Friday, April 27, 2007

The Crying Game

Dutch's post about tears and children's books made me think of something that happened a few weeks ago. It was a Sunday, and we were nearing the end of a weekend-long move-the-furniture-around-and-clean-the-carpets binge. While we waited for the living room to dry so we could go over it one more time, we started fixing lunch and flipped channels. That silly Steve Martin movie Parenthood was on, and we stopped flipping to watch. We exchanged glances, because we both realized that in a few weeks, we would be part of this club, we would be parents. It was a little weird.

When it got to the end part where everyone's at the hospital waiting for a baby to be born, and there's babies and kids and moms and dads everywhere, we both got a little sentimental. I suppose we can't be blamed, there are like twenty babies or something in that final scene, all tiny and cute and being held and adored and receiving misty-eyed gazes from loving members of the Buckman clan. Anybody would be doomed. It's all so cheesy and the life-affirming-ness of it clubs you over the head like you're a baby seal. There's no escape.

I could hear Max sniffle next to me, and I felt my eyes grow warm and watery. I clenched my jaw and told myself I will not cry at this stupid movie, I will not, it's so hokey I will have to be ashamed of myself forever, but I lost the fight. There were fourteen babies too many, I could not fight the tide of parents beaming at their drooly little wonders while changing diapers on a hospital waiting-room chair. A tear slipped out and trickled down my cheek, and I wiped it away fast, before Max could see. He was sniffling and rubbing his eyes, and he reached over and hugged me tight and buried his face in my hair. I tried to fight off the waterworks I could feel building, but it was no use. Some of them got out. After Max let go, I raced into the kitchen and pretended to finish lunch. I didn't want him to see me getting all teary like, you know, a girl.

He wandered in and, between bites of carrot stick, made a comment about how it's funny that he's much more emotional and sentimental than I am, especially where this whole baby/pregnancy/parent thing is concerned. "I'm the girly one," he laughed. "I'm the weepy emotional wreck."

I just smiled and handed him his sandwich, then pretended to be fussing with my hair as I checked for stray tear-tracks on my face.

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