Fly Away Little Bird

Dear Daughter,

I think about you every day. I do.  We text, Skype, and talk on the phone, but still it is not enough for me.  I miss you.  The curse of giving birth is letting go.  I hate it but accept it. I recall the words of Kahlil Gibran, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You make me proud and I thank you for staying true to who I always knew you would be.

Caitlin in College

I watch you walk, head high, heart light, smiling on the inside.  You’ve made it you are thinking to yourself, finally after the days, months, years that bleed into the undistinguishable.  You are embarking on the walk from now to forever.  You’re in a hurry and understandably, after all, for eighteen years you have had to follow another’s beat, and never your own.  You are thinking to yourself that after all these many years you’ve had to be and conform to another’s definition of what they thought you were, giving and giving and giving, and never being recognized.  Thinking, yes this it is at last my moment to strike out.  There is a storm brewing in your belly, I see it. Daughter of mine, in your eyes I see only deep pools of promise and possibility.

I smile.  I know you like the back of my hand.  I see your moods fall over your shoulders as early morning rain in April.  I only need to look into the backs of your eyes to know whether, or not, I smile or I leave you to fester in yourself.   You’ve never changed, not once in all these years.  Either you’ll salute the day with sunshine in your heart or you’ll growl.  Even now, it’s a gamble who I’ll meet in the hallway before seven.  I’m guessing you don’t know that I know this about you or all the other nuances of you.  Or that I know who you’ve grown to become in all these days that you’d swear you were pounding down the pavement to another’s tune or that I was listening.

I’d agree if only to give you satisfaction of claiming all knowing knowledge but you’d see through me.  If I had all seeing eyes I’d see you smile on the outside, the smile I never see that says ‘she knows me, more than I give her credit for, more than I wanted her to know, more than I know about myself sometimes.’  It would the sort of smile a child almost never shares with a parent.  We’re not allowed to take credit for our efforts, shout to the heavens for surviving, for fighting, for the screaming, for the pushing, for believing against all the odds, in our own creations.

The smile, the one she doesn’t see is my inside-outside smile.  It says if you only knew that after all these years it was never me, never my beat, not ever, not even once, did you walk the journey to the sounds in my heart.  You’ll not realize, at least not yet, that it was never my wishes you followed.  Nor my choices did you make.  Never, not once did you accept my demands.  I could tell you and spare you the journey but why burst your bubble.  You’d not believe me, nope.  You’d think I was lying.

In your eyes, there is more depth waiting to be revealed.  It is a depth of life only available to you once there are days piled up behind you, when you’ve traveled roads too crowded to turn left or right and even empty ones with deafening silence.  After all this,  including blisters, boxes of Band-Aids of all sorts and sizes, heart aches and breaks, lovers and lost friends too, you’ll arrive at a place of solitude so bright with awareness a  peace will wash over your shoulders.  In that moment, you’ll know just how much I knew about you.

In my heart, if you could see, there is a smile brighter than the sun.  I love you sweet girl.




Have you told someone close to you how your feel lately?  Love is free, give freely when you can

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

56 thoughts on “Fly Away Little Bird

  1. k~

    Beautiful heart you have Brenda. I love this: “I see your moods fall over your shoulders as early morning rain in April.” as much as I love to read the words you share with us.

    Blessed be

  2. Aw, Brenda, you are going to make me cry. Having a daughter, I can understand how you feel. My daughter is my world. I love her so much more than I ever thought I could love someone. I dread the day she goes off to college. We still have plenty of time, but she’s my best friend. My mom and I were the same way–inseparable. It’s such a great bond to have. And I know for a fact that your daughter is very lucky to have you for her mom and friend.

    • Kelly – the only suggestion I ever offer to moms is to listen and be there when the come to you. All the other stuff, you have to trust your intuition. Given what you said about how your tennis friends would hang out and drink tea with your own mom, I suspect you will carry on that tradition. Enjoy the moments (even the teen ones).

  3. Your daughter’s very pretty, Brenda. Pretty in the picture, and pretty in your words. ‘The curse of giving birth is letting go.’ The romance of being alive is staying connected despite the distance between. Caitlin will shine brighter than the sun. :) In answer to your question, I recently let my grandmother (who suffered a stroke last week and terrified all of us) know how much I love her by holding her hands, patting her back, and whispering into her ear to comfort her. In my family, we don’t say ‘I love you.’ Never. I hope to show my love for her in these other ways. I know she understands. Even if one day she doesn’t remember or recognize me anymore, I guess what matters more is that she feels safer and loved when I hold her hands.

    • Hola Claudine… yes, she is a pretty girl. Thankfully, she has my eyes but not my hips! Your words, staying connected are beautiful. I do accept letting go, and wish for her all best, but do miss the patter of her little feet. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    • Julie – So hard, but part of the process. I reserve the right to whine about it now and again. And thanks kindly for the words, as every appreciated.

  4. Just loved this! What a way with words, you have. And what a way with raising children you have!!
    Is it a sin to feel like this more for daughters than for sons? I wonder. I’m years away from an empty nest but dropping my daughter off for her month at camp is always so much more emotional than dropping the boys off for their month at camp. I’m sad after dropping off the boys but I’m pathetic after dropping off my daughter… What will I be like when they all go (if and when they all go!)?

    • Astra – I have a boy and a girl, as you do. They are different beings COMPLETELY. I love each of them equally, and dread the day my little guy (now taller than I) leaves, but there is something different in the mother-daughter connection. I miss my Saturday outings and lunch with us girls. I wish you all the strength when the time comes. It’s a killer.

  5. Isn’t it always those qualities that our children possess that will serve them the best in their adult lives that we lament over the most as they grow up? My girls’ independence and fierce knowledge that they are capable and smart is so terrific, but it also means that they have more of their own ideas.

    This was such a beautiful letter and I know that your daughter must cherish your infinite love for her. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • You made me laugh, Kario, re: their own ideas. I always cringe when my kids remind me that I raised them to be independent thinkers… etc., who knew they were listening to me yammer on and first, tell me when it’s time to let go and listen. Damn! It’s a reminder for her, for me, for all us moms.

  6. I cried through the whole letter. You’re such a wonderful writer. I have two daughters, three years apart in age, and it killed me when they left home. Circumstances were different. It was in the ’70s and not necessarily because of college, although they both ended up getting degrees. Thanks so much for sharing your feelings.

    • Awww, Nancy, I didn’t meant to make you cry, although I confess I was as I was writing it. Tender mercies. I am over the worse, but I do sometimes get homesick. Tis the circle of life.

  7. Mamawolfe

    This brought tears to my eyes. One thing I do right is share my love with my babies every day. My girl will fly in two years and I’m terrified. Your words remind me that I,too,know my bird so well and am preparing her well to fly.

    • Jennifer I suspected you were like me in this regard. I do feel a connection to you even though we’ve only meant virtually. I am not going to lie, it’s tough, but watching them grow is worth the heartache.. It’s quite amazing.

  8. Beautifully and poignantly written, and I so understand the difficulty of letting go of these precious ones who are not us, but somehow we always saw as extensions of ourselves. My daughter who has taught in South Korea for two years is becoming something of a world traveler, as she is going to Scotland for three weeks shortly and then India for nine weeks. She has also visited Japan. As she moves outside her own culture I am terrified and thrilled all the same time, as I’m sure my mum was when I came to Canada. A wonderful post Brenda, many thanks for sharing.

  9. Such true beauty and happiness/pain, seeing your daughter grow up to be her own person, and a magnificent and amazing one she is and will be.

    Congratulations, Mom. You done good. 😉

    • Yes, Nate, I am a mom, and she is my girl. She is going to school in New Mexico, a couple states over from me.. I promised her a long time ago not to meddle in her social life.. You’re on your own on this one.

  10. This is so deeply moving, Brenda. There such a mix of emotions in your writing but the underlying pride that you have in her and your respect for her is unmistakable. This letter is a wonderful gift you’ve given her – something she’ll treasure all her life.

  11. I called my babygirl little bird too. I still call her little bird.
    How did you feel while writing this poignant piece Brenda?
    There’s such emotion here without triteness.
    I know you must miss her, and yet the letting go is a part of giving birth, as you so aptly stated, “The curse of giving birth is letting go.”
    ~ Hugs and blessings

    • You know Debra, it started as the result of news she was sharing with me about school. I heard passion and excitement in her voice that made me glow. I was missing her before the call, but after.. less so because I felt her joy. She is exactly where she needs to be.

  12. Brenda, You had me at “Dear Daughter.” I knew you were going to get me feeling all mushy and pining for my own daughter who is also away at college. I especially liked this line:
    “The curse of giving birth is letting go.”
    I knew from the moment my kids were born that they would leave me any minute. Because those first 18 years went in a flash. Now, you got me humming
    “Sunrise, Sunset.” But I have a song to recommend you listen to, because it brings tears to my eyes whenever I play it: Martina McBride’s “In My Daughter’s Eyes.” It is utterly beautiful. As is your post. Thank you for sharing such a poignant love letter to your girl.

    • It’s always good to remind them how much they matter to us even if they are living their own lives. I am glad you read, Monica. It’s always a pleasure having you here.

  13. June O'Hara

    How amazing, having and raising a child, being able to read her like nobody else. If I wasn’t completely unfit to parent, I might be slightly jealous.

    Thank you for another beautiful post.

  14. Brenda … A beautiful letter to your daughter. I do not have a daughter… I have sons and I tell them as much as I can how much I love them and cherish them. I always tell them how much they have enhanced my life ..

    • Savy, I am a son as well. Boys are very different from girls. We don’t love them any less, but the approach world differently and challenge boundaries uniquely. Thanks kindly for your words.

  15. Aw Brenda, that was fantastic. Some people raise their children like potted plants, never allowing them to grow to their full potential for fear they might travel too far. I can tell how much you admire your Caitlin…how much you will miss her, but how excited you are to see where her life journey takes her. I have three daughters myself and the words touched me greatly.

    • Hello Annie.. I remember you have girls and the piece you wrote about turning your cell phone off at night.. just in case. Hubby insisted (for a good night’s sleep). I still leave my on, you know, just in case. I am glad you enjoyed. She inspired me this week…

  16. Brenda, what a beautiful and poignant letter to your “little” girl. Because to us, they’ll always be our little girls or little boys, won’t they? I’m sure your daughter cherishes your words and feels so deeply moved by your poetic tribute. How beautiful to string together words like you’ve managed to do here, and have them speak so eloquently of the love you feel for your child! Simply beautiful, amiga!

    • You had me there, Bella, sniff sniff. I think she and I are having a moment of homesick, which is why I wrote the letter. Thank goodness for planes and trains. Hugs, and thanks for stopping by.

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