You feel a tickle start at the end of your nose, a burning to the eyes and your mascara begins to sting, you find yourself pressing your lips together to steady the quivering.
All signs of an overwhelming rush of emotion that can open a floodgate of tears that is unstoppable and hits at 85 mph. We couldn't plan a reaction like this and if we could we'd be the highest paying acting coaches in Hollywood.
Could be that your little angel has just given you an "early Mudder's Day card, mama" like this:
or you overhear your husband talking to someone at a party, saying, "yeah, I knew I wanted to marry her after two weeks but I didn't want to scare her away."
These serendipitous moments of life that leave us feeling unworthy can come at us like a lightning bolt and at some very inopportune times.
I have a heart made of glass. And not the tempered kind, either. Despite life, my heart has remained a shatter in an instant cross to bear.
I am proud of the fact that I am a strong woman, supporting myself since age seventeen and paying my way through college. I handle life's curve balls; not with grace, but with determination to do what it takes. Yeah, it's usually with kicking and screaming, but I do what I have to do. That's how I see myself, that's how my kids describe me, that's how my husband counts on me to be.
I am their superhero.
But how can I be Trinity or Ripley or Beatrix Kiddo when I become a blubbering fool at the first sign of love from the ones closest and dearest to me?
After seventeen years of being a mother and finally figuring out the warning signs of the Hoover Dam about to burst, I have found a way to circumvent the oncoming episode of uncontrollable gasping and heaving when in the sight of adoration.
With the goal of maintaining my six foot four larger than life superhero status in my family's eyes, I've come up with a plan of attack when the love dagger threatens to pierce this liable heart:
-SKIN: I pinch my skin. Hard. The pain is usually enough to distract me and take me out of the heart rendering poignancy of the moment.
-NOSE: As soon as I feel the zing to my nose that tells me the tears aren't far behind, I squeeze the end of it, painfully, between my thumb and forefinger. Ouch. What were we going to cry about now? Can't remember, thinking too much about how tender the tip of my nose is.
-MOUTH: Pressing my lips so tightly together that my face could pass for one of those dehydrated apple old lady dolls I made in fifth grade girl scouts.
-THROAT: Obnoxious, yes. But all is fair in the arena of looking able and in control. Constant throat clearing to the point of embarrassment will keep you from doing the ugly cry, you'll be too busy chatting with all the faces turning around and offering you a Luden's.
-CHEST: Take deep, shoulder lifting breaths. Hold. Tears abated while you assure those around you that no, this isn't an asthma attack, and yes, you do have an inhaler with you should you need it.
-BIG TOE: I step on my big toe, the one on the left foot that has the ingrown toenail. I apologize for the TMI, but the trade-off is this, I see stars but at least my kids don't see tears.
-HEART: err, this one. Do what you got to do to NOT focus on this one. The central processing unit of it all. One thought of what you're feeling right here, right now, and you can throw all the tricks above out the window.
Yes, I've tried all of these quick to the rescue hysteria saving tips; sometimes they work, more often than not they don't. My children have seen me as the little lady sobbing in the last row during their school plays more than they've seen me as the six foot four glamazon able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
And that makes me the world's first five foot five and under superhero.
Image via Photopin cc