I'm a regular font of salt water these days, despite the fact that I swim in chlorine. Tears threaten at odd times and in public places, like at the airport when Rob and I picked William up after his mission trip to Nogales, Mexico. Parents around me were grinning jovially and waving hello to their teens while I nearly burst into tears and had to refrain from running through baggage claim to embrace my son. Like a bad movie, it played in my head as I fought to restrain myself and wait for him to saunter over before delivering my stranglehold hug. The tears did not so much glisten as pool over my lower lids, to such an extent that William noticed. "Are you almost crying, Mom?" he asked with a grin.
My family seems partially horrified and partly resigned to the fact that I weep frequently and without regard to the status of teenagers. I try to hide it, casually looking to the side of the room after a So You Think You Can Dance audition that is particularly moving, yawning and raising one hand to stretch while the other discreetly wipes away unwanted moisture. It reminds me of the move that our high school dates used to pull in movie theaters, yawning and stretching before cautiously draping one arm over the back of our seats and shoulders (this was particularly fraught for female swimmers, whose shoulders were often broader than their dates.') My move, like the movie date sidearm, doesn't fool anyone, but it helps me to move on into the commercial break with some dignity.
Meanwhile, I'm grasping at straws to solve the problem. Unsure if it's hormones, perimenopause, emotional strain, fatigue, or just a character flaw, I keep waiting for the tide to turn (literally and metaphorically). After the last few months, I'm beginning to doubt that change will come, and trying to resign myself to presenting a wet face to the public. The kids (and husband) will just have to adjust - and bring Kleenex.