I’m not a crier. The more intensely emotional the moment, the less likely I am to get teary. I didn’t cry at my wedding. Or at the birth of any of my children. Wait, I cried when my daughter was born but I think that was because the anesthetist never showed up and my screams for an epidural were futile.
It’s like I get cry-fright. My tears retract into my face and I just go a bit numb.
My Mum is a crier. My closest friends cry frequently. One of them cries with alarming ease. I saw her recently and she had obviously just been crying. “Are you OK?” I asked. “Oh yeah,” she shrugged, waving away my concern. “Just an argument with my husband, you know how it is.”
Actually, I don’t. When I argue with my husband (or anyone) I often get infuriated. Sometimes I must fight the urge to throw things or stamp my foot like a recalcitrant child. But I never ever cry when I argue with anyone.
I can only think of two occasions when I cried at work. Both times were in the bathroom (different jobs) and both times were that kind of crying born of extreme frustration and a sense of absolute injustice and impotence.
I don’t think badly of people who cry. In fact I envy them their emotional access. My crying is stuck. Locked away where I can’t reach it except on the rarest occasion. It’s not like I’m repressed because I talk about my feelings incessantly. I am intensely in touch with my emotions. Ask anyone. I express them in words and writing and in interpretive dance.
But if I had to put a number on it, I reckon I cry maybe two or three times a year at the most.
Is this normal? Am I broken?