Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Let's Set The Record Straight

So, Daughter #1 phoned from Winnipeg Monday night.

We had a good visit, but, there has been some discussion around here lately about how much her mother misses her, or not.

Husband said, You should miss her more.

Lot's of friends have said I would miss her more.

For the record: I do miss my daughter.

However, I think we're all getting hung up on semantics  here.

I don't miss her as in: pine for her; continuously wonder what she's doing from minute to minute; have a huge, un-fillable, gaping hole in my heart that bleeds for her return and will remain unfilled until she walks back through the door...

I miss her in so much as she's gone and her absence leaves a stillness in it's wake that sends little ripples of remembrance washing over me when I least expect it.

(for example) I just came back from Sobey's where I bought a dozen donuts (for everyone but me- if that isn't love...) and as I was telling the other children how many they could have I realized with a jolt that there were only 4 here that can eat them. You forgot that She's not here? the son asked. I guess so. I said. I was thinking - for all but me. That usually means 2 and a half for the kids and 2 for the dad. Today it means three each.

I still cook too much meat for supper.

Dinner discussion is a little quieter.

One voice less.

I think the fact that I know where she is and roughly what she's doing, am aware of many of the people she's doing it with and have a knowledge of the places she is going makes a difference as to how much I miss her- or in the way I miss her.

If she were never coming home I would miss her differently.

If I knew she would never phone again, would never be back to visit, no matter how briefly, would never send an email or write another would change very much how I miss her.

As it it, I can miss her with the joy of sending her out as opposed to the despair of losing her. She's not really gone, she's growing and maturing and expanding her world view. She'll always be a part of me and a part of this particular family unit. I sent her out with open arms- freely, no trying to hold on or pull her back. When she does come back, it will be into those open arms.

Does that help?

My dear, my daughter, I think you understand. Your Dad is a little un-nerved by my perceived hard-hearted coldness, but you understand, don't you? I think it's the same way you miss me - miss home. You're not obsessively thinking about us, or thinking how you long to be here. You're just where you are, and you're coping with your new reality- same as us.

So, for the record, our first daughter is on her own for the first time, and she's left a space that no one else could ever fill, but we're getting on with life, as she is. Our paths have diverged for the moment, but they'll keep criss-crossing back and forth- like kites on a windy day on Hampstead Heath, dipping a bobbing; sharing the wind and keeping each other in sight but flying on our own strings.


  1. Yup, Laura - you're spot on. Making the right mistakes, caring the right way. She's coming back no sweat, and she needed her own space to make her mistakes in a 'safe' environment.

    Sounds like you're handling it well. A blubbing mum really wouldn't be doing anyone any favours.

  2. "Does that help?"

    I'm not sure I needed help on that one, as I agree. I told you that the other night.

    As for the donuts, that wasn't really a favour. Have you seen those things? The three remaining kids can have four each, no prob...

  3. ... and I didn't say "You should miss her more"!!

  4. my oldest sister is getting married this weekend....the last of us to leave home (for good). So this morning when i stopped by their place and let myself in to drop off wedding stuff, my dad comes downstairs and says "Guess what? After Sunday we can finally change all the locks on the house!"

    that's how my parents are dealing with their new empty nest...finding ways to ensure it stays empty :)

  5. Kathy (alas Becky"s Mom)July 21, 2005 at 3:59 PM

    Well said, You've given her wings and roots and she knows the way home again. You do her no favors by being grief stricken and pay her the highest compliment that you know she will succeed because your prayers are upholding her.

  6. Lucky. lucky you - she's coming back!

  7. Do you know, I was thinking of you and Toni when I wrote this one? I think that's what was making me - yes, I think I was- a little angry. Why were people thinking I needed to grieve more?! She's NOT gone, she's just away. There's no need to feel sad. It would be foolish for me to feel sad. I'm praying for you still.