Why My Daughter’s Crying Made Me Proud

Our nearly-three-year-old daughter mostly cries for legitimate reasons. Like, she doesn’t just cry just to get attention. She cries because she genuinely wants something, or is trying to get us to do something she can’t yet communicate.

It’s fall, and we like to celebrate that in our house in any way we can. We’ve got the pumpkins out, the glass turkeys, and soon the house will be smelling like butterbeer and apple cinnamon stuff.

We’re already playing Christmas music to hype the kids up. This is the first year they’ll be old enough to understand the concept of Santa (who’s currently called Ho-Ho-Ho).

There aren’t really fall movies. Except one that we try to watch this time of year, which is still a freakishly good movie:

We put in Homeward Bound yesterday for the kids for the first time. I was at the dining room table drafting a new book or something, Sarabeth was on the couch presumably birthday gift shopping for me on her phone, and Katherine, our aforementioned nearly-three-year-old, was standing in the living room watching the dogs-and-cat movie. Our son might have been in time out because he’s still learning to obey his parents.

Suddenly, as I was working, I realized something was wrong. It was quiet.

Too quiet.

I looked up at my daughter and she had the most pathetic, heart-breaking look on her face I’ve ever seen on any kid in my life.

Her eyes were red, her bottom lip was jutted out (and quivering), and her eyebrows slanted down the sides of her eyes. Nothing had fallen on her, the weather didn’t shift, literally nothing had changed around us to cause such a sudden display of emotion.

Except this:


I looked at the movie on the screen and it was the scene where the family was leaving Shadow, Chance, and Sassy behind. Hugs. Promises. Driving away. Tears.

My daughter, who has never shown more emotion during a movie other than dancing along with Walter and Kermit in The Muppets  and fist-bumping me like Baymax during Big Hero Six, showed the deepest remorse for these new animal friends of hers.

It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

So I held her and rocked her and she cried. A lot. And I hugged her some more. I knew how she felt. In fact, I knew exactly how she felt. Because, in that moment, my daughter and I built another bond: Homeward Bound was the first movie ever cried in as well.

Even though it made my little girl cry, I was totally proud of her, because it meant she’s growing up. She’s able to follow plot points now and recognize emotional arches in a story. As an author, I couldn’t be any more proud of my daughter’s broken heart.

The movie didn’t hold her attention until the end (and how could it when your brother is running around with a balloon?) but I did make it a point to show her the ending when we woke up this morning so that she knew the outcome of yesterday’s parting turned out okay.

The look on her face was just as priceless when Peter hugged Shadow and all was well once more in my little girl’s world.

(Wait. Peter. Shadow. Is that some metaphor for Peter Pan losing his …shadow??)

May everything always be well in my little girl’s world, and if it’s not, may she endure the adventures to get there.



About Andrew Toy
I'm in the beginning stages of starting my own publishing company that's unlike anything you've ever heard of in the industry. The direction of AdoptingJames is taking a 90-degree turn and will be more writing/publishing-focused. Stay tuned for huge updates and exciting news!

4 Responses to Why My Daughter’s Crying Made Me Proud

  1. Julia says:

    You are definitely doing something right in raising your children. You should feel proud! I wish more people had empathy like that. 🙂

  2. sfgarbagefire says:

    1. As a “Thanksgiving” movie Homeward Bound makes total sense.
    2. I remember the emotional gut punch I got as a child watching this movie, it was about as bad as watching Corduroy movie as a kid. ***FEELS***
    3. “(Wait. Peter. Shadow. Is that some metaphor for Peter Pan losing his …shadow??)” OH GOD WHY!!!!!

    Sounds like you got a good bunch on your hands.

  3. Precious post. You are right to be proud of your daughter. I’m proud of both of you! God bless. May you have many more years of laughter and tears – more tears of joy than sadness.

  4. thewriteedge says:

    Oh, Homeward Bound! Haven’t seen that movie in ages!

    My younger daughter had a similar reaction to the wonderful movie “Hatchi.” She cried at the end when she watched it for the first time about three years ago and STILL refuses to watch it.

    It’s a good flick, by the way, with Richard Gere in the lead role and a loyal dog by his side. Based on a true story too. I think it might be on Netflix. Definitely check it out!

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