when i was in grad school i had a friend who told me he knew it was time to up his meds when he was reduced to tears by at&t commercials — you know, the “reach out and touch someone” ads with the catchy jingle and soft-edged images of loving children calling aging parents…that sorta thing.  he could barely stand to see, much less consider, such intensely desired human contact,  or the longing and affection that are implied by wanting to reach out, or even the idea that someone was there to be touched on the other end. it was just too much for him.

for my part, insensitive girl that i was, i thought crying over a television commercial was bathetic. i was also young and inexperienced enough in things that really matter that i thought meds were for fools who couldn’t get ahold of their lives. (i’ve learned, in mostly hard way(s), to stop being such a judgmental bitch.)

one of the ways i’ve learned this lesson is by going through the early roller-coaster days of pregnancy upwards of half-a-dozen times. in later stages, when my nausea is so unbearable that thinking about food makes me dry-heave, i am unable to watch shows like 24 or csi: anything with fast camera-cutting-action and bodily trauma (not to mention gore) sends my head and tummy spinning. but in these early stages? yeah, you guessed it: tv makes me cry.

over the weekend i could barely get myself out of bed, i was so weighed down with exhaustion and nausea. so i did something i hope will not become a habit (but which may, in which case i will have to learn, once again, not to be so damn judgmental): i hunkered down with m in front of the tv and watched movies — ones we’ve dvr’d and really need to erase but which i feel i should watch first. during the movie-fest m was content to play with me and occasionally glance at the action on the screen. but me? i was fighting tears the whole time.

it didn’t help that because i said so depicts countless scenes of a mother and her three beautiful, successful, happy daughters having a great time doing girly stuff: trying on clothes, going shoe-shopping, singing together in what was obviously a long-standing family tradition. when i wasn’t despairing because my relationship with my  own mother isn’t like that, i was feeling sorry for myself that two of my three daughters are dead. if they had lived, would we all grow up to actually have fun in dressing rooms instead of feeling anxious because we don’t like the way we look in the mirrors? would we really have enough joie de vivre to try on ridiculous, totally impractical shoes and imagine the kinds of places where we might want to wear them?

it didn’t matter, not one jot, that i understand the power of images and the pull of stereotypes and the simplicity of movie-life and that none of those things ever ever mirror our realities but instead play on them in mutiple ways designed to make us feel bad, mostly so we will change our lives by purchasing some sort of something. nor did it matter that i am so happy and even, dare i say it, relieved that i am NOT close to my mother, since i have learned over many sad and difficult years that it’s not that she doesn’t like me, per se, it’s that she doesn’t like women, and so there isn’t ever really any getting close to her and if you do, by chance, move in and decrease some of that space she will eventually make you pay for it in some public and painful way. nor did it help that i know my kid(s) and i will have our own traditions and ways of being happy together — nor even that m and i already have our own traditions and ways of being happy together. i could go so far as to remember that i don’t need to look forward to one day being nostalgic, i can enjoy what i have because in many ways it’s very, very good.

but i still cried. i couldn’t help it. i couldn’t intellectualize or joke or insult my way out of it.

and don’t get me started on the last holiday, when ll cool j flies from new orleans to prague to find queen latifah and tell her he loves her and wants to spend every last minute of her life with her, even though she is dying and they might only have a few days…and then they find out that she ISN’T dying and oh boy, hold the phone, but the tears fell fast and hard.

it’s strange to have so little control over my emotions, and to cry so easily, and to cry over things that are touching but so obviously contrived. but it’s hard, too. there is some comfort in the knowledge that it’s a great sign for me, that combined with the nausea and exhaustion it means the pregnancy is progressing well. and there is some comfort in the reminder that i have to remember that what my body is doing is beyond my control, that i have to let go and let my body do its thing. (there is not much comfort in the knowledge that sometimes what my body does is terrible and heartbreaking, but i’m learning to live with that, too.) but i guess for now i can cry at the movies and hope that that’s the worst thing i have to cry about for a long, long time to come.