Lately I’ve been crying.

A lot.

Frequently in my car while I am driving to my office. The always remarkable Montana sunrise plentiful in shades of pink and purple can conjure the waterworks, as do the unbelievable mountain vistas.

Melodious tunes mingled with emotion summon unconscious tears. Occasionally I will choose a local Christian station for inspiration to carry me through my workday. Most recently, as I build our wedding playlist, it is not without a box of tissues handy.

The drops of pride flow when I joyfully grasp the progress my kids and I have made since one day 5 ½ years ago when death became more appealing than life. The months prior to my emotional demise were abundant with turmoil, depression, anxiety, rage and a notable measure of careless parenting.

Many years ago my sister and I would puzzle as to why my dad cried often and freely. Waging bets if he would cry upon our arrival at the airport in Las Vegas; delighted to see his daughters. He was a strong man of gentle manners; confident in his emotions in his mid-life until his last days. Emanating while presenting the tale of another person’s triumph or tragedy. Unabashed at his vulnerability and oftentimes unable to conclude his story overcome with sentiment. His memories, sporadic at the end of his life, were another trigger for tears. Those with delight occasionally accompanied by remorse.

Today I get it.

I am pondering how I am going to make it through my wedding without a stream of mascara rolling down my cheeks. As I consider how to express my vows on that biggest of big days, I cry already.

I cry when I think of walking down the aisle on my big brother’s arm.

I cry when I think of seeing my two daughters representing me on my side of the nuptial stage.

I cry when I think of Clay accompanied by his dad and daughter waiting at the end of the aisle.

I cry because I can.

It was not so long ago I felt absolutely nothing. No emotions. Numb to the good, the bad; I was adept at creating copious amounts of the ugly. The moment some kind of tangible consciousness emerged, I doused it with alcohol. Unable to accept the responsibility of facing my fears and sitting through any amount of human discomfort.

I could not celebrate the gifts.

I could not allow the discomfort of grief and heartbreak.

I would have none of it.

I’ve wondered lately if all these waterworks are a result of just getting older and softer in my mid-life. Or if sobriety has allowed me to feel all the feels. Allowing me to embrace the anticipation of my marriage. To celebrate the successes of my daughters as they wade through life. To grieve the losses of my dad, my aunt, and countless relationships I have outgrown.

I believe it is a blessing of both.

Today I seize my sappiness. I love crying because the sky is pretty. I embrace the tears that fall as I watch my autistic daughter slay another day in her world. I love realizing that my oldest daughter has a soul that is as beautiful as the sky and is confident on her path.

Bring on the wedding and so what if I cry my way through it.

It is with pride that I cry.

The kids laugh when I can’t read a Hallmark card out loud; or when I stand in the greeting card aisle at the store with eyes full of water.

I don’t care.

Because the truth is, I do care. A whole bunch. I am able to feel things now.

Big time.

My life is full. My love is real. My gratitude bountiful.

I am cleansing my past.

Accepting my present.

Gratefully anticipating my future.

I am sober.

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