Around the tender age of 5, one day I got a balloon. It was beautiful, red and had helium inside it. Pretty special, that balloon. It had a string tied to it and I held that string tightly and watched it bob around in the wind. For little me it was amazing.
Thanks Mum. xx
But when I got home it bounced against something and popped.
My Mum had only been in my life for a short while then. Maybe a year. My biological Mother died when I was just a wee baby - and happily for my Dad and I, Mum came into our lives when I was 4. It was love at first sight for me. The first time I met her I asked if she was going to be my Mum and afterwards no one could persuade me not to call her that. And it wasn't like she was the first woman on the scene for Dad either (apparently I ignored the others). But luckily her and Dad were super keen on each other as well (and still are).
But I digress.
My memory of the balloon popping day is a little sketchy, as it's an early one, but I do remember feeling an overwhelming urge to cry and trying my very best not to. Even then I thought it was silly to cry over a popped balloon.
My Mum, sensing something was up, took me onto her knees and said quite gently, "Mary, sometimes it's okay to cry".
I allowed myself to cry (correction, howl) then. Unreservedly. And it was a huge relief. I hadn't known it was okay to let it out. I guess I thought people didn't cry over popped balloons or other such matters.
Mum held me in her arms while I sobbed because my red balloon had popped. And then after a time the sadness passed.
Nowadays I make more of an effort to cry if I feel it coming. In fact my ex boyfriend will confirm that on occasion I would come home and say "I need to have a lady cry". (Code for: cry without an earth shattering epic reason.) And he was great about it as well.
And I find most of the time it does pass.
Until the next balloon pops, of course. Life. So many balloons.
Anyway, that's the story of how I learnt to cry.
[Balloon Girl by Banksy, source here.]