Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

August 4, 2013

WHOLE FAMILY: Go ahead, cry your eyes out at the drop of a hat

Big girls don’t cry. Or do they? My big girl does. She’s 7 years old, a delightful mix of wide-eyed innocence and spicy-hot temperament. During our camping trip last month, she marked among her life’s first-evers the painting of her toenails a delicate, pale pink and the gutting and fileting of a juicy bluegill.

I love that about her. She’s a potpourri of a person, a girl who loves sparkly shoes and frog hunting, willowy dancing and climbing trees, sweet snacks and Tabasco on her eggs. In her potpourri personality, however, is a trait — or a habit or a tendency, I don’t know what — that makes her cry at the drop of a hat. And I mean that literally. I have actually said things like, “Eliana, dropping your hat is no reason to cry.”

She’s a big girl, and she cries all the time.

I guess I shouldn’t write “all the time,” but from this fairly un-emotive person’s perspective, it seems like a lotta crying.

When she was a toddler, she’d wake up from a nap and cry. Today she cries when someone mistreats her; she cries when she’s frustrated; she cries when she realizes she’s done something wrong.

I’m wondering about this crying because it’s a mystery I haven’t solved — not really. Sure, I cry when I feel like it, and sometimes I feel like it more than others, but I don’t cry — or hug, but that’s another matter — all that often. I’m too practical. But to be a tolerant and helpful mother to my big girl who does cry, I should try to understand.

LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE we human do, crying is based in science, in biology and physiology. So first know your eyes are meant to be wet and to leak. For one, it’s how they stay clean and moist round the clock. When you blink, you spread a nice wet and oily substance over your eyes. Second, your body is designed to tear up when the wind hits your face, when allergies come knocking or when something like sand or sawdust irritates your peepers. That’s a defense mechanism, and it’s pretty cool.

None of that is emotional crying. It’s everyday wetness and tearing aimed at homeostasis.

But then we humans — and scientists largely conclude only humans do this — produce and release tears in response to emotions. There are neuronal and hormonal — brain and hormones — reactions that occur inside and take us, in fractions of seconds, from feeling something deeply to crying about it.

It is amazing how it happens, and, like I think so often, I wish I had some sort of microscopic x-ray vision to watch the process in action. Think about how strong it is when you cry. Ever felt yourself about to blubber and tried to stop it? Most of us can, but it takes some work, right? You have to think about something else, talk yourself down, leave the room and pat your eyes with cold water, willing them to stop?

By the way, unless I really have to, I don’t do that anymore. I just let the tears come.

You know why? Tears — emotional tears — have more than just proteins and oil and that always-there salt in them. Our emotional tears have some 80 ingredients in them, many HORMONES, some enzymes even. They’re a super-cool substance scientists theorize is designed to do everything from soften our enemies’ hearts toward us to release toxins from our bodies to reduce our pain and improve our mood.

Ever felt that mixture of exhausted, but pleasantly so, after a good, hard cry? Those tears helped bring that about, no doubt. Crying serves a purpose, and if we were mean to “don’t cry,” I doubt our bodies would work this way. So cry on, I suppose.

Text Only
Life
  • David Suchet as Hercule Poirot.jpg Easter crime mysteries? Some Easter traditions go beyond chocolate bunnies Visions of chocolate candies, Easter bunnies and the risen Christ come to mind this Easter season -- at least in the United States. But what about the rest of the world? Here are a few traditions and surprises.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • At the game with Ernie

    Baseball on radio brings the imagination alive

    April 13, 2014

  • There are many ways to measure success It yields a virtual sea of books, talks and podcasts; classes, seminars and sermons; pointers, tips and 10-step lists; and gaggles of guides that promise the seven secrets to it. The "it," of course, is success. A dictionary definition? Easy: the ach

    April 13, 2014

  • FEA GN140413 dick lehman 08 Passion for pottery

    Passion for pottery BY SAM HOUSEHOLDER sam.householder@goshennews.com

    Dick Lehman has spent his 33-year career as a potter learning how to see.

    Lehman has built a successful career despite no formal, traditional pottery training.

    April 13, 2014 6 Photos

  • FEA GN0411 tom yoder column image Winter leaves yards with trouble spots Each and every year the majority of us are faced with some sort of horticultural problem that exists, has existed, or we're worried that it could become a problem in our future. Every year, and predominantly in the spring, I receive calls from homeow

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Electing sheriffs best way to protect rights DEAR SHERIFF: I have heard of proposed Indiana legislation in the last few years to elect one county executive who would appoint the sheriff and essentially remove the sheriff from being elected. What is your opinion on such legislation? ANSWER: The

    April 11, 2014

  • stephanie price column sig [Duplicate] 'Can I spend the night?' Just say 'no'

    Have I mentioned I’m a morning person? Love those early, early hours. They’re fresh and sweet, much like a newborn baby — quiet, gentle, promising. Oh-five-hundred is my finest hour, and coffee goes best with a sunrise.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsley, Aaron Sawatsky COLUMN: Scientists say climate to deteriorate faster than expected Scientists say climate to deteriorate faster than expected By AARON SAWATSKY-KINGSLEY Columnist

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN0324 Schrock_Rhonda column sig GROUNDS FOR INSANITY: Government can't legislate common sense, matters of the heart It was a story that gripped the world for days. A Boeing 777 carrying 239 souls; missing. A desperate search by numerous countries; nothing. Questions in a multitude of dialects and tongues; few answers in any language. As someone put it, “So they can track my phone, but they can’t find a missing plane?”

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • stephanie price column sig [Duplicate] WHOLE FAMILY: Ways to help in times of crisis Ways to help in times of crisis

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Poll

Goshen City Council member Dixie Robinson is asking residents to make an effort to clean up their yards this spring. The city’s Dial-A-Truck program is available to haul trash away. Do you think there are more unsightly properties in Goshen this year than five years ago?

Yes, I have noticed more problem properties
No, I have not noticed more problems
I think the problems are about the same as always
     View Results