Turn it off!


I’m a crier.

I can’t help it, I just am. Always have been, probably always will be.

Once, years ago, a group of friends and I went to the movies, and a trailer for a sappy dog flick flashed onto the screen. I couldn’t help it, I teared up. The not-so-sentimental friend next to me looked at me in horror and shouted, “Are you CRYING AT A PREVIEW?!”

Why yes, yes I was.

I also cried at every drippy long-distance commercial that used to air on TV back when people used landlines and phones to talk to people. I always lose it at any and all Disney movies and one particularly touching episode of “Home Improvement” and from the second “Lady Bird” started flickering on the screen.

So, as that little chiquita — pictured above on her very first day of kindergarten in the special visor she made during a home visit with her teacher a week before school started — prepares to graduate from high school TODAY and head off to a great adventure in another state that is not her room, you would think I would be a slobbery mess.

Nope. Not yet.

I’ll let you in on my secret: “The Book of Mormon” and one song in particular….

I got a feelin’ that you could be feelin’
A whole lot better than you feel today
You say you got a problem
Well, that’s no problem
It’s super easy not to feel that way

When you start to get confused
Because of thoughts in your head
Don’t feel those feelings, hold them in instead

Turn it off like a light switch
Just go, click
It’s a cool little Mormon trick
We do it all the time 

I start trimming photos from the past four years to stick onto her tribute board that will be on display in the gym during grad night and get a little choked up… No way! Not gonna cry.

When you’re feeling certain feelings
That just don’t seem right
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light

And turn ’em off, light a light switch
Just go back
Really, what’s so hard about that
Turn it off, turn it off

“I got my yearbook today!” No. 1 says, holding it out to me.

I flip through the pages and catch a glimpse of a senior ad featuring twins who were classmates both in middle and high school. They’re wearing backpacks on what is very obviously their first day of kindergarten. They’re smiling so broadly you can see they still have their starter Chiclet teeth. It’s such a strict contrast to the mature, grown adults in the next picture. I feel the salty water fill my eyes…

Turn it off like a light switch
Just go flick
It’s our nifty little Mormon trick
Turn it off, turn it off

I do just that — flick it off and focus on my to do list: order the cake, help set up the gym for the grad night party, hand out wristbands at rehearsal, put together a menu for a family dinner post graduation. So far I’ve been delightfully detached. Turns out repressing emotions is a beautiful thing!

But I’m just a little afraid of what’s going to happen tonight when I go to snap off the light and discover the bulb’s shorted out from all that on-and-off action. Gulp. I’m definitely bringing along a congested-family-of-seven-sized box of Kleenex because, I’ll let you in on another secret, I’m not Mormon.

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