We used to make fun of my mom when she cried in movies.
Whenever we'd watch something together, an exceptionally emotional scene would mean two things: One, The swelling with tears eyes of my beloved mother, and two, the consequent stares at her from everyone in the room, "The Check" to see if she was tearing up.
The things she cried at were weird to me as a second grader. When Shadow, the aging golden retriever in Homeward Bound, makes his fashionably late arrival over the hill of his family's backyard: waterworks.
She cried at the happy parts!
And I was so confused.
"You should be smiling!" Stupid Mommy. Her emotions are all wrong.
And I always prided myself as a person who didn't cry in movies. When Noah and Allie peacefully and beautifully die in one another's arms at the end of The Notebook (Spoiler Alert: Noah and Allie peacefully and beautifully die in one another's arms at the end of The Notebook), I didn't cry. When Scar lets his BABE of a a flowy-maned big bro fall to his death into a stampeding blur of antelopes in The Lion King, I didn't even cry when Simba finally talks to him via Rafeke Star-Weirdness.
But Internet, I am telling you, as of this summer I am a changed woman. I am my mother.
Not only have I been caught talking to myself while dusting the top of the TV or folding Tshirts, I have been crying at movies, especially the happy parts. And not just the extremely overwhelming happy parts, I've been crying at the moments in a movie that include even the slightest twinkle of happy resolve. For heavens sake, I cried at FREAKING Bride Wars when Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson's characters make up in their big white dresses on the floor of the Plaza (Spoiler Alert: Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson's characters make up in their big white dresses on the floor of the Plaza.)
And for the first time (in ever) I'm finally starting to understand why perhaps I'm crying at ordinary happy moments.
This is my hypothesis:
Crying is a coping mechanism. The body is literally shedding tension through tears and their subsequent blush and sweat. Just as crying makes our squished and sad little hearts feel a little less squished and sad, the overflow of joy from an exciting experience is one so large it can only be released via tears. I am overwhelmed by joy in my life. I am incredibly blessed with amazing people. I get very nostalgic. And I love happy so much that I cry.
People are brutal pieces of shit to each other a lot of the time. So when they actually take time to help and say something of particular love, it is worthy of tears.
Perhaps "The Check" we used to do to my mother was our own coping mechanism, so that we wouldn't cry ourselves.
If movies haven't gotten any happier, maybe I've gotten happier.
No complaints here, I'm just crying.