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Not long ago a Facebook Friend tagged me to write a note that was going around called “One Word.” It’s a questionnaire to help your Friends get to know you better, and all your responses need to be one word. One question asked, “When was the last time you cried?” My answer was Saturday, or two days before I wrote the note. That response is a little surprising, not because I cried that day but because I hadn’t cried the following two days.

(Photo by Christina Snyder)

(Photo by Christina Snyder)

The thing is, I cry nearly every day. I am, as my daughter likes to call me, a crybaby. While what’s going on in my life is surely cause for such emotion, the fact is that I have always been emotional. My mother likes to tell a story about how when I was 3 years old, she found me crying while watching Lassie on TV. She was in the kitchen when she heard little sniffs coming from me in the living room, and there I was with tears running down my face. I don’t remember that, but Lassie must have been in some kind of danger. However, I do remember as a child watching Born Free and sobbing at the end when Elsa is returned to the wild. Hell, I’m tearing up now just thinking about it!

As an adult, I get teary-eyed about many things — when I hear an emotional song, when I read a moving phrase in a book, when my daughter performs in her piano recital, when someone tells a heart-felt story about themselves, when a momentous event occurs, when I say goodbye to someone I will not see for a while. And yes, I still cry while watching movies and TV shows. Two movies that actually had me sobbing were Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet and Brokeback Mountain with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Both deal with loss of a loved one. I’m sure if I watched them again today I would still cry.

Relieving stress
The stress of dealing with a traumatic event can also trigger tears for me. I remember one event when my daughter was 3 years old. I was shopping with her at a farmer’s market where they had samples of apple. I gave her a piece, and the next thing I knew she was choking. She looked up at me, eyes wide, not breathing. Acting on instinct, I calmly and matter-of-factly put my finger in her throat and pulled out the piece of fruit. That fixed it. She went back to her happy self, not crying a bit, while I melted into a pool of tears. Women in the store who saw what had happened came over to console me and told me I did a good job. Read the rest of this entry »