Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Signs of an Impending Reaction

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

46 comments:

  1. Oh I'm like that too!!! I turn from don't mess with me to blubbering mess in seconds.

    I'll have to try your tricks. The nose pinching might be a winner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah, give up, A. No hope for you in your 39+ wks PG vulnerable phase.

      Just ride it out, mama.
      xo

      Delete
  2. I need to do that, too. One cannot command a house of boys and be a blubbering baby.

    I miss you!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I can't stop it, so the best I can do is be prepared with tissues! I cry because I love...does that work, does that sound ok? Oh! And sometimes I do try a nose press. You know which one I don't get? The fanning of the eyes...is that supposed to dry them quickly? Please!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What IS the fanning of the eyes.

      I think it's just a nervous habit.

      xo

      Delete
  4. haha...oh my...my thought was def the pinch...and gritting the teeth....

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm the same way. I'm a hopeless sap.
    So this may be the single most useful list of tips I've seen in years. I can start using them this week in preparation for Mother's Day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All bets off on Mudder's Day.

      DON'T even try....

      Delete
  6. This was very timely... I've been finding it very hard not to tear up this week. And I'm usually really stoic! I'm going to try your tactics until this wave of self-pity hormones passes. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  7. All these things make your beautiful, wonderful, sweet heart the best thing about your. It is everything kind and giving and fierce.

    Also your sexy voice, because that is killer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joo theenk I'm sexxee.

      Bless joo, pritty ladeee..

      Besos.

      WE HAD SO MUCH FUN IN THE BATHROOM AT EBWW!!!!!!!!!!

      Delete
  8. What a gift to have people in your life that move you so much that it makes you cry. I'm a Holder-Backer of tears. And not proud of it!

    When Kathryn Bigelow won the Oscar for Best Director I was at my sister's. I was so overcome with emotion to see the first woman ever to win a Best Director Academy Award that my eyes welled up and my throat closed. But I thought if I cried my sister would say I was an idiot for crying.

    So I looked over at her AND SHE WAS CRYING! So then I did too. Now which would you rather be, my sister or me?

    Please say "my sister."

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congrats on having something good to cry about.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Cry. Cry. And cry! Feel it! Tell anyone who asks that they are happy tears. Love tears. I know those tears and it has taken awhile for me to just them fall where they may.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I pinch, too. Or look up. When someone else is crying? Forget about it - I'm undone.
    I love your heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and me: meant to be.

      I love you, H.

      Delete
  12. Awwww, you are too sweet! When the tears are happy? I let them go....

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've quit trying, I just cry. It hurts to try to hold it in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I KNOW. The lump of not letting it go hurts almost as much.

      We can't win, we of the fragile hearts.

      xo

      Delete
  14. : ) I've no kids (yet), but watching Christmas Carol lil' ones singing for our office every year sets me shaking uncontrollably trying hard to hold tears back - what a ninni!

    What will become of me if I ever have kids??!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my gosh - I loved this post and I love you. (sob)

    The thing that gets me is telling an emotional story, even one from a movie or book, and I can't get all the words out without breaking down. How I hate that - I want to be all stoic but I am a big soft mushy.

    However, I must say that I can be cut steel too when life demands it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? I need to command a ship of all males here, I can't be reduced to a puddling mess on the floor.

      xo

      Delete
  16. I don't cry often, but when I do it does seem to be in public where I don't want draw attention.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've gotten to where I might cry if they give me a hug or sometimes just looking at them sets me off. I just go for it. This usually earns me another hug. And then....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MOPG: It's gotten to the point that just hearing them practice their piano scales sends me down the river of torrents.

      xo

      Delete
  18. I usually hold my breath or take tiny sips of air through my nose. Nothing like threatening self induced asphyxiation. Now that I think of it, I don't believe there is a time my children have seen me cry. They've seen me get misty but they haven't seen tears fall. Hm. Maybe I've held my breath TOO much.

    ReplyDelete
  19. You're still my superhero.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who is this??

      You must come forth, no fair leaving a comment like that.

      xo

      Delete
  20. Ugh- I know. I just balled my eyes out after my three year old got his first buzz cut. He looks like a boy - not a baby. I was all puffy eyed and had to wipe my nose on my cape.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OH MY GOSH I know just what you're talking about.

      I remember with mine/I couldn't believe it.

      My baby was a little boy.

      Oh...no...here it comes...

      pinch the nose, pinch the nose, fan the tears, fan the tears...

      Delete
  21. I just think of something ridiculous or ridiculously funny and then breathe. Concentrating on one of the funnier scenes from Wedding Crashers does a pretty good job.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh, I know that feeling so well. And I must say I use some similar methods to try to prevent the big cry. The kids also don't always understand a I'm-just-happy-and-love-you cry, so it's easier not to do it. But sometimes I can't prevent it. Sometimes I know not to bother trying to avoid it - next up, elementary school graduation. My girl has already asked me if I'm planning to cry. I said yes.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh man. Reading about your husband saying that about you makes me a little verklempt and I don't even know you two!

    I always joke with people, "Don't be nice to be or else I'll cry."

    ReplyDelete
  24. I cry all the time. Happy, sad, whatever. It's just who I am. I feel deeply. Your kid's card made me weepy!!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. love the card. and i love your tactics:) you are so human, magnificently human. and you have so much strength.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ed, I'm so lucky to know you.

      Thank you.

      Delete
  26. We have an unstoppable weapon around here: my youngest kid. She is quite sentimental and will spend hours and days and weeks making photo albums and cards for the people she loves. For my bday she made me a "Things We Love Most About Nancy" book and called my relatives and friends, then illustrated their answers. (And heavily redacted the answer given by her older teenage sister.) I was a puddle on the floor. WIll keep your list with me for next time, but I'm not holding my breath.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh Honey, the card... your husband's words - they are worthy of such heartfelt reaction. The tears... the ones borne of the purest joy and pride in loved ones - they are worth it. Earned. I think of it in cat terms (as you well know I adore all things feline): You know she is loved when she purrs. The silence can so easily make one second guess one's own effectiveness or influence. How we affect one another - when it's in a beautiful way, it should be celebrated (and yes, often playfully heckled). You are extraordinary and wonderful and by the sounds of things, you are surrounded by much of the same! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  29. yes yes the tickle nose! Its always the first sign for me. Sometimes if something makes me want to cry I'll text or email my husband "tickle nose" and he instantly knows something is wrong.

    Also, your husband's words are heart melting.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Aw...I say, don't try to be the stoic hero in these moments of love. Gush, cry, sob...love is your kryptonite, Super Woman! The one thing worth being overpowered by :-)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I cry all the time.

    Anything can set me off.

    I haven't developed any aversion tactics as yet, that burning lump in my throat hurts more than the humiliation of just letting the tears flow....

    Yesterday, I cried in my car after noticing an old man slowly walking along the pavement, stooped and grey and alone.

    Oh dear, here come the tears again...

    ReplyDelete
  32. I am often the person sobbing off to the side. Or the one that the cold hearted person in the room is saying "ooohhh get over it!" to. But, I prefer to have a full heart and lots of great memories than to be a hard shell of a person.

    ReplyDelete
  33. You know what?

    I can't tell a story to my mother these days without crying. And they're mostly happy stories. Almost always.

    About the kids; about my own dreams; this beautiful life.

    I cry. It's the strangest thing. And also wonderful.

    I hope someday my daughter has so much joy that tears spill out when she speaks to me.

    I hope.

    ReplyDelete

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