If your’e going to be emotional, might as well do it in front of a room of four year-olds who might not remember it later.

Over the past few weeks, Thalia’s school has had these “all about me” days in which each child gets to show the class some of her favorite things, read her favorite book, and for all I know lie back in a lounger being fed grapes by some bare-chested Disney character or something.

One of the other components is that the parents have to write a letter to their child.

Then come in. And read it.

To their child.

To everyone.

While I spend a good chunk of my time writing about Thalia here, I had yet to be faced with the daunting task of writing something about her, for her and read it right to her.

Which of course I did with tears streaming down my face as I rambled on about how proud I was of her and how far she’s come and how she makes everyone in her life so spectacularly happy. Man, it was brutal.

I couldn’t get the words “you’re a big girl now” out of my mouth and I just kind of did that stupid thing where I sputtered and smiled and fake fanned myself in front of a dozen kids and their teachers.

Why do we do that stupid fanning thing when we cry? Why do we wave our hands back and forth towards our chins like Janice from Friends? I need to put an end to that, stat. Because as it turns out, it doesn’t make the tears stop. Not even one bit.


36 thoughts on “If your’e going to be emotional, might as well do it in front of a room of four year-olds who might not remember it later.”

  1. Awww. I’ve always wondered that too. Maybe because it’s better than wiping your snotty face on your sleeve? Which, incidentally, is what I do.

  2. Wait until you have to watch her perform in her kindergarten mother’s day performance. Be prepared with a box of kleenex for that!

    She looks incredibly proud!

  3. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I still don’t understand why your tag line is “I don’t know what I’m doing either” because CLEARLY you do.

    You love your girls to bits and you maintain an fabulous sense of self and humour. What else is there to know?

  4. aawww, so much love! the crying and the fanning? totally something i would do. don’t know why crying people fan themselves either. maybe they’re trying to wave the tears away.

  5. We do it because the fanning is has so much more cachet than pulling out one of those battery-operated hand-held fans.

    I’m one of those people who cries as someone reads the note I put in their birthday card — even if they’re reading it <>silently<>. I can’t imagine having to do the “read your letter to the class” thing.

    The fact that you could get to the end just makes you a little more like super-mom in my book… 😉 with an attitude, of course, and a lot of love.

    – Julia at Midwest Moms

  6. Ahh. So sweet and yet, SO BRUTAL. At least it doesn’t sound like you made the ugly-cry face, which would be my worst fear at a reading like that.

    I’m curious how the other moms did. Did anyone else need to fan?

  7. I believe the fanning of the face is related to the waving of the Polaroid (sadly soon to become extinct). Neither makes sense, but must be done.

  8. Oh but honestly, what COULD stop the tears at a moment like that? Beautiful. It goes so crazy fast, doesn’t it?

  9. Yep, the kindergarten year is brutal — chock full of opportunities to cry in public and fan your face uselessly.

    I ducked into the Saturday morning service last week, for a break from the tot-ness of Tot Shabbat, and caught the bar mitzvah girl’s Torah reading and had hot tears in my eyes — for a girl I don’t know at all! I’m going to be a blubbering mess in… oof, just seven years.

  10. oh how sweet! I think we fan our face when we cry because we don’t want to wipe our eyes, causing our mascara to run?!?!? Sounds like a good reason to me…Just wait until she get promoted to a higher grade and new school, I cried when my son graduated from 8th grade, because that ment I had a high schooler that I wasn’t ready for!

  11. There is no way I would be able to read a “love letter” to my daughter without crying. Any of them..the 6 year old OR the 16 year old’s letter would make me cry a river. How brave of you! And how special she must feel!

  12. Just imagining having to do that makes me tear up – and my daughter is only 18 months old and I am very proud of the fact that I’m great at keeping it together. But man, that’s a tough one! And you’re right – four year olds won’t remember, probably.

  13. That is too cute. My husband always asks about the face-fanning thing. I don’t know either. Do we think the tears will just dry up???

  14. I saw a guy on Oprah once (trying not to cry yet clearly welling up) try a different technique: he pinched the skin directly under his eyes and sort of pulled it out, so the tears might fall back in. Odd, yes, but it seemed to help.

  15. Have you ever read the book, “Maybe My Baby”? My kids are 7 and 9, but when I used to read them this silly picture book I would get choked up and often cry. I still get choked up thinking about it. And trust me, the kids still laugh at me about it. So don’t think your daughter is going to forget this even if she’s only 4!

  16. OMG, they make you read something like that in FRONT of everybody…?! What kind of sado-masochistic pre-school is this?! I would be a sobbing weeping mess by the end of that…so there’s no way you could have been the only one…

  17. Well fortunately we only read it in front of the kids and the teachers – there’s one kid per day.

    If I had to do that in front of the other moms I’d have been way more emotional. And probably spent way more time writing the piece. Heh.

  18. Oh god, I would lose my shit too if I had to do that. I love the idea though! And I’m totally sure your letter was wonderful.

    Also? I cry at commercials – I’m a huge sucker.

  19. I loved your last comment about spending more time writing it if the other parents had been there.

    That is a brutal exercise! I think my oldest would’ve refused to let me in the room. She already rolls her eyes when I’m reading something to her and my voice changes (it sounds thicker right as the tears start to form). Once, when reading a book to her in the library, she practical left the kids’ area because I was quite literally sobbing as I tried to finish the flipping thing.

    I’m sure you did a lovely job and the teachers are probably quite used to seeing a lot of fanning. Just wait when you get to do it all over again for Sage!

  20. I think Melani is on to something. The vigorous fanning probably has something to do with a panicked attempt to dry mascara before it runs. Men certainly don’t do the fanning.

  21. I would be bawling too, especially with the preggo hormones right now. I bet she will cherish that letter though…

  22. Oh that’s harsh! How could any mom not cry doing something like that? I’m a mess crying at little things all the time…I’d hate to see what I was like doing that! Although I did sing in church last year for Mother’s day with my daughter…a very sappy song about mother’s love…all while due to have a baby in just another week or two. That wasn’t easy either.

  23. Dude. I have High School graduation coming up in two weeks! I’ll be fanning for all it’s worth.

    In fact, I probably need to get others to come fan me as well. Are you available?

  24. I think if you did the fanning for long enough, the tears would evaporate leaving only a trail of salt and mascara as evidence. But that might take a long long time. Sending hugs. And stifling a tear.

  25. It’s to dry the tears before they have a chance to hit your cheeks, obviously.

    Also, I’ve failed your word verification four times now and I AM HUMAN.

  26. No way could I get through something like that without crying. Just reading your post got me choked up.

  27. omg that would kill. me. dead. because as you are, i am ridiculously and utterly in love with my kid. I wouldn’t be able to get two words out before i started embarrassing the crap out of her i think. sigh. that’s so nice.

  28. that is the exact description of what i do/how i look when i read “i love you forever”

    i couldn’tve said it better.

    very sweet- and just wait. i’m sure there’ll be more of these as she gets older. (practice now)

  29. So been there. We recently had to do MY CHILD IS SPECIAL BECAUSE…and they posted them on the window of the classroom for everyone to see, so I stop off to read them. One of the family’s starts off “The reasons A. is special are as many as there are stars in the night sky.” Maybe I am PMSing but these things make me well up EVERY TIME. (Why do I insist on reading them, then? Who knows.)
    Also good? Go on a tour of a new school looking for a better place for your hard-headed, incredibly smart but trying 4 year old; watch a huge bunch of perfectly-behaved, serious, beautiful 5 year olds in a circle singing and signing to a song they’re preacticing for their pre-K graduation. Then start crying. Then want to sign your kid up there, and hope the director will forget your apparent lack of emotional control.
    Parenting! What a ride!!

  30. LOL… I thought it was just me. Heck I cry during the Lifesaver commericals… so this would be difficult as well. I always wear sunglasses to school functions- just in case.

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