Silver Linings and Soft Landings

Winding down … or is it winding up … after two weeks away from work and am wondering what I have to show for it. I’ve almost finished reading a book, but not fiction. I’ve watched some West Wing episodes with one daughter and was introduced to Sherlock and Dr. Who by two other daughters. I have watched a lot of HGTV and was even inspired to try to change my house, but gave up when the three girls and I could not wrangle a sofa up the stairs–or even onto them. Le sigh.

The point of this vacation was to be away from work and I was mostly successful at that, but the other point was to get ready to launch daughter number 2 into the world.

Perhaps it is the knowing that is getting to me. I have always told the eldest one that she, as if she were a true-to-life Scooby Doo, left a silhoutte -shaped hole in all the walls she met, making it much easier for her sisters to slip through. It is her way–to crash through without a thought for finesse. Her sisters seemed to have learned to dance through a hole that is not shaped like them, in order to remain whole on the other side.

But I’m pretty sure it IS the knowing that is getting to me. When eldest daughter left, I had an inkling that all would change between us once she left. I just didn’t know how. And I am not complaining. I think her leaving was the best thing for our relationship–and I think she would agree (though probably not now that I have stated so–such is the dance she and I do). I know that she most likely won’t be back in our house again after this summer–not as a household member, anyway, but as an intimate guest.

Last year, for her, we allowed her to leave her room as her own (as she demanded). This year so many things have changed that we require a rearrangement of all rooms and have asked both daughters to clear out as if they were not coming back to live, but to visit. This does not sit well with me and seems very unfair to middle daughter, and, yet, it must be.

Never at the brink of tears with eldest daughter as we prepared her to be elsewhere, I have beaten them back privately and repeatedly as I move on with daughter 2. Again, because I am anticipating what I have actually experienced–a change in dynamic, a loss, and a gain.

Yes, this is what we do: we prepare our young ones to move on and move through and hope that they keep us in their rotation. But the promise of an emptier house doesn’t loom as lovely as it did when said children were toddlers and tweens. Ten-years-ago me would have fought bitterly about that statement, but alas, all the things the older mamas told me have come to pass–and I am grateful for the promise of a soft landing those predictions have given me … and yet …..

I look forward to more one-on-one time with daughter 3, who is also going through some ups and downs with the household changes and the prospect of being an only child–with no driver at the ready.

I had hoped to be hopeful here, but feel as though I’ve let my pessimistically optimistic self down. There are silver linings here, in abundance, but for today I’m lingering on the gray clouds that live within me as I realize my day-to-day life with daughter 2 is almost over. And while she is ready … I am not. I’m lingering on missed opportunities, on chances to tell her all that she needs to hear from me.

And yet … she has Daughter 1, who seems to have shared every intimate detail I have passed on to her. And they will be together, sort of, living not down the hall but in the same school, taking a shared class. They will have each other. And I will have to learn to Face Time and become a more intentional communicator and not just fall into a chair at night, knowing they are in the house and all is good. Or not.

Abundant, those silver linings are and I will find them as I need them. Because the truth is: this is a good thing. But no one said good things are necessarily easy.


About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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One Response to Silver Linings and Soft Landings

  1. “I’m lingering on missed opportunities, on chances to tell her all that she needs to hear from me.” I felt that exact thing with my step-daughter. Ours was her primary residence for such a short time (half of sophomore through senior year of HS), and we made up for a lot of it. But I still wish I’d been the stepmom I became when she was in my house, back when she was so little and her mom seemed to rule/wreak havoc on my life at every turn. Sometimes it’s easier than others to set ego aside. I wish I’d been better at it. Still growing. Thank you for sharing this, Tina. ‘Tis the season.


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