Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Beauty of Tears

This week I have been exploring the beauty of connectedness and how often I take people and the way I feel about them for granted. For many of us, expressing our emotions is as easy as eating breakfast or in some cases, juicing. Although we may choose not to express them at times, if paying close attention, our eyes, our body language, or tone, etc. will give us away. Some of us cry when we are happy and sad so the context becomes important for others to understand our emotions. I don't know about you but for me, children have always been more free in expressing their emotions. At least until they have been reprimanded in public for "making a scene" and begin their long journey into the adult world of should and should nots. The expression of emotion becomes a catalyst for belief teaching and unfortunately many uneducated teachers believe they are experts on the subject.

Now, add in a dose of classic autism and totally freak most of the world out completely.

David had an incredible breakthrough this week. He cried uncontrollably for an incredibly long time after his 8 year old sister Aly left to spend the week at grandma's house for her winter break from school. Now, when I say cry, I mean cry. Lots and lots of tears, running around the house, closing himself in his room, slamming the doors to all the rooms, throwing himself on the ground, on the table, on the couch, and what most would describe as babbling nonsense to himself. It was quite a scene. The type of scene that would scare or embarrass most parents. For us, it was absolutely beautiful. For the first time in 7 years, David chose to visibly demonstrate his connectedness to his best friend, his sister. This was quite an amazing experience given the PhD who diagnosed him said he would never express emotion or have relationships with people and at first, we believed her. David was so far into his own fascinating world a few years ago, we weren't actually sure he knew any of us existed, most of all his big sister.

What I realized in this moment is that not only do I not throw tantrums and cry uncontrollably when someone I love leaves, I barely express any emotion at all. All those great teachers throughout my life have sold me beliefs about "properly expressing emotions" and I bought them all. Not even at a discount. I am now learning that I paid full price for withholding love and expressing openly how I feel about people. I have all this love bottled up inside but hold myself back from expressing it because of "what others will think". I am looking forward to our next family gathering where I plan to throw the tantrum of a lifetime.

Love to all,


  1. Can't wait to tantrum together! Love you so much! (and also your not so little anymore munchkin!)

  2. Kathy,
    Every day after returning from her time with David, Iris excitedly shares her experience, what she's learned, what David did and what David didn't do, what his interests were, how he responded to her. I feel like I know him well even though our direct interaction is limited.

    When I read your words today, I was move to tears myself. How wonderful.


  3. Iris and Mark, I love you more than words can express!

  4. Wow, Kathy. I'm so glad you shared this. It started me many things... about how much I don't express my love, about the value I placed on 'logical' thinking and distrust of 'emotional thinking' earlier in life... I've been reading so many great books with the kids and finding myslef wanting to cry as I read aloud, and holding that back, as if my bursting into tears is something to be avoided. I htink about my reactions to teh children's tears, determining if they are justified ("is that a good reason for tears??? let me tell you a good reason for tears!") so many thoughts. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to keep exploring this.


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