A Good Cry

8 Mar

On Sunday, I did something that ran counter to my motherly instincts.

I let my 15-year-old daughter with autism cry.

She’d had a rough weekend by anyone’s reckoning, waking up at 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. both Friday and Saturday nights. Paige has never been a good sleeper, but this past weekend marked a new low. I couldn’t see any obvious cause for her wakefulness. Paige didn’t seem sick. We haven’t changed her medicines. Plus, she’d had a good week at school.

Regardless, the sleepless weekend left her irritable and ravenous; like many of us, she tends to eat more when exhausted.

Sunday afternoon, I took her over to my parents’ house, which ranks high on her favorite places to go. My dad had gone shopping so it was just me, Paige and Grandma. Paige promptly retreated to their library, her favorite place in their home.

A few minutes later, Paige started crying.

In the living room, my mom hopped up, ready to rescue her. I told her to hold tight. When Paige kept sobbing, I tiptoed toward the library and peeked through the crack in the door. She wasn’t bleeding or vomiting. Just sad.

Back in the living room, I told Grandma that Paige had it under control. She just needed to cry.

Psychologists tell their patients who are battling the blues to see funny movies, have sex and cry. All three release endorphins, which naturally elevate the mood. (I know for a fact that shoe shopping does the same!) In Paige’s case, sex is off the table, and she rarely responds to celluloid humor. Crying does help, though. Case-in-point:  she slept 11 hours Sunday night.

I wished I could say the same. Awake late into the night, I kept wondering why I can’t sit down and bawl when I know I need the emotional release. I might have two or three meltdowns a year, tops. Don’t think my absence of my tears signals any sort of strength, either. I’ve come to consider my outward stoicism a crutch, one that allows me to function rather than feel.

A sad movie, though, often does the trick, especially if the male lead gets weepy. So I might just watch “The English Patient” or “Dear John” sometime again soon.

As Paige so vividly reminded me, there’s nothing like a good cry.

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3 Responses to “A Good Cry”

  1. zeke & destroy March 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    “I’ve come to consider my outward stoicism a crutch, one that allows me to function rather than feel.”
    Well said. I think I am the same way, though I didn’t know it until I read your post.
    Your daughter is lucky to have such a thoughtful mother.

  2. Lori March 8, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

    Very thoughtful mother, indeed! We ALL need a good cry once in a while!

  3. Lisa March 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    Sadly, that’s taken me a long while to learn, but I am very glad I HAVE learned it. Finally!

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