WHY OUR CHILDHOOD MAKES US CRY
Two words. Julie Andrews. Ok, she may not be the culprit for you, but let me explain. Recently, my living room television has been inundated with nothing but songs and cinematic snaps of “The Sound of Music”. At first I just thought it was just a good diversion from "Moana" and “Night at The Museum” because those were my daughter’s previous obsessions, but the other night while cooking garlic chicken, I caught myself watching her watch “The Sound Of Music”. And then I caught myself crying real tears into sautéed garlic. Tears of wonder. Tears of dreams. Tears of my childhood.
I was singing along to every note on every melody of that film. I knew every word. And I watched my 6 year old stare into the television, sounding out lyrics and copying all the choreography of my yesteryears. Why does this make me cry?
Perhaps it’s the notion that children bring us great happiness and happiness brings forth tears of gratitude, and or perhaps it’s that we are growing older and the “older-ness” brings on an entire new discovery of an appreciation for life.
Ever wonder why old people stop you in your tracks and want to peek into your stroller and stare at your baby? (I wrote about this not too long ago.) Ya know. They stop you mid-mall walk. "Look at you, are those twins? You have your hands full! " Maybe it’s because you’re an adorable mom or because you have twins. Or it’s because your babies are just so darn cute. But perhaps it’s life moving at this generous pace that we don’t even realize and these old people want to stop and acknowledge the life they once lived. They want to tell you their stories of when they had infants and didn’t get any sleep and how they survived all those younger years of motherhood back in the 70’s and 80’s. How it made them feel alive. That’s how “The Sound of Music” made me feel last night. And my heart exploded with mountains of gratitude.
You see, we (the young ones) are in it today. We go through our days pounding that responsibility pavement with grace and guts and we navigate it as best we can. It’s not that we forget that this life we have is passing us by, it’s that we are just trying to survive it. Every. Day. And that’s ok. But remember this mamas: it is only a stage of life. And those older people, that’s us someday too. I know, hard to imagine. But it's true. Blink and you have a kindergartner.
When my daughter was just under 9 weeks old, I flew to Los Angeles alone so she could meet my whole family. Frightened as a caterpillar I had no idea what I was doing but I walked onto that plane as brave as I could be and we flew 4 hours to California. I kept to myself, (although I’m pretty sure my breast was exposed to the person next to me due to breastfeeding in a tiny plane seat) but none the less I remained calm and sweaty and I just took care of that little baby of mine.
When we landed I waited for the plane to unload before I got off because I didn’t want anyone to hear any fuss from my girl and an older woman approached me. Beautiful in her mid 70’s, she leaned down to me and Kona Blue and she said “Dear, you are a wonderful mother and did such a good job with your baby. Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. Bless you child." I’m pretty sure she knew my anxiety was high during that 4 hour flight, but mostly I’m pretty sure she had been there herself. I’m also 100% sure I cried after she said that to me.
Flash forward to “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” and Julie Andrews took me down. I was a mess. A ginormous mess in a puddle of tears, but I realized this.
The same reason my mother cries when she talks about her days with her brother before he died, is the same reason I cried while watching “The Sound of Music.” It’s your life stories. It’s your dreams. And your joy. And your triumphs and your failures. It’s the smell of garlic chicken and babies crying in present time representing today, when you distinctly remember dancing and singing your way across a theater stage to the music of West Side Story. It’s clinging to a polaroid of your mother and great grandmother helping you blow out candles on your 5th birthday by the pool. It’s coming across Facebook and seeing an image of you and all your Hawaiian family on the beach at North Shore and noticing how many of them are not here anymore.
Our childhood makes us cry because we appreciate what God gave us then. And that is significant. And we want to hold onto it and every part of life now. And I think instinctually we feel it slipping through our fingers. We see life not slowing down and not standing still. And although I’m an emotional person all day every day, this realization made me understand myself a little better. Made me want to do life more intently. Do more of the doing. Say more of the things I want to say. Be happy instead of sad. Because it’s only now that we have. And when you see your childhood flash before your eyes, you know life is going. And it’s going fast. And you better sing the songs. And dance the dance. And walk the walk. Because what are you waiting for?