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How Motherhood Made Me a Total Sap

Growing up, I wasn't very sentimental. Maybe it's because I was constantly switching schools. Maybe it's because, I swear, I was born a cynic. Maybe it's because I never wanted to appear vulnerable. But I just didn't cry much or get emotional at good-byes or movies—or anything.

I remember one time a friend of mine was shocked to learn I had never seen "Steel Magnolias." She immediately brought over her very used copy and we sat down to watch it. I really did enjoy the movie. I could see why she loved it so much. When it was over, I looked over at her and she was a blubbering mess, but I was just kind of shrugging my shoulders. I mean, I liked the movie and the ending was sad, but I just wasn't feeling it on the same level she was. I know, heartless.

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But then I became a mom and slowly I began to change. It didn't all happen at once, but little by little things started to get to me. I would watch one of those military "coming home" videos on YouTube and the tears would come. I would read about a mother whose child was sick in the hospital and would immediately think of my own children, and the tears would come. I would see a sentimental commercial about a teenager driving off in their first car, and the tears would come.

And now? You guys, now I cry all the time! I had a parent-teacher conference at my son's school the other day. She was going on and on about what a great kid he is and how well he's doing in school. I had to fight back the tears! I did not want to be that mom with tears streaming down her face at her child's school. But there I was willing those little drops of water to stay in my eyeballs. Embarrassing.

I don't know what it is, but something about being a mom has made all the feelings inside of me intensify by about 1000%.

My daughter's second birthday is coming up and I'm already preparing myself for the annual cry-fest. Last year, on the night before my son's birthday I put him to bed and when I came out of his room I started sobbing. My husband was taken aback and thought something might be terribly wrong. But no, just a mom being a sap, mourning the aging of her child.

I don't know what it is, but something about being a mom has made all the feelings inside of me intensify by about 1000%. When I'm sad, I'm so sad that I cry. When I'm happy, I'm so happy that I cry. Heck, even when I'm mad, I cry. I didn't know that I could feel this vulnerable all of the time. And that's what it is: I'm vulnerable. My kids are my life and I'm doing the best I can to raise them right and protect them from harm and keep them close—but it's only a matter of time. It's only a matter of time before they break an arm or get made fun of at school or grow up and get their own lives. This time we have together is so short. They're constantly growing and changing and while it's a great joy to see them growing up, it's also scary. I want so badly for them to be happy and succeed, but I only have so much control.

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So yeah, I cry now. I cry because I'm happy to see them learning new things. I'm happy that they are so smart and healthy, and I can't believe how lucky I am. I cry because I'm sad to see them need me less. With each day that passes their independence increases and before I know it they'll be grown. I cry because I'm so damn proud of them. They're amazing kids. I cry because I'm scared that they will make a wrong choice or get sick or bullied. I don't want anything bad to happen to them. I cry because they're not truly mine. I get to keep them for a short while before I send them off to take on the world. As much as these little years are hard, they're also incredible and rewarding. Motherhood turned me into a total sap, and I'm OK with that. Bring on the tears.

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