‘Mommy, do you cry?’: The danger of hiding the truth


I spent more than an hour getting my kids all dolled up and ready for our annual bluebonnet photos. We drove out to our loyal wildflower spot but instead of a field full of beautiful purple flowers, it was tall grass and a sporadic patch of blue flowers.

I wanted to cry. My frustration boiled over and I spent the next hour barking orders at my kids to sit, stand, cuddle, jump, and for heaven’s sake look like they were having fun. But how could they? I was making it anything but fun.

As I scrolled through the photos I took I was disappointed all over again. The vibrant blue background just wasn’t there like it had been in the past. I came too late in the year. I was out of town when they were in full bloom and I missed it.

“I’ll just photoshop it” I thought. If it’s that important to me, I could plop in some flowers from a previous year. Make it look better than it really was.

But then I thought, maybe there’s a lesson in this. I wasn’t sure what yet. The early bird gets the worm? Cherish the moment before it’s gone? Or maybe a lesson in honesty?

Yesterday, I had just ended a bluetooth phone call with my husband when my 11-year-old sister took a sigh of relief.

“He seems so nice,” she said sarcastically.

“He is really nice,” I retorted. “Just doesn’t always sound like it on the phone.”

“Well he seems scary,” she said. “Why did you choose him again?”

“Because he’s really funny, he’s nice, he cheers me up when I’m sad…”

“Mommy, do you ever cry?” My daughter piped in from the back seat. The three of us were driving home from the hospital. I did a quick check in the rearview mirror to see if I had dried tear stains on my face.

“Yes, baby, I cry,” I told her. “Daddy cheers me up when I’m crying.”

“But I’ve never seen you cry,” she continued. “When do you cry?”

I’d been crying a lot lately. But I didn’t want her to know. I don’t know why that is. Motherly instincts? Pride?

The truth

Earlier this year my mom and I were talking about how we’d celebrate her 50th birthday this year. She wants to take an international trip, and she asked me to help her come up with 50 things to do in her 50th year.

Now we’re about a month out from her birthday and our girl chats in her chic office have been moved to her stuffy hospital room.

It’s a long, complicated story and not one I’m going to delve into, but this whole situation has knocked me off my feet.

My mom has been in the hospital before. But 10 days and counting with no definite foreseeable release time. My little sister has stayed with us for an extended period before. But not because of our mom’s health. I’ve cried about my mom before but that was more than a decade ago, when I was angry or frustrated, not because I was worried about her.

My 20-year-old sister just went back to school and she was sort of like the glue holding everything together. We could hand tasks off to each other and sort of tag-team, but now that she’s gone it feels like so much is falling apart. Like I’m falling apart.

I remember when I first got pregnant with my daughter, I had this intense feeling of my life never being the same again. Everything was changing. This was HUGE. And yet… The world kept spinning. After sharing the exciting news with my husband I went to work, and had a day just like any other day. Except everything felt different to me on the inside.

Keeping it together

Despite the heartache I’m feeling the world continues to spin. I still have deadlines to meet, a little sister to comfort, homeschool to teach, children to feed and hide my tears from.

If they see me crying they’ll worry and feel bad, and that’s the last thing I want on top of all of this.

I don’t like talking about all of this because I don’t like to complain. People deal with their children getting sick and going to the hospital–A torment I can’t even begin to imagine. So many of my friends have lost a parent.–A grief I hope I don’t have to experience for a very very long time.

We all have problems. I know I don’t need to put mine on a scale opposite of someone else’s’ to see if it’s more or less worth grieving. It’s hard right now but I’m going to be ok.

That “scary” man that is my husband is my rock. It’s times like these that I fall to my knees and thank the Lord for finding me a husband so unbelievably caring, nurturing, and willing to duke it out for me.

My mom is going to be fine. I’m not saying that to sound like I’m convincing myself. She really is. We’ve been on a roller coaster ride but we’ll be getting off soon enough. And we’ll have plenty of time to work on her 50 at 50 list.

Things are rough right now, but the world still spins.

I guess I’ve written all this to say, my life isn’t perfect. In case I’ve ever given that false impression. I don’t feel obligated to share every detail of my life on my blog, but I want to keep it real too. I think there is danger in hiding all of the bad stuff. After all, that’s the stuff that helps us appreciate all of the good.

Oh, and here’s the real photo of that crappy bluebonnet field. I guess it taught me a lesson after all.

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  1. Thanks for sharing the nitty gritty. Life gets heavy sometimes and each of our realities looks different but that doesn’t make any easier for the one experiencing it. Thanks for the reminder and prayers to you and your family!

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