What No One Tells You About Having a Really Good Cry
It’s the thing that broke me, carved a sharp ache deep inside. I cried tears I thought would never stop.
And yet, when I say it out loud, it sounds petty. Everyday. A non-event.
Except it was. And it’s part of my story.
One of my daughters quit dance team—that’s the short of it. But really, what broke me wasn’t the short form of the story.
It was all the friendships affected by one set-jaw, furrowed-brow, emotion-void decision.
When you’ve been at one place, with the best of people, for seven consecutive years, those friendships become a life-line. I hadn’t braced myself for suddenly not waiting outside the studio with the other dance moms for practice to let out, not spending competition days in comradery, not sharing stories and tips and struggles huddled in the lobby for the extra things that brought us to the lobby hours a week outside of regular practice.
I hadn’t braced myself for the raw pain of knowing her choices had a ripple effect I couldn’t prevent.
Consequences for far more than just her. They carried a cost for her team, who she’d been with for years, and her teachers, who’d been there for so many special moments, who’d believed in her since she was one. This hurt most of all.
I hadn’t braced myself for how everything from the team jacket hanging on the coat rack, the backpack in the panty filled with dance shoes, the abundance of tights and leotards and hair pins, and the dance pictures, to the dance costumes filling both her closet and mine would cause the tears to well again.
There would be no eye liner to swipe up smooth. No deep lip color to struggle to apply. No sweaty-palm costume changes. No criss-crossing bobby pins to hold on glittered headpieces. No sitting in hotel lobbies while friends took turns practicing solos and warming up tricks.
Now I’d just be an honorary dance mom, observing from the sidelines of Facebook highlights post-fact.
And relationships aren’t upkept by observing the photographed moments. They grow through shared memories.
I knew that not being part of it would invariably change relationships—for her, but also for me—and it shredded me on the inside.
THE DAY I LET HER SEE ME CRY
We’d been struggling for weeks. First came the day she decided right before class that her bun was too high, and simultaneously that she no longer cared about her goal of perfect attendance this year. Then came a storm of angry depression and burrowing inside and trying to disappear. She pulled every trick in the book, even ratting her hair to try to get out of going to both dance and school, and we watched the joy and passion and drive that flowed through her seep out and ebb away.
But the day I realized it was too late—to participate in the Nutcracker she had been anticipating, to just make-up missed classes and go on as if nothing had happened—that was the day I let her see me cry.
She’s a push-hard, hyper-focused, always-raising-the-bar kind of girl. A black-and-white, I’ll-do-it-myself, don’t-tell-me-it-can’t-be done kind of girl. Bendy as a rubber band and probably, at eight, already stronger than me though she’s about to be passed up in size by her four-year old brother. She’s all sass but not about the drama, and she’s the type that rarely cries.
To be honest, I don’t cry often either.
I cried when a marriage in my family broke apart and broke us all some in the process. I cried when everything I loved about my church turned upside down. I cried each time I lost a grandparent. But sometimes I just get quiet when I’m sad.
My daughter had not witnessed my own crying buckets of hot tears before that day. And it gave her pause. And permission to try to feel.
It cracked the door open, gave her a peek beyond kept-together resolve and empty indifference.
When she couldn’t let herself cry, I had to go first. Be vulnerable first. Be broken first.
And maybe that’s where you are today: in need of a really good cry. But maybe you need someone else to cry first.
If that’s you, I hope my story will give you the pause and the permission you need to ugly cry.
Wherever you are, and whatever is weighing heavy on your heart, may you know that it’s not too much for God.
You are not too much for you—you, your tears, and all.
He’s here for all of it. Your honest, salty tears. Your honest, salty questions. The pain you need to name.
Twyla Franz loves to help imperfectly ready people take baby steps into neighborhood missional living. Check out her devotional, *Cultivating a Missional Life: A 30-Day Devotional to Gently Help You Open Your Heart, Home, and Life to Your Neighbors, which includes group discussion questions for a 5-week study. Think you have nothing to offer your neighbors? Take her free quiz, “What Kind of Neighbor Are You?” to learn what makes you uniquely invaluable to your neighborhood. If you are interested in forming deeper relationships with your neighbors, visit her website, The Uncommon Normal, to browse her blog and unlock her library of resources to help you get started.
To hear my conversation with Twyla on my Depth Podcast, click link to Episode 23.
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