This afternoon while I was composing an email, my anxiety overwhelmed me and my eyes watered. I walked into my 9 year old son’s empty bedroom and shut the door. I stepped up the ladder to his loft bed, knelt face down onto his Minecraft blanket and cradled my forehead in my palms. I cried non-stop for five minutes, body shuddering, yelping breathing, snotty nose, wet cheeks.
My son Dylan walked in.
“Mom, can I have a cookie?”
“Yes, go get it yourself, ok?”
“Mommy, are you crying?”
“Mommy, why are you crying?”
“I’ll tell you later.”
“Are you fake crying?”
“Mom, why are you crying?”
“I’ll tell you later, ok? Go get your cookie. I just need to cry right now, okay? Remember how we talked about alone time?”
“But this is my room.”
“Well, Daddy is using our room all day because he’s working from home now.”
Dylan left the room and returned in a few minutes.
“Mommy, are you done crying? Now can you tell me why you’re crying?
I cried some more. Dylan climbed up to the bed.
“You know how sometimes when you fall and hurt yourself or when someone hurts your feelings? Then you cry it out because it hurt?”
“Then after you cry, you feel so much better because you let out your tears? Well, sometimes mommies need to cry too. During spring break, when all this Covid stuff started happening, everything’s changed. It’s been hard on me, you and Daddy. Mommy yells more, Daddy yells more. I’m not working, you’re not going to school or seeing your friends, there’s no routine and people are getting sick. It makes me sad and stressed out.
I’ve been holding in all that sadness and stress and haven’t cried yet. So that means I’ve been holding back all those tears for five weeks and today I was finally ready to let them go! Don’t worry, Mommy will be okay. I just needed to cry it out and now that I’ve cried, I feel much better.”
“Okay. Now can I have a cookie?”
“You didn’t help yourself?”
“Okay, lets get a cookie. I need one too.”
Damn, it felt good to cry today.
(Featured cookie photograph: Courtesy of Pexels)
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