Family / Life with Jesus / Love and Marriage

Unsolicited Advice for My Sister #5: It’s Okay to Cry

There was alot of crying in my family growing up. Not because we were all abused or sad- just because we had alot of feelings. Specifically, there were tears when we were feeling  really happy, scared, angry, sad, touched, ashamed, sentimental, and insane (thus the patented Feemster laugh-cry). The other day Leah called me to ask me about some mundane thing and I told her that I was going to miss her (their plan is to move to Nashville, which is not in Texas and not even in Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama). True to form, I started crying. She held it together for most of the conversation and then she said, “Okay, I have to go before I start weeping.” See? A big ole’ family of cry babies.

I read an interesting journal article for school yesterday (School interesting? Shocking, I know.) It was about transitions in our lives. The author quit his teaching profession, moved his family out to the country, and then had a meltdown. To cope with his angst, he led a class about transitions. It was a class for people that have had all sorts of upheavals in their lives. There was a new mom in there that was having trouble with the transition from non-mom to stay-at-home-mom. She felt guilty and ashamed for having moments of “Why the heck did I do this?” She missed her old pre-baby life but didn’t feel like anyone really wanted to hear about this. She was both happy and sad about the baby, for different reasons.

The author of the article then talked about the chapters in our lives and how we grieve when they come to an end, even if we’re supremely excited about what comes next.  I can’t imagine how many times I’ve said to new parents, “Don’t you just love it?” and they feel socially obligated to say, “Yes! It’s the best thing ever” when really they just need someone to hear them say, “It’s so so much harder than I thought. I miss hanging out with my friends. I miss having time that is my own. I miss not having to smell someone else’s poop everyday. Etc.”

It just struck me that lots of times, we’re afraid to be honest with people. It’s not healthy and it’s not helpful. Most people can handle it, although they might try to brush away your feelings by saying, “Let go and let God” or “It’ll all work out for the best”. I know that these people are trying to be nice but everyone already knows that. When did our culture stop allowing people to be both excited and afraid? Happy for one thing but mourning the loss of another?

My advice to you, sister-bear, is:

It’s okay to be afraxcited (afraid/excited) about things.

Graduating from college is a big deal. People will say, “Oh, what do you want to do next?” It’s okay to tell them you have no idea and you’re feeling uneasy about it. Moving to another state is a big deal. It’s normal to be anxious about it too. Getting married is a HUGE deal. You might have some transitional mourning of your single life, but that’s okay. When you call lamenting about how Nashville isn’t as awesome as Texas is or how Tyler SHOVES YOUR PRECIOUS, PRISTINE, PILLOW UNDER HIS ARMPIT WHEN HE THINKS YOU AREN’T LOOKING (ahem, Alex), your real friends will know that you just need to mourn a little and then you’ll be okay.

Yes, I am sad that you are moving six states away and won’t be available when I go home to Abilene but I’m also really super excited to see what God does in this next chapter of your life.

Ain’t no shame in telling the truth, little sister. It’s okay to be two things at once.

(The {Unsolicited} Advice for My Sister series (or UAFMS) is meant for my younger sister who will be getting married in June. As her older sister, it is my duty to give her advice that she did not ask for. At least in blog form, she can choose to ignore it. If you want to read other blogs in this series, click on the “unsolicited advice” tag at the bottom of this post.)

One thought on “Unsolicited Advice for My Sister #5: It’s Okay to Cry

  1. Just discovered your blog on a link in Leah’s FaceBook when I went to see if she had posted any news lately. I loved the first two I read and you echoed all my feelings and any advice I could ever give. She is so fortunate to have you to talk to and receive advice from (unsolicitated or otherwise). BTW, we love and adore your baby sister and are so happy she will soon be part of our family even though we have mixed emotion about the move to Nashville.
    Nancy (aka, Nana)

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