Sunday, January 10, 2010

Don't Cry For Me, Filomena

Lia Filomena Pizzeria Something-or-Other, in happier moments.
Isn't she cute?

My friend, Lia, was a mess in Relief Society today. Seriously. A complete disaster. I know that as she's reading this she's sticking pins in her DeNae doll and cursing me in Italian, but I speak the truth. She couldn't so much as raise her hand without bursting into tears, and a comment that may well have begun as an insightful and well-conceived idea came out as more of a soggy squeak.

"It's like, when you need help from your dad, and you know he'll rescuuuueek-squee-squeek-sniff-amen."

Poor thing. "Alvin and the Chipmunks Discuss the Plan of Salvation".

I take part of the blame. I got her going in Sunday School. We were talking about Joseph F. Smith's revelation regarding the Spirit World, and how sweet it was that of all the prophets who might have received that gift, it was given to the one who had lost his own father while a child of just four years old. And of course, he saw his father Hyrum Smith in that beautiful vision.

Great scott, she was bawling, I was bawling -- we were quite a pair. Although, for what it's worth, there were plenty of others backing us up on the 'waa-waa' pedal, including men. It was a remarkable performance from everyone involved. We're thinking of taking our show on the road.

Now, Lia has an excuse: She's hormonally insane, a condition more commonly known as "pregnant". That certainly wasn't the problem with the guys, and I can't claim that as my reason for the water works. Although there is nothing that would make me wail like a banshee faster or with more enthusiasm than a change in that particular status.

Anyway, as I was giggling on the other side of the room watching Lia reach for her twelve-thousandth Kleenex, I thought to myself, "She's having a fully successful Relief Society experience."

That's what my son David once called it. When the families make their way to the RS room after their classes dismiss, it's not hard to gauge exactly what kind of hour the women have had together. Those weeks when we emerge with puffy eyes and red noses and that "smilin' through the tears" look of tenderness plastered on our faces are the weeks my kid declares 'a hit'.

It wasn't always so. For a long time, our kids would show up after church, take one look around the Relief Society room, and start bawling themselves. They weren't sure what had happened, but clearly it was devastating.

"Did someone die?"


"Did someone hurt your feelings?"


"Was there a fight?"

"Not this week, sweetie. Maybe at Homemaking."

"Then why (sniff, sniff) are you all (gulp, gulp) crying?"

It wasn't until they hit their conveniently cynical teens that they finally believed that there was nothing wrong with their mothers. We were thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Could you imagine this among the men? Could you just see the High Priests draped over one another's shoulders, sobbing into their lapels and blessing each other's hearts?

Deacons? Teachers? Priests? Pffft. Don't make me laugh.

Young Women?

Well, now, that's a fish of a different kettle. Since they are YOUNG women, and therefore better not have the pregnancy excuse going for them, we can only call what goes on in their classes a 'dress rehearsal'. Sniffling and snuffling in the hall after class, their teachers surround them like hens and through their own sloppy tears assure them that 'it was the Spirit' that got to them.

(Someone probably showed that awful seminary movie "Cypher in the Snow", leaving the girls with no choice but to throw themselves from the first bridge they come to.)

And there is nothing more entertaining than watching the Young Men try to figure out why all the girls their age apparently lost their minds during the last hour of church. Everything had seemed fine in their combined Sunday School classes. The girls had played right along as the teacher set up the "Jeopardy" game on the board because he had, for the 52nd consecutive week, forgotten he had a calling.

But evidently, while the boys were practicing "The 200 Positions of Gumby, the Ninja Sloucher," in their Aaronic priesthood meeting, the girls had been sharing their feelings on the subject of reactivating their friends by sticking construction paper hearts all over their lockers, and it all just got to be too much.

You just want to scoop up those boys and say, "Get used to that dazed expression you're sporting. You've got sixty years of wearing it ahead of you."

Lia kept assuring me that she's not a crier. And yet her husband caught her weeping over a feminine hygiene commercial the other night. She brushed it off, telling him she's always been moved by quality advertising.

The bad news, girls, is that once the flood gates are opened, there is no closing them again. I don't even pretend not to cry during movies and television shows. If I thought I could get away with it, I'd just throw back my head and howl like a lunatic whenever the show gets a little emotional. "Mom, are you crying?" is now met with, "Yes, and you're all grounded for asking."

I just hope that Lia can embrace this new version of her. She's had one child already, so it isn't like she wasn't prepared for the whole "bawling because it's Thursday" deal.

And if nothing else, she now knows that if she ever needs someone to commiserate with, she can drop by the church.

We ladies will be there waiting for her, noses running and makeup smeared, having the time of our lives.


Kristina P. said...

My RS lessons must really suck! Or perhaps, I have a heart filled of stone and Gobstoppers. It's probably the latter.

Oh, but you stick me in front of "The Notebook", and I start crying faster than you can say, "Snuggie has gone out of business."

Migillicutty said...


You are so FUNNY!

(and that was very true. You should've heard us at Girls Camp last year... we almost put out the campfire)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I already loved you, and now I love Lia. YW a dress rehearsal? So true. And the confused "ninja slouchers"? Perfect.

Spot on. I knew I had grown up when I went from loathing relief society to shedding a tear or two. :)

Jen said...

I found your blog a little while ago and have been enjoying it immensely. But tonight... you made me laugh so hard I'm now worried I might have woken the children! Thanks for the laugh!

Hel said...

I gave a talk this Sunday just gone... using Pinocchio as a simplistic way of looking at our mortal probation.

I cried all the way through my story of pinocchio and then not a tear while I gave the rest of my talk (the real stuff). I can now testify that Pinocchio is true.

I love your Sunday School teacher comment. It made me laugh out loud because sometimes I DO forget that I have a calling. But it's only when I have a talk on Pinocchio.

Hel said...

ps. you posted a picture!!! Should I have cake to mark this occasion?

LiaFilomena said...

for the record, i didn't have any tissues - but as a resourceful mother of 1.5 children, i used my sleeve.
but really, i'm sure it's good for the skin to be bathed regularly in salt water. it's just like going to a spa. or the beach. i love the beach. don't you??

The Garden of Egan said...

Wow, I'm sure the church must be more true in Sin City that here.
Bless your hearts!

Lisa said...

It ain't a good Sunday if there ain't a good cry, and if you manage to emit the 'ugly' cry then it's an amaaaazing Sunday...

We had church in our new chapel last week on the temple grounds. It was so beautiful and amazing that I was crying in the parking lot before anything even started. My daughter's going to be in the TYC 'pageant' performing in front of the prophet (!) (at least they SAY he's coming)so I'm going to run out right now and buy a 100 boxes of tissues 'cause I know there's gonna be some 'ugly' crying going one!

L.T. Elliot said...

Gumby the ninja sloucher. Seriously, DaNae, you make me wet myself on a regular basis. I'll send you the bill for the bladder reconstruction surgery. =P

I rarely howl with tears but quality advertising does start up the faucet.

tammy said...

I woke up yesterday not wanting to go to church, not wanting to be the organist anymore, and silently wishing I could audition for a new one. Then I spent all of RS bawling too. The church is true because it makes us cry.

Thora said...

I usually don't cry in Relief Society, but I do tear up. I never cried at all (for years at a time), until I got pregnant with my first. Then the tearworks would start while I was driving on the freeway everyday going to work and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot would come on the radio, every single time, and I would start crying then. Even though I think the song is hokey. And from then it just got worse. Now on my third pregnancy, I tear up in Relief Society every week - but I haven't progressed to full on crying. Yet. I'm sure it's coming too. I'd like to blame the pregnancy hormones, but now I cry when I'm not pregnant too. I think this must be the curse that Eve was given. To need lots of kleenexes, even before they'd been invented.

Jessica said...

Your description of church is so hysterically accurate it is creepy, and it's making me cry.
I am a sympathetic crier as it is, I always say don't cry alone just look at me and I'm sure to join in. I'm not able to watch anything without the tissues nearby and my husband mocking me.

Ambrosia said...

I am laughing! Laughing so hard I can hardly type!

Mallory said...

It's posts like these that make me re-evaluate my dislike of being in Primary. Although, I would rather cry with a bunch of understanding women than to go home and cry to my husband about how little Miss Lucy Ann wouldn't shut up and she kept her skirt up and her hand down her stockings and how I don't think I will be able to handle the class this year!

Annette Lyon said...

YW and hormones--definitely RS dress rehearsal. My 12 1/2 year-old daughter is already to scary point. I've found her in her room bawling. I go in to comfort her and ask what's wrong.


GREEEEEAT. We're there already.

And I have two more girls coming up the pike. My poor son and husband.

Nutty Hamster Chick said...

I found myself thinking of the scene in Sleepless in Seattle where Meg Ryan and Rosie O'Donell cry over that movie An Affair to Remember, and the guys mock them by crying over Dirty Dozen. So funny and true.

Something is wrong with me lately and I don't seem to be able to cry like I used to. Who do I see about that?

aunt dyanne said...

Hammer.... Nail..... BAM!


Boomer Pie said...

I'd much rather laugh than cry and your "essays" are much funnier than Mose's. So I signed up to follow you. Stop by my place and return the favor...that's one of the Blogging commandments!

M-Cat said...

Oh you have nailed us Mormon's right down!
And while I miss RS and the sisters, I can honestly say, that YW is even more spiritual.
At least when I stop snacking during the lessons and pay attention.

MommyJ said...

So very true... except, I am NOT a hormonal, emotional basketcase, even though I am very much pregnant. So, stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

(perhaps I have anger issues instead?)

wendy said...

Dang -- I'd always hate it when I'd start bawling like a baby. No matter how hard I try, I can never hold back the tears.
I have a friend who is always so "composed" over everything it seems. She just has. it. together.
Not me.
that was indeed a funny post. I can relate.
sob, sob

donkeybray said...

Okay, that does it. I must leave a comment! Quite likely the most amusing, nay heartwarming, nay hilarious, not to mention true blog post I've read in many, many a month. I'm just sick that I don't have anyone to share it with! BTW, I do stalk you and enjoy your every post; just never felt "moved" enough to comment before. Thanks for all you write.

Gloria (The Mamafamilias) said...

Yea, so a couple of years ago (and I apologize if this is a repeat comment), my daughter caught my granddaughter, who wasn't quite 2 at the time, standing on a box "speaking" (she couldn't even say real words yet) into a "microphone", which was the handle of a Sizzix die cutter.

First, she would speak into her microphone, then raise her right hand and look around. Then she would speak and cry/sob and step down to get a Kleenex and wipe her eyes, and get back up and speak and cry again. It was so hilarious.

This is why Primary is such a good place for me to be. The only thing I cry over in Primary is how my upper arms jiggle when I direct the music.

For the record, my brother calls Fast Sunday the "Starve, Sob and Tell Your Story" Sunday.

InkMom said...

I have a vivid memory (down to the dress I was wearing) or a particular YW testimony meeting that ran over 15 minutes and caused all our families and male compadres to stand around outside our classroom scratching their heads. I have never, to this day, cried as hard over something so happy.

Also, I had to read this one aloud to my husband. He nearly split a gut about the ninja slouchers, too. Great imagery.

Momza said...

I LOVE RS...especially when sisters are "at one" with each other. It's what binds us that lifts us.

Kazzy said...

Sometimes a good cry is exactly what I need. And nothing is more bonding than crying with other women.

Kimberly said...

I miss Relief Society. Crying in Primary is a bad (though not uncommon) thing.

You're amazing. Warmed my heart and made me giggle all in one go.

Jessica G. said...

The one thing that I hate about crying in RS? No one will tell you when your mascara is all runny under one eye. So after the lesson, talking to the bishopric counselor, chatting with a couple dozen friends, after half an hour at home with your family, and then a trip to the bathroom, you discover you're unknown impression of a half-crazed raccoon completely by accident. Ugh.

JennyMac said...

Why I heart DeNae Reason #122:

Poor thing. "Alvin and the Chipmunks Discuss the Plan of Salvation".

AS Amber said...

Oh my heck. Top five, sister. This was so funny. I'm a bawlin' wreck these days! And I work on Sunday so I won't be able to bawl with my women.

Hopefully I can get some good tears in during Sacrament meeting.

Have fun with our mama this weekend! I hear you're going sledding. Now there's an activity that'll make me bawl for sure!

Love ya!

Amateur Steph said...

I laughed out loud all through your post. What perfect characterization of RS and priesthood and sunday school. And crying moms.
Today I was reading a book to my daughter and I just couldn't help but shed a tear when the little girl in the book was nice to another one. (I'm hormonally insane as well)

Molly Doe said...