It might have been because I’d been working in the hot garden all morning. Maybe it was because I’d been looking at old family pictures with my cousins and remembering people and places that didn’t exist anymore. It could have been because an old friend’s mother died and I went to another funeral on Saturday morning.
It could have been any of several things that caused me to have a little meltdown on Sunday afternoon, right before I left my parents’ house. It came out of nowhere after I’d put my vintage train case and the rest of my stuff in the Jeep. I was saying good-bye to my parents and the tears squeaked out. Before I knew it, I was crying a river.
Sniffle, sniffle, sob “so much work…Big Corporation.”
Boo hoo hoo “haven’t had time to finish selling The Coop…never going to make it home…” whaa, whaa, whaa.
Sniffle, sniffle, “garden looks horrible…Japanese beetles eating my sunflower leaves.”
A whole new round of crying began.
I fully expected to get the “pull yourself together” routine from my father, Mr. Stoic.
Helen’s lines should have been “you’re overtired.”
Instead, my mother gave me a big hug and then gently reminded me of all the wonderful things that were happening in my life:
“Hasn’t your picture been in the local papers three times for the Moxie Recipe contest?”
I quietly nodded.
“Didn’t you organize a beautiful and special party for your father’s 80th birthday?”
I nodded again in the affirmative.
“Don’t you have lots of good friends and not just on Facebook?”
She was right of course.
“Look at how many peas you grew this summer and how much Uncle Bob liked them.”
I couldn’t help but laugh a little bit at that one; Oprah Winfrey couldn’t have come up with a better gratitude list for me even if she knew me. I stopped crying.
Then, completely unprompted, my father broke his stoic German pattern and gave me a big hug too. He said “you’re going to be just fine. I know you can do it.”
I wiped my tears, said the rest of my good-byes, and set my face like flint for the southbound lane of the Maine Turnpike on a late Sunday afternoon of a long holiday weekend.