When She Cries

The evolution of my child's cries has been a strange thing. As a newborn, it was short bursts of staccato cries. As she gained lung capacity, her cry noises became more like air raid sirens. Stretched out wails that intensified as the scream continued.

Now, as a toddler, we get the type of cry that begins as just a red face and open mouth, but no sound initially comes out. When it does, it sounds like a pterodactyl shriek.

My three-year-old cries for a variety of reasons. Some justified (like when she falls on the sidewalk and scrapes her knee, or when she is so tired she can't remember why she is crying in the first place.) Other events do not warrant a sob-fest, but are treated with one anyway (like when we dress her in the wrong color of sweatpants, or ask her to please not eat the glue stick.)

While the crying can sometimes be exhausting, the bright side of all the tears shone on me the other day.

I was having an exceptionally bad day and was fighting tears of my own. I sat on the couch with my head in my hands, and felt ten tiny fingers suddenly take hold of my cheeks.

"Mommy, it's ok. Shhh..."

CeCe kissed my forehead, pulled me to rest on her shoulder, and started singing "You Are My Sunshine." My child knew compassion and she knew how to comfort. My tears flowed harder after that, but for much happier reasons.

The sobs of a toddler can often be frustrating. But it can also be the best learning opportunity. I'm trying to view each tear she sheds as the chance to teach her how to empathize, and for her to see that it's okay to be vulnerable. Because we will always be here to sing away the tears for each other.

Occasional tears are worth it for a smile like this.