Big girls don't cry
Last weekend my family and I had to deal with an awful situation, far out of the ordinary.
In the middle of the night, I found myself driving through dark country roads to retrieve my 12 year old daughter and my 8 year old son from a campground, where only a couple of hours prior, they had been having the time of their lives. One of the happy campers had had too much to drink, and upon trying to stand from his comfy spot by the fire pit, fell forward onto his knees, where he attempted to stand up, only to fall forward again.
The drunken relative crawled into his sleeping bag where he promptly began to snore. However, the damage had already been done.
The sight of this family friend, slurring his words and mumbling nonsense, frightened my children so much that my husband called me to ask that I come pick them up, so he could stay with the drunkard, lest he wake, and decide to go wandering through the woods.
Growing up the daughter of an alcoholic, it is never easy for me to hear stories like this. I immediately get flashbacks of my father's drunken behaviour.
The day after their return from the camping trip, my daughter spent a lot of time crying. She adores this relative, so to see him falling and then weaving towards his tent left a traumatizing imprint in her mind.
The day after their return, I spent many hours talking to my daughter, explaining that one mistake does not undo all the good things this man has done for her over the course of her life.
And still she cried.
She cried until I had no more words of comfort to offer.
She cried until my soothing tone became one of annoyance and frustration.
She cried until finally, I wanted to cry.
Try as I might, knowing what I know about my father's disease, pretending that I'm "all better now" years after his passing and years since I have seen him drunk, my daughter's tears eventually triggered that spot in my heart that I had been fiercely protecting.
Because I'm afraid.
I'm afraid that if I start to cry for my ruined camping trips; if I shed even one tear for those family get-togethers when it was my father who was slurring his words; like my daughter, I may not know when to stop crying.