You can read “tear” two ways. One, those salty-secretions from your eyes–in joy or sorrow or laughter or allergies. Two, as in things-torn, the act of ripping–tears in the fabric, tearing the paper, rending, separating.
On Friday, I went up to visit our Baby Girl. She was a perfect doll, which was such a blessing, given that I was in a particularly emotional state. I couldn’t hold back my tears when I saw her, while I fed her [she has this cute habit of putting her fingers in my mouth while she eats], when she bounced on my lap and practiced her happy-screeching.
When we sat down on the floor to play, I turned her to face away from me; I held her on my lap, re-populating the toys in front of her as she spread them around. I didn’t want her to see me crying. When she did look at me, I made my best effort to smile big and coo at her and look happy. I was happy, of course, to be with her and to see her and love her, but the tears came still.
Her foster mother sat down nearby and asked, “Are you alright? or do you just need to cry?”
I nodded, too choked with emotion even to respond verbally. I needed to let all the emotion spill out the top. Waiting so long for our Baby, having to wait longer and still uncertain-ly, being so far from Taylor, missing him. I was tired, I’d been traveling a lot, I had been sick, I’d had a busy week, things were disordered and chaotic. I was worn so thin that it was easy for the tears to come. It was easy for the fabric of my composure to rip with even just a little extra stretch.
I cried as I put Baby Girl down for a nap, swaying back and forth with her head pressed against my cheek. Sleep, Little Girl, Sleep peacefully while I let my tears out…
And they came, though I did my best to cry silently, coaxing her eyelids to droop lower and lower. Rocking side to side, bouncing, shushing. Sleep, Little One.. sleep.
I didn’t fall deeply asleep with her, laying on the couch upstairs, but I did rest. There was silence and breathing and nothing but a gentle breeze for 90 minutes. For an hour and a half, we were content to just lay next to each other, breathing in rhythm, pressed close together.
I think she knew how fragile I was. I think she could tell that I was wrestling with a lot of emotion. When she woke up she smiled at me. A big, happy, “I’m so glad to see you!” smile. It warmed my heart through, and made me tear up again. We played together a little on the couch while she woke fully, squawking, cooing, chewing on my hair clip… it was so wonderfully quotidian.
I gave her dinner and we played some more until she was rubbing her eyes–time for bed. Everyone said goodnight and waved and I took her to her bed, laid her down, and blessed her. I tried to sing my goodnight song for her, but the tears were flowing again and I couldn’t get the words out.
As I left the foster family’s home that night, I cried some more saying goodbye. ”I will not say ‘Do not cry,’” Gandalf echos in my ears, “for not all tears are an evil.” I cried on the drive home and I cried a little going to sleep.
I was a little surprised as I drove, tears streaming down my face, that I wasn’t crying because I was despairingly sad. I was crying for joy and in thanksgiving. There has been so much good in this part of our story, so much blessing.
Yes, there are many different kinds of tears, happy and sad, rending and revealing. To tear is to expose, to reveal. And it hurts. But sometimes, it can reveal something unknown or unseen; something beautiful. To tear is to be vulnerable.. but to be in Love is to be vulnerable.
And what Love we have for this little girl. Let the tears come. I cannot not love this Wee One.