Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Know Better

I know better than to watch sad movies (right now it is Shadowlands) right before bedtime.  I know this, because I do it with alarming regularity.  I know that I will end up crying and one of my children will have to come to my rescue with a handful of crumpled tissue.  I know that I will end up with a splotchy face, a running nose, and one of those blasted after-crying headaches.  I know that my husband will roll his eyes, because he has seen this all before. 

I know better.

But sometimes you know something...and you do it anyway.

Especially on the first day of school, when your daughter comes home to tell you about a classmate who wasn't there because he has leukemia and his white count was too low to be around the other children.

Especially when you want to hold your children close and let the tears fall into their hair while you breathe in their smell.  A smell that is clean, and warm, and nothing like a sterile hospital room.

Especially when you have spent the day worrying about trivial things like messy rooms, and packing lunches, and lamenting the lack of air conditioning in your car.

Especially when you don't want to have to explain to anyone that what you are crying about has absolutely nothing to do with what is playing out on the television screen.

And so you look over the television listings and choose a channel.  You wrap yourself in a warm blanket like a cocoon, and you weep over Joy Gresham's cancer, and C. S. Lewis's loss, and little Douglas Gresham (and David Gresham, too, even though the movie doesn't mention him).

And you weep for the little ten year old boy who can't go to school on the first day.  You weep for the mother and father who had to tell him that he couldn't go.

You weep out of guilt at the all-encompassing relief you feel when you slide silently into your child's room and kiss them goodnight for the seventh time. 

You weep because, for a moment, everyone under your room seems safe.

You weep because you know better.


  1. Life is strange and interesting and wonderful, and it's these moments that remind us.