Friday, January 6, 2012

Water works

I used to be an easy cryer.

When I was a teenager, the slightest little blip in my boyfriend status brought floods of tears. In fact, high school was so miserable, I think I cried my way through it and don't for the life of me know how any academic work was accomplished.

College was a little easier, but a major crisis in my junior and senior years turned on the spigot again. I cried... a lot!

But then it seemed crying didn't fit into the crises that followed. Financial problems, a failed marriage, the loss of the business I'd loved and nourished for 21 years... none of that brought a lot of weeping. I saved that for people, like my mother, although I don't remember doing a lot of crying when she died... I was too numb, and encouraged not to show my emotions lest they embarrass my then-husband.

I can still well up just thinking of the loss of my dear friend Marie. My emotional attachment to her was akin to that of a sister/sister, sometimes mother/daughter or daughter/mother (depending on who needed whom the most at any given moment). I guess the easy release of tears whenever I think of her should clue me in to the fact that I never got over her death and the sadness is just an eye-blink away.

When my younger daughter was diagnosed with a pre-cancerous thyroid, I cried. When my grandchildren were born, I cried, but those were tears of pure joy.

But every now and then, just for emotional release, something cathartic to purge the pent-up sadness that lurks just below the surface, the tears come uninvited. My darling little cat hates it when I do that. She will hiss to show her displeasure. This, after all, isn't the Mommy she knows.

They don't last long, these little bouts of weeping. And I always feel good when they vanish. So this morning, as I scanned the tv listings to find something to watch while I ate breakfast, I watched the last fifteen minutes of The Bridges of Madison County. Uh-huh, my favorite tear-jerker and the one guaranteed to turn on the tears. It worked as it always does.

Now I can get on with my day.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Where did 2011 go?

We were in the crush of people on the Palm Court at Tropicana in Atlantic City. It was so crowded we could barely move. It was so noisy we couldn't hear each other speak.

For the past 20 years or so, we've rung in the New Year at Trop. We've enjoyed a great dinner, shows that were both just okay and absolutely fabulous and the company of friends we've met there. So this year wasn't any different. Or was it?

As we listened to the roar of the crowd when the bewitching hour struck, it occurred to us that we'd just done this... we'd just rung in another new year. Could it possibly have been 12 months prior? Hardly.

After all, we had just endured a long, snowy winter and greeted the arrival of spring with all the rain Mother Nature showered on us. In spite of the wet weather, we managed to spend a week in Wildwood with the kids and enjoyed a lovely few days on the beach in Atlantic City, taking in the sun and sand. We had gone to a show at the Ocean City Music Pier and seen another Chicago concert at Caesar's. We'd marveled at the changing colors of the trees along the country roads we enjoy traveling, and we'd talked about the Halloween costumes our grandchildren were planning to wear. Thanksgiving was only yesterday. We spent it with our family, traveling up to Branchburg shortly afterward for grandson Nate's middle school 6th grade band concert. We'd gotten our Christmas shopping done early, figuring it would be great to have a couple of free weeks without the stress of holiday prep. But we didn't get those weeks... regardless of how ready we were.

What we got were mere minutes, flashes of time that zipped by almost unnoticed. Just like the rest of the year we'd just bid farewell.

They say time goes faster the older we get. I used to scoff at that notion, not imagining how true it would be. I resent the speedy passage of days, weeks and months and want to hold onto them, clasp them tight and refuse to let them fly past so quickly it's like they were hardly ever here.

I can't, of course, but as 2012 came in, loudly and with great fanfare, I promised myself to remember each day and try to make it last, find something noteworthy in every single one. That way, when 2013 knocks, I won't feel like I've missed out on what was probably a terrific year!