My 13 year old daughter just got home from being away… The day she left, I cried like a baby and this surprised me. I was literally shocked to be experiencing such emotion. What were the tears about? I was so happy for her that she was going on vacation. I was looking forward to alone time to focus on what I wanted to get done. And, the freedom for my husband and I to live without the responsibility of a child for 3 weeks was also pretty appealing.

So, what was I crying for? Sure, I was going to miss her, but after sitting with the emotion for a bit, I soon realized the tears were a cleansing of sorts, an awakening of values that really didn’t have much to do with her at all.

Independence was the first to show up. I was overwhelmed with just how much I value being independent. Up until I left my job at a family business 18 years ago, I had not really experienced the joy of doing work that made me happy day in and day out. Today, my days are full of commitments and obligations that I am choosing. I am running my life, my business, my way, and that is something to celebrate.

Pride was the second. I was not only so proud of her for setting out on this adventure without her parents, embracing her own independence, but I was proud of my husband and I for raising a child who wasn’t afraid or timid or hesitant. You get very few validations as a parent that the choices you’ve made are beneficial for your kids – this was a solid ‘nice job’ Mom & Dad.

Gratitude was there, too. I was feeling so grateful for my life, my husband, my child, our amazing family that whisked her away, and for the work I do with me clients. The trust they place in me to support and challenge them to recognize their greatness is something I’m most grateful for. So, what values will you find in your tears?

Jimmy Valvano, a college basketball coach that passed away all too young in 1993 from cancer, gave a speech for the ages before he died. I believe the most poignant part of his speech was about experiencing three very specific things every day: laughter, thinking, and ‘having your emotions moved to tears…. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a full day… that’s a heck of a day.’ I mention this because I believe I experienced what he was talking about that day.

Tears can come from laughter just as easily as from sorrow, but no matter when they do, please embrace your tears when they come and think of what they represent. You may experience an awakening of your own.