My Three-Year-Old Taught Me A Beautiful Lesson About Why We Cry

by Michaela Massoletti
Originally Published: 
mother comforting daughter
Scary Mommy and Ariel Skelley/Getty

My three-year-old daughter and I took a morning stroll around our neighborhood while my husband and seven-year-old daughter took the dog for a long hike. It’s become part of our daily routine to keep things somewhat structured during this uncertain time.

As my little fairy (literally wearing a fairy dress) and I began our walk, she held my hand and smiled as the sun enveloped us.

“What should we talk about?” I asked her.

My sweet daughter looked up at me with her deep round eyes and said, “You know, Mommy, sometimes we have to cry,” in a matter of fact manner.

I told her she was right and laughed to myself at how random her thought was. We continued walking, and while she picked flowers, sniffing them all, it hit me how actually spot-on her sentiment was — especially during this time. The days leading up to this moment have had many ups and downs as we ride this rollercoaster, not knowing when it will end.

“Why do you think that sometimes we have to cry?” I asked her.

“Because, Mommy. It is inside our bodies and we have to let it out,” she answered, handing me a flower.

The day continued, and as quickly as I was mesmerized by her truth, I easily snapped back into the seat of the rollercoaster. Moments are fleeting, and these days I struggle to stay in the present; I’m worried about the future and missing the past. For the rest of the day, everything my husband did or said irritated me. I swear my girls weren’t listening to anything I needed them to do. Everyone and everything ticked me off.

Sitting on my bed after the kids were asleep, I felt my shoulders shrugging up to my ears. The tightness of my muscles screamed that something was up. I was scheming about how to fix whatever is going on with me while also trying to figure out the puzzle as to why I feel off and unsettled. As I danced around the truth that I feel real sadness, I came up with all sorts of solutions. I’m going to lose 10 pounds, then I won’t feel this sadness. I’m going to cut my bangs, maybe dye my hair pink and revamp my style to distract me from this feeling of powerlessness. I’m going to train to run a marathon so that I have endorphins and a goal in mind to keep me focused on something else.

Then, in the middle of my quick fix list, my gut calmly said, “How about you don’t do anything and you allow yourself to feel it? Maybe sometimes you have to cry, remember?”

My sleeping angel’s fact about being human hit me like a ton of bricks, as the lessons from my children always do. She’s right. Sometimes I just have to cry. It is a natural instinct to cry. So why do I avoid, deny, and run away from this part of my humanness?

I think about the reasons my children cry and how I accept their tears with open arms. Maybe I need to do the same for myself. My protective shell begins to crack, and as it opens up, I allow the tears to come.

As they do, I think of all the reasons why, as my daughter said, “sometimes we have to cry.”

Sometimes we have to cry because emotions can become too overwhelming and they need to be released. Sometimes we have to cry because holding it tight inside hurts us more. Sometimes we have to cry because life is unfair and hard. Sometimes we have to cry so that we can move forward and no longer remain stuck. Sometimes we have to cry so that we can find clarity in our truth. Sometimes we have to cry because in the process of letting go, we lift our spirits.

Sometimes we just have to cry, and during this time, it’s absolutely okay to let the tears flow. I don’t need to let them take over, but I do need to embrace the emotions that sit inside so that I can be present and see the beauty during this time too.

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