I took the children to see The Croods at the cinema yesterday. A visual spectacular with a plot line that involves a cave-family realising that they have must change or die because 'the end is coming'. Volcanoes erupt, the land parts, mountains shake and their cave is decimated. We crunch through popcorn and I am wistful for the days of my youth where going to the cinema was about queuing outside the 'ABC' in a state of near hysteria at getting to see the latest film but I am grateful that the seats today are massive and nobody smokes or throws Mint Imperials at the back of your head.
And then towards the end 'Mr Crood' is separated from his family and his daughter starts crying, and so do I. For goodness sake! I am crying at a children's film. Not heaving sobs of heartache you must understand but more than a couple of tears slid their way down my face at the sight of the cave-girl's massive tear-filled eyes and trembling bottom lip. This was not a one off either - since having the children there aren't many programmes, songs or news stories that don't set me off. That's why mums always have a tissue up their sleeve, not for bogey-noses, but in case a baby smiles at them or a dog whimpers or a song that contains a piano comes on the radio.
You might think that I shouldn't be so emotional but it's programmed in. From having a parent's-eye-view of terrible two's and wild boys, to remembering my own teenage angst (and really, really hoping that my children somehow magically skip that) to the wonder of reproductive hormones I'm inclined to believe we're designed to be emotional from the minute we shout our way indignantly into the world. Having children aside there has been enough activity to keep things interesting for years and when it all gets too much, I am thankful to have found my 'fix' in running. Magical stuff.
And then I'm talking to a friend who utters the words 'peri-menopausal'. I'm wondering if this is a new type of Nando's flavour but no, she tells me it is the time before you are 'pre-menopausal' which is before the menopause after which you become 'post menopausal'. I think the life-span of a man is generally taken to be as Morrissey so succinctly put it in Cemetary Gates; 'they were born and then they lived and then they died'. Quite why women's lives are being sliced into ever tinier sections to be labelled and treated I don't know. The cynic in me says it's because the drug companies would like to find new reasons to sell us gallons of evening primrose and anti-ageing pills when we all know that a glass of wine and good company has a significantly greater impact on your mood. Or maybe they are really run by mega-hippies that want to help us all 'chill-out man' as we reach middle-age.
I don't know, so until the point that I am peri, piri, pingy, poingy or whatever it is that I am to be labelled I shall carry on crying at kids films, and if all the terrible things that my friend described really are on the way, I'm going to need a new pair of running shoes.