By Erin Wyble Newcomb
Illustrated by Annie Dwyer Internicola
Confession: I am embarrassing to take to most movies. I’m a crier, but not a wipe-a-stray-tear-away kind of crier. I weep. I am the kind of crier who sobs so loudly that I make other people cry—or stare. In this way, my husband and I are an opposites-attract couple, and after 14 years together, I can probably count on less than one hand the times I’ve seen him cry. Even then, he was subtle.
Our differences are reflected in our children. So last spring, when we had to euthanize my beloved 17-year-old cat, our younger daughter wept with me and our older daughter stood, stoically silent, next to her father. That’s a dramatic example, but these dynamics play out in everyday interactions as well. Our younger child squeals with glee as she bounces in the ocean’s waves; she still cries almost every night at bedtime from being overwhelmed by the day’s emotions and the prospect of missing the rest of us during the night. Our elder child has a certain smile that tells us when she’s delighted, and she withdraws into a book when she’s overcome with sadness or frustration. It’s not that any one of us feels more deeply than the others, but that we express ourselves differently.