I still don’t cry very often, at least tears of sadness.
I cry at happy things. I get choking sobs stuck in my chest and then in my throat over the silliest things.
Proud mom moments bring them on regularly.
When Annie was about eight years old,
I remember watching her race down the soccer field toward the goal
with her blonde pony tail flying in the wind behind her.
(Her coach used to say, “Take it for a ride, right down the side” because that was her specialty.)
As I watched her glide down the field dribbling the ball,
I thought about the pure magic of the moment —
me with a healthy, active daughter playing soccer,
me sitting next to my best friend of a husband on a beautiful grassy field in Virginia
surrounded by a committed group of parents all cheering on their kids,
and suddenly I cried.
My life was just so good, I couldn’t help it.
When Sara was in high school,
I picked her and her friends up one evening after a varsity cheerleading conditioning workout before try outs.
One of her friends complained about the vigorous and stressful exercises.
She hated the pressure and questioned whether it was worth it.
My cute little determined daughter said,
“Well, I’m not opposed to working hard for this because it’s something I really want.”
I almost had to pull the car over to the side of the road and weep I was so proud.
I’m sure she doesn’t even remember saying those words
but they hit me forcefully
because they communicated to me that she knew the importance
of going after something she really wanted.
It was a proud moment,
and those are the kind that produce the tears sometimes.
Today in church we sang America The Beautiful.
We got to the third verse and sang:
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife
Who more than self their country loved…
That was all I could get out before my voice turned into an embarrassing squeak.
I looked up and saw our friend Rich sitting on the stand. Rich served two tours of duty in Iraq.
He is a hero to me and so his wife, Keri.
I remember when he left
and how we prayed for him and his family so diligently
for all the months he was away.
I often wonder what his life was like in that war-torn place
and what he endured that we never even knew about.
Today, I thought of the many other men in Iraq or Afghanistan
who have served in this long war
and those darn happy tears just poured out of me again.
Proud American tears.
I may have my Hard Hearted Hannah moments,
but good things melt my hard heart and my tears flow freely.
It’s not all bad to be a happy crier.
Today my heart might burst with gratitude
for being an American,
living in the beautiful, patriotic, Washington, D.C. area,
and enjoying freedom.
Now that deserves a proud and happy tear or two.
Happy Fourth of July!