Don’t cry over no parking

My YMCA is in the midst of a remodel. Two weeks ago, they blocked off a third of the parking stalls and set up a couple modular buildings to serve as the construction headquarters. I’m very excited for the project to be finished. Partly because of the fabulous new pool and weight room, but more because I want my freakin’ parking lot back.

Last week, I arrived at the Y around my normal time to find that every single parking spot was filled. Well, all except the one right next to the massive truck who’s owner parked directly on the line – ensuring nobody would be able to park beside him. There were several cars already parked along the road so I had little hope that a spot would come available shortly. Still, I circled the parking lot several times and only after deciding that (since a class had JUST started) the likelihood of someone pulling out was about nil, headed home. I’d only been out of the lot about 30 seconds when Madison (my 2 year old) started sobbing in the backseat. “I want to go to the GYM” she pleaded, big tears rolling down her cheeks. She would not be consoled. Apparently it doesn’t matter to her that I have to lug her brother-in-car-seat with one hand, while death gripping (to keep her from being run over) her little fingers, and attempting to keep my gym bag from falling into the street to and from wherever we park. And that parking on the road and trekking in and out was NOT something I wanted to do. Nope. She didn’t care. It became quite obvious that I was going to have to turn around and go back. So I did. We parked on the road. I trudged thru the rain into the Y and worked out. And Madison was happy.

Yesterday, we had another YMCA parking lot issue. I arrived to find the lot full again, only this time, I noticed the gate leading into the construction area was open. I figured they wouldn’t leave the gate open unless you could park back there, and decided to pull into one of the stalls. After unloading Madison and heaving Donovan’s carrier over my free arm, we headed up to the main building. Just as I noticed the only set of stairs was on the opposite side of the fence, and thus I was trapped – I heard a voice saying “Ma’am? Um, you can’t park back here”. A man had come out of the modular and was walking towards me. “This is a construction area, you have to park on the other side of the fence”, he explained. I kindly let him know there was NO parking open on the other side of the fence, to which he responded – “Yeah, well…you can’t park back here.”. Terrific. So, I headed back to my car. Then I realized something…I was struggling to keep from crying. Yup. Big tears were welling up in my eyes as I fought for control of my emotions. Then it happened. Madison started sobbing again. Normally, I get upset when Madison cries for no real reason. I don’t know why it bugs me so much, but it does. I’ve tried teaching her that crying when she isn’t hurt, makes people not know when she’s really in pain or needing help – but it really hasn’t stopped the tears from flowing at pretty much the drop of a hat. Anyway – this particular instance of salty sadness from my daughter, timed perfectly with my own bout of unexplainable tears made me stop and think. Why is it women cry like we do?

In general, I consider myself to be a pretty emotionally in control person. I really hate to cry. I don’t cry at lame movies, sappy e-mailed videos about guys raising a lion cub or Lifetime stories. Actually, I’ve been accused of being pretty heartless and “dead inside”. Despite all this evidence, sometimes I still cry like a girl. When I say like a girl, I mean I cry for absolutely no real reason – I mean, just because there was no parking? That’s nothing to cry about! I’ve never seen my husband break down sobbing because someone told him he’d parked where he shouldn’t. And he’s a big softie. What self respecting man would cry at something like that? But women cry over silly things all the time. I’m sure you guys reading this would love to hear an reasonable argument for why women dissolve into tears and how you can either a) fix it or b) at least prevent it from happening – sorry…not gonna happen. After much thought and consideration I’ve decided – women sometimes just need a good cry. We deal with so many emotions in life. And as women, many of them are very complicated. In the struggle to sort out all the different feelings fighting inside, maybe we don’t recognize the value of crying – of just allowing ourselves to become a big sobbing, sniffling, pathetic ball of tears. We feel like there’s got to be an explanation, a purpose for the crying – but maybe we should just chalk it up to being of the female variety. Instead of forcing our emotions to remain below the surface until they bubble out unexpectedly, what if the solution is to cry more? Really. Just cry. I’ve been keeping a bunch of emotional heartache bottled up recently and I found this week that it builds up inside us and if we don’t allow ourselves the outlet, ultimately it’s gonna come pouring forth at a very inopportune moment – like when the construction guy is watching you drag your kids back to the car.

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