LaughLines: Cry Me a River! It’s Time for a Tearjerker

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My daughter, Claire, reached a major milestone in her womanhood last night – she cried watching a movie.

Don’t laugh. Crying is a big deal, and crying during a movie is a sure sign you’ve matured. Yes, you’re a woman now, baby, and you’ve earned the right to blubber and weep and sob through any and all movie classics.

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember was a two-hankie, and so was Shenandoah, with poor Jimmy Stewart searching for a lost son during the Civil War. Awakenings was a real weep-fest, as Robert DeNiro came out of a coma just long enough to meet his mother, get interested in girls, and pal around with Robin Williams. You knew it was only a matter of time before old Bob deteriorated into the human veggie he once was and make me a blubbering idiot in the process.

I can usually spot a weepie, so I always position myself away from spectators. At home, that means sitting at a slight angle to my husband, so he can’t see my eyes welling up. Matt’s a wonderful person, but when he sees me crying, he’ll humiliate me anyway he can – including impersonating Robert DeNiro’s stuttering in the aforementioned human vegetable movie.

It’s a lot easier to hide my tear-streaked face in a movie theater. First, it’s dark (duh), and second, I’m surrounded by other crying women. If the movie’s really sad, you can hardly hear the dialogue over all the sniffling, sobbing, and nose-blowing.

Of course, movie-crying is one thing. I don’t cry much in ‘real life’ unless the occasion calls for it. I’ll tear up at wakes and funerals if I’m related to the deceased. Weddings don’t call for crying unless there’s no open bar and/or the bride is marrying an ex-boyfriend.

I cried a couple of times when Matt was in the hospital for some cardiac problems. He wasn’t on his deathbed and the prognosis was excellent, but he looked so miserable, I had to cry in sympathy. It didn’t last long, and by the time I hit the parking lot, I was dry-eyed and looking forward to an evening alone with the remote control (yes, I admit it).

Claire’s first cry was a shock, and she was surprised at herself. She turned to me, tears in her eyes, and started to laugh about how silly she must have looked.

I just hugged her, and told her we needed to spend more time together. Maybe watch a movie? Had she seen the one with Robert DeNiro as a coma patient? . . . Perfect for mother-daughter bonding. We’ll just be sure to stock up on tissues. You use your box, I’lll use mine.

About Cate Drew

I’m on the high side of 40, with three dogs, two teens and one husband, living in a small New England town in a house that’s never quiet. Ever. It’s not that I have a really colorful life – I just tend to write colorfully about it. And there’s plenty of material: marriage to the Man of a Thousand Bad Ideas,.. my mom, who moved Dad’s coffin closer to the street six months after he died so she could visit his grave as a kind of drive-up window…our dog posse…our kids…lots of siblings and in-laws, former co-workers, old boyfriends -- they’re all here. Toss in 14 years of Catholic school and you’ve got a lot of guilt, too. Which reminds me: forget “high side of 40.” I’m 51, damnit.