At the risk sounding like a stand-up comedian, what is it with women and crying? And just as a reminder, yes, I’m woman, and crazy as it sounds, I love a good cry once in a while. I’ve had plenty of not-so-good ones, but now and then, I don’t mind when something triggers the crying reflex.
A week or so ago, my sister-in-law posted on Facebook, asking for recommendations to good tearjerker movies. I recommended “PS, I Love You” and “Toy Story 3”, or even as a standby, “Steel Magnolias”. About as diverse a group of movies as you can get, but I loved those movies, and I cried heavily through each of them. “PS I Love You” is fairly obvious, and I took the subject matter of a widow on the road to recovery–triggered by her late husband’s desire that she move on–as my theme in “Comfort Zone”. Not that I did a better job of it than they did, but hey, I gave it a shot. And while “Steel Magnolias” is funny most of the time, that end scene with Sally Field still sucker punches me right in the gut. I think it’s also where I decided I wished I looked like Julia Roberts.
But “Toy Story 3” is personal to me. I won’t spoil it (much), but we all know, the story revolves around Andy going to college. Mind you, my kids and I have grown up with Andy in innumerable ways. Ryan was just a baby when “Toy Story” came out, and Alex didn’t exist yet. Ryan was too small to see it in the theaters, so we rented the VHS and eventually bought it. (I think we’re on our 3rd copies at this point.) He had the Buzz and Woody dolls from Burger King; I ran out in the snow to go get them, and true to form, Ryan took Woody everywhere, tapping Woody’s plastic boots on every grocery store shelf, every countertop, every surface he could make noise on. Buzz got attention too, but not quite as much (and even less when his voicebox stopped working, but hey, Buzz doesn’t like to take baths). Woody was clearly the favorite.
One of the unfortunate things I picked up from that movie was the whole animating-inanimate-objects thing. I used to do that before, as a kid myself, but “Toy Story” took me to a different level, to the point where I’d arrange the boys’ stuffed animals in ways I thought they’d find more comfortable. Not the boys, the toys. I was pretty damn sure (and I still am today) that when we’re not looking, the toys are hanging out, doing their own thing, playing the radio and dancing, waiting for us to return and be played with. The toys we shipped off to the storage unit…well, that still breaks my heart wide open. I apologized to Jess and RC when I shut the door. I even situated them on top of everything else, so they wouldn’t be stuffed in a box, buried under outgrown clothes. The Transformers were probably better, kept contained.
Both the boys were old enough when Toy Story 2 came out, so we went to the theater to see it, and I came out thrilled that this was the first sequel movie that actually exceeded the first, which was not easy to do considering I thought Toy Story was amazingly well written. Last year, they ran a Toy Story double feature, and we were all over that. (Even the intermission film was entertaining!) When I heard Toy Story 3 was coming out, I was jazzed; nothing short of a monsoon would keep me away, and we saw the 10:30 showing on opening day.
As I said, you know the story revolves around Andy going away to college. To this movie, I took my now 15 year old Ryan. He grew up during this series, and now he’s talking about going away to college (but not about driving; not sure why). There were scenes in this movie that blew me away as a writer, for reasons I won’t go into because I’ll be too tempted to give it away, and trust me, this is something you’ll want to see for yourself. Anyway, the ending is, of course, Andy going away. I bawled for 15 minutes, non-stop. I went through my tissues, and when those ran out, I started on the napkins I’d gotten at the concession stand. When those were gone, I gave up and just used my hand. Ryan turned to me and said, “You’re crying? Why?” and I said, “Because you’re my Andy.” And here I go, crying again.
But I don’t mind! Really, it’s a good cry. (Yes, there is such a thing.) It’s a cry that means I’ve done my job, almost, and I did it well enough that he’s a thinking, feeling human being with a contribution to make to the world around him. Hopefully it’s not just in the form of McDonalds revenues. 🙂 Ryan grew up with these characters, and they’re moving on, and soon so will he.
This weekend I had one plan in mind: get myself an iPod dock/charger for the kitchen. For all the time I spend in there, I want some entertainment, something to make being in there worthwhile. I found it, I bought it, I brought it home, and it’s probably my best investment since the iPod. All week long, there’s been a song in my head that I wanted to hear, and I wanted to hear it on my iPod radio in the kitchen. This morning, as I was making breakfast, I finally turned it on: Darius Rucker’s “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”. I heard a snip of it as John flipped the OnDemand, and it reminded me how much I love that song, and I needed to hear it again.
So this morning, I put it on, made the coffee, got to the third part of the song, “Just watching her it breaks his heart, ’cause he already knows, it won’t be like this for long”, and cried. And I loved it. I pity people who don’t understand the meaning of “a good cry.” Maybe it means their emotions are stunted or buried, but I keep mine on the surface, right here on my sleeve. It’s a dangerous place to keep them, I know, but if you’re not feeling, you’re not living.
What gives you “a good cry”?