...very often. I'm just not hardwired for it. When I was a little girl my mom called me "Hard-Hearted Hannah" because I didn't cry while watching Old Yeller. She tested me by giving me the most heart-wrenching children's books she could find. Heidi left me bored (to tears! ha!) after the first couple of chapters. I felt the same about Little Women (though I LOVED it as an adult, I still didn't cry at the sad parts). I read Where the Red Fern Grows--no tear stains on those pages--and Across Five Aprils, again no tears.
I'm not hard-hearted, or cruel, or unfeeling, though some people think that, I know. I just don't cry very often, but when I do it's because I have been touched in a way that surprises me and out bursts tears, sniffles, and sometimes gut-wrenching sobs. Every time I start crying, it surprises me, and I know that my feelings at that moment are deep and real.
The books that HAVE made me cry? Fair and Tender Ladies, on the 3rd reading, I bawled with Oakley died (sorry for the spoiler). The Four Spirits had me wracked with sobs at midnight on a school night when David was out of town. I feared waking the kids I was sobbing so loudly. Elegance of the Hedgehog ended with tears streaming uncontrollably down my face, onto my neck and soaking the top part of my blouse...and I'd read ahead and knew what was going to happen.
...and today I cried while reading "What Her Hands Won't Do" by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot). Her exploration of her feelings of profound loss of her friend Lene's ability to knit, moved me in a way that doesn't happen often. But the thought of not being able to do the things that make living tolerable is scary, very scary indeed. Stephanie examined the anxiety she felt taking her friend's yarn, and in the process understood why her friend was sending the yarn to her. As Lene explained her intention for each yarn in her stash, Stephanie made mental notes to do those projects in honor of Lene and her loving intentions. The experience of knitting those projects had to be cathartic for Stephanie. I know that her essay was touching.
So, thank you Stephanie for bringing tears to my eyes this morning. For making me feel the loss and pain that you felt upon working through this difficult experience with your friend. I appreciate your sense of humor and your thoughts about knitting and being a Knitter, but this essay shows the depth of your compassion.