As any parent of child under five will no doubt tell you, there really is more than one kind of tear shed.
There are the tears that aren’t quite tears. They are eyes wide open, dramatic facial gestures; body posture says “No!” Those tears say I want, I don’t want – I’m doing this whether you like it or not. They don’t flow naturally; in fact they don’t really flow at all. They just form noise.
Lauren cries such tears when she doesn’t want to go to bed. Harry cries them when he really, really wants to go to sleep.
The other tears are wet. They are juddering, shuddering – heaving chest tears. They form a howl, a yowl – an agonising moment of uncertainty. “How can I take this feeling away?”
Those tears are real. They scream at you like no sound can. They form a single channel of emotion as they roll down the cheeks. You may wipe them away; but you can’t always stop them.
Lauren cries real tears when she is tired. She cries heavy, sobbing tears when she hurts herself. Harry has now started to cry real tears to. He cries them when he is hungry. He cries them when he has no way of telling you why he has to cry. Amy tells me he cried real tears when he had his first jabs today.
It takes everything within not to follow suit. Not to crumple and give in to emotion. His tears, Lauren’s tears; they are our tears.
As they grow older they will find other reasons, other ways to cry. They will shed tears over love, over disappointment; even when watching TV. One day, they may even cry, or at least feel like crying when they are happy. When they look in to the eyes of their own children and happiness, pure unadulterated happiness, forms a small leak in the corner of their eyes. It doesn’t last long, but it is worth it whilst it does.
Image: Tears via the Pip and Posy app