When I was five or six, I saw the movie, Old Yeller, for the first time. I was an animal lover, and I had begged and begged and begged my parents to let me get a dog. The closest they came to granting my wish was letting me watch doggie-movies. Old Yeller, Lassie Come Home, etc.
I'm guessing 99.9% of you have either seen Old Yeller or have heard of it, so I won't be ruining anything when I say it has a horrendously awful, terribly sad, absolutely NO GOOD ending.
I cried for days afterward. 'Cause that's what I do, apparently (I cried for two weeks straight after seeing Episode III of Star Wars - the one where Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader - yeah, that one. I was 26 years old at the time).
At any rate, I vowed that I would never, ever, ever, NEVER, ever (does this remind you of Taylor Swift's recent really awful song?) torture myself through that story again.
Fast-forward 27 or 28 years. My daughter was flipping through an illustrated book of old Disney stories. She brought the book in to me and asked me to read a story.
"Which one, honey?"
"This one!" She pointed to a suspiciously familiar picture of a yellow dog fighting a bear.
"No," I said.
Apparently, vows that you make to yourself when you're five or six do not hold anymore when you have earnest, huge blue eyes blinking up at you... with cinnamon sprinkle freckles scattered across a button nose...
"Okay, darlin', but I want you to understand that it's kind of a sad story. You might get a little teary-eyed at the end. You still want to read it?"
"Yeah!" She settled herself into my side to listen.
So I read that story.
And then I thought, life isn't all sunshine and flowers. And my daughter will most certainly discover this at some point, probably sooner than later. I'd rather that she figures this out at my side than stumbling around blindly trying to figure it out somewhere else.
Sure, I love reading Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and happily-ever-after-warm-fuzzy stories. But sometimes, mommies need to cry with their daughters too.
Sometimes, a mommy's tears are more comforting than any words she could possibly say. My mommy and I have cried a lot together. I hope my daughter and I can do the same.