Everyone loves babies. Their little chubby feet and their sweet smell can make even grown men resort to making baby noises and funny faces. Children will beg to have a chance to hold the little bundle of love and women will all want to pinch or kiss their cheeks. I don’t know a single person that doesn’t melt with the sight of a baby.
No doubt about it, most everyone loves babies, but, on a romantic dinner date, during a quiet movie, or Sunday church service, the sound of a crying baby can be bothersome, which is probably how the word crybaby first came to be recognized in 1851. It is a noun used to describe someone who cries or complains easily.
I remember growing up in New York and playing kickball in the street with the other neighbor kids. Frankie was a boy who lived the furthest down the block from the rest of us. We would always make sure we would go up to Frankie’s, and his sister Rosie’s, house to invite them to play. Not because they were good at sports, but, because we needed them to round out the teams.
Frankie complained about everything and Rosie cried all the time. He wanted to be the pitcher and complained when he didn’t get to do it, then he would fuss that the ball was over- or under-inflated. Sometimes the hardship of the day was that it was too hot or too cold. It didn’t matter what it was, he found something to whine about. Likewise, Rosie found things to cry about. The ball hit her too hard, she cried. She didn’t get up to kick, she cried. Her shirt got dirty, she cried. You looked at her wrong, she cried. Frankie didn’t get to pitch, she cried. You name it and she cried about it. Naturally, we as children, called them crybabies. It didn’t take us long before we stopped going down to Frankie and Rosie’s house and instead found others to help us round out our team. After all, no one likes a crybaby, right?
A few years ago, when our son was in the Marine Corps, I noticed that my husband John and I had become crybabies. Don’t get me wrong. We are no Frankie and Rosie. Instead, we developed our own brand of being a crybaby.
It started with the Pledge of Allegiance at ballgames and quickly moved to documentaries or movies about military heroes. When our son graduated basic training, we cried so much I thought we would run out of tears. Then when we went to the funeral of his Marine brother who died in service to our country, I realized that you could never run out of tears. We cried yet again- this time tears of relief- when our son stepped back on American soil after serving in two war zones.
In fact, a few weeks ago I wrote a story about Gold Star Mothers and I cried as I wrote it. Likewise, John cried as he edited it and then we both cried again as we re-read it.
Suffice it to say, anything pertaining to our brave military brings us to tears. As proof, I am crying as I type these words. It really doesn’t take much for us to cry when we think of the sacrifices they make for our freedom. Furthermore, if you want us to cry from anger, all it would take is for someone to disrespect our Men and Women in uniform.
Clearly we have become big crybabies, but, crying for our military is just the beginning. We now cry for almost anything. When others are around us, watching movies becomes an exercise in restraint, as we cry if a person gets hurt, a dog dies or anything sentimental happens. Heck, television commercials can sometimes bring us to tears.
Seriously, we cry all the time and it is not just me. It is John, too! In fact, he may be worse than me. Case in point: The other night we were attending an amateur singing competition when John saw the father of one of the contestants wipe a tear from his eye. Well, that was all it took for John to unleash his waterworks. Gosh, what a crybaby!
This past weekend we went to our son’s and daughter-in-law’s gender reveal party, as we are about to be first time grandparents. Turns out our son is having a son. You guessed it, we cried.
In preparation for the birth of the baby, we are not only buying diapers to keep the baby’s bottom dry, we are buying Kleenex to keep from drowning in our tears.
Somehow the term crybaby takes on a whole new meaning. To me, it no longer means someone who complains or cries a lot like Webster’s Dictionary defines, or like Frankie and Rosie did. It now means someone who’s heart is so big it pushes on the tear ducts, forcing moisture to squeeze out. At least that is my story and I am sticking to it.
Oh, and when our grandson is born and he cries in the movies, at church or in a restaurant, I will not complain. I might cry with him. Don’t worry. I am not sad. It is just that as we get older we realize that there are some beautiful things we took for granted when we were young. Like the smell of honeysuckle on a hot day, a playful kitten, social justice, and how wonderful and short life really is. Please, call me a crybaby. It is a compliment. Life is mysterious.