Oh, The Crying You Will Do

When I was in college, I took an intensive Italian class. I love learning languages. It’s like instant gratification learning. “Cane” means dog! “Biblioteca” means library! I knoooow things! Even counting feels like some new and exotic adventure, “Uno, Due, Tre..”

I’m actually quite good at this stage of languages. But when it comes to more complex communication, particularly conjugating verbs, I start to fall down. I am okay with this. My italian professor, a one Bar-bar-AH Spin-eh-li, was not.

I had been her star pupil up until this point. She loved my pronunciation, my excitement, my easy grasp of vocabulary. Our first quiz on past tense, and I began my rapid decent. She passed out the results from the exam and asked me to stay behind to talk.

Ah, Ostrich, mia bella regatza. You are my favorite student. But– how to say this– when I correct your quiz, I cry.

She proceeded to ask me if there were problems at home, and if my boyfriend was hitting me. (I could not make this up if I tried.)

I’ve told this story so many times, for varying reasons. 1) She is one of the most memorable professors I’ve ever had, and this is her crowning moment. 2) I use it as a way to demonstrate I’m okay with my own failures and imperfections. I have been so bad at something, I literally brought someone to tears. And I think it is hi-larious.

The phrase “When I XXX, I cry.” has now become part of my vernacular, and most people who know me know why. Now I that I am pumped with baby hormones, I have cause to use this more often than I care to. From this weekend alone:

  • When I watch The Snowman, I cry.
  • When I talk about names for my future children, I cry.
  • When I read “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Longfellow, I cry.
  • When I mop the kitchen floor, I cry.
  • When I listen to a podcast about the history of “Good King Wenceslas”, I cry.

Seriously, how do people get through an entire pregnancy without losing their sanity?



  1. C.L. · December 15, 2014

    I love when people ask me about my belly, but I am a little embarrassed that I tear up every time I talk about it!

  2. thecommonostrich · December 15, 2014

    Well, that seems like a good reason. Mopping a kitchen floor, however… That when I knew I had lost it.

  3. Katie · December 16, 2014

    Answer to your question: They don’t and you won’t ever get it back 😉

    • thecommonostrich · December 16, 2014

      Whaaat? That might just send me into another fit of tears! (Kidding, of course.)

  4. bionicbrooklynite · December 16, 2014

    How I wish I’d had that professoressa for more than the one, final semester of my Italian career! I might have learned something. Possibly not, since my grades did not improve the semester I had her, but I did stop panicking before class, as with the more terrifying Professoressa B. (First year, I had an all-too-soothing professore, and frequently fell asleep.) The more terrifying one did give me some fabulous fishnet stockings, though. Ah, college.

    To answer your question: you don’t. If you are very lucky, you get some of it back, eventually. I’m not sure if mine returned or if I just stopped caring, but it’s probably the second one. I think most of my ability to think is intact in the long run, but things were pretty ugly for a while there. Again, it’s possible that what’s actually happened is that I’ve become too dumb to realize how dumb I’ve become.


    • thecommonostrich · December 16, 2014

      I don’t know my Italian was drastically better for it, but she was high in entertainment value.

      So it’s time to buy waterproof mascara, is that what you’re saying?

  5. Elizabeth · December 16, 2014

    I read a book by Anne Lamott where she says babies come out of your clutching 1/5 of your brain. I think when you’ve done ART they come out with that + 1/2 your soul + most of your money + all of your sanity.

  6. Stefanie @ My Crazy Beautiful Life · December 16, 2014

    Just remember however you’re feeling is normal. My therapist always tells me, you can’t control how you feel. Hang in there!

  7. Pingback: Currently #5 | The Parenthood Diaries

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