Recent Posts

Friday, August 21, 2009

What a girl leaves behind

I struggle a bit bringing the three paint cans into the now empty space. They are filled to the brim with Rhapsody Lilac. I wonder for a moment if I have selected this shade as much for the name as the color. A melodious song of aromatic sweetness~ yes~ that is what I want in my life right now. A fourth can contains “Marshmallow”, a slightly pinkish cream that will cover the inside of the closet and all of the trim. She liked the sound of that color. It seems fitting that it grace a small part of the place where she has spent the last four years of her life. I know what I am doing. I am trying to cover my pain under layers of paint. If I just stay busy enough I will not have to think about the fact that she is gone. Technically she is only 23.4 miles away in her own little adorable apartment. But she no longer lives here.

I begin to do a sweep of the room. I remove the nail that held her huge Audrey Hepburn picture. I spackle the holes created by the brackets that held her curtain rod. Blue, green and white striped drapes used to gently glide along the silver tube, clicking slightly when they reached the center. I turn and glance up to the niche above the closet. A few items remain. I need the tall ladder and a second pair of hands to help me lower what hides behind a dusty sheet. I remove the sheet and take it directly to the washer. I return to the room and now cannot ignore what was hidden beneath the sheet. In the middle of the carpet sits a dollhouse with grey clapboard siding and a shingled roof. I squat down and peer through the window next to the front door. I lightly tap the brass door knocker against the pale rose door. It would seem that no one is at home. A wash of melancholy comes over me. Her brother comes in at that moment. “Wow Mom, a small house. Is it yours?” I smile at a memory. She has just turned five and is walking upstairs with her best friend. I am downstairs in the kitchen. Her voice carries down to me. “Come upstairs and see the new dollhouse I got for my birthday. My mom has been working on it all winter. It has wood floors, wallpaper and even electricity. My mom says it’s my house, but I think it is hers and she is just nice enough to let me play with it.”




I slide the closet doors open. On the floor sits a Barbie case topped by a HCHS cheer leading trophy. This is fitting since I am sure that Barbie was somewhat responsible in her decision to try out for the cheer leading squad. Right above it, swaying ever so slightly, is her graduation gown. The yellow satin honor society sash sits slightly off center and as I straighten it I wonder why it should matter. My eyes move to the upper shelves. I spy a small navy chest and my heart catches in my throat. I have to stop for awhile. I come back and gingerly set the chest down on the floor. I know what it contains… her whole childhood. I unlatch the brass lock and slowly push the trunk open. Samantha’s blue eyes are shining and my sad smile is no match to her bright happy grin. An apron and one velvet shoe are missing from her ensemble. I begin to dig through the chest seeking… Along the way I find the green velvet Christmas dress that technically belonged to Molly but was to pretty not to share. There is also Felicity’s Colonial ball gown which was a much coveted and cherished birthday gift. Each outfit brings to mind the special occasion that it marked. It is almost too much for me to bear. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was wrapping up the wee saddle shoes that celebrated her being asked to the sixth grade sock hop? I close the lid and enter the closet. I slide slowly down the back wall and shut the doors in front of me to create a small marshmallow cocoon of sorts. I know that these are the things a girl must leave behind on her journey to become a woman. Yet there is one thing that remains here that I wish I could just box up and drop off at the Goodwill. It is her mother’s broken heart.

35 comments :

Marie Antionette said...

Oh my Dear Laura, my heart weeps for you.I know its hard to let them go.I know, it was really hard to let Alexia leave.But she did,and came back a stronger and more beautful daughter.Your daughter is not to far.My daughters old bedroom is now my workshop.But nher old childhood memories are still all around me.God bless you dear friend.XXOO Marie Antionette

Linda said...

I read this earlier before the comment feature was appearing. It made me cry then and again now. It's so beautifully written and it captures the soul of all loving mothers. My heart goes out to you, dear Laura. ♥

Jennifer said...

Oh gosh, this cuts to my core. It moves me less than 20 years in the future when this will be happening to me. I'm not ready for it now and I know I won't be ready for it then.

Carrie said...

"mom hugs" to you. What wonderful memories.

Mimi said...

I've said good bye to three little girls as they've gone off to school and the military.. I promise you will feel better in time. She will surprise you one day with a phone call.. for no reason, just to say 'hi mom'.

Lorrie said...

I feel your pain, Laura. Change always brings sorrow as well as joy. Take the time you need to grieve this loss and then move into the lightness of a new relationship with your daughter.

Lorrie

Jill Elaine said...

I will someday know exactly how you feel. I will go through it 3 times, and I will think of you each time. It's so hard to think of them just leaving after all the time we've invested in them. Oh the bittersweet memories...

I got my box of goodies and I'm excited about using the stuff as inspiration strikes. My favorite thing is the old label from the seam binding. It has become the inspiration for my new tags on my skirts. Some of my skirt creations are headed to the Country Living Fair and I thought they needed some classier tags than the ones I threw together before putting them out for sale at 'Barefoot Living'. I knew I wanted to use something vintage and had considered old seam binding labels. THis one was the neatest I'd seen and I'm just so excited and thrilled with it. I'll be posting pics of the giveaway stuff and pics of my tags created from the old label so check them out if you want!
Thanks again, SOOO much. It was an answer to prayer about my tags!!!
Jill

Victoria@WhimsybyVictoria said...

Tears won't stop falling...I can so see me doing this in about 4 years and don't look forward to that part of my life. It is something we all must go through in life, but never easy. My heart and my friendship is here for you. Thank you for sharing something so deep and personal. I look forward to hearing of all the new adventures you will be sharing, both of her and with her. Hugs to you friend,

~Victoria~

ANestWithAView said...

Oh Laura, my friend told me that letting your child grow up comes with a thousand deaths to your soul. What a lovely touching bittersweet post my friend. Consider yourself hugged...

bettyann said...

It never gets easier..my daughter is 1,000 miles away..I saw her last week-end..that has to be enough for now...we text each other each night to say we luv you x million..take care..

PamperingBeki said...

Awww. :(
Hugs to you.

Kathy's Red Door Welcome said...

Oh dear Laura, I feel for you! I have been through this three times already and it was difficult everytime, and my eldest daughter lives right next door to me. I am so greatful for that because I don't know how I would have lived through all three of my daughters moving far away. My youngest daugther had the same Samantha doll... how the memories come flooding back.

Tea Time With Melody said...

Hi Laura, I know it's hard when our kids move away. My daughter has been gone for 5 years now and my son just moved out last month. He is bringing the baby over tonight for me to babysit! His room is almost redone, save for some curtains and pictures. It is a bit strange to walk in his room and see that there is no trace anymore.

Miss Sandy said...

Laura,
I think you now have two broken hearts to donate to Goodwill, yours and mine. Mine breaks for yours as you transition into this new phase of life. This is exceptionally written and such a tribute to your beautiful daughter. I am sure there are some similar feelings on her end too as she steps into her new life.

I'll be praying for both of you as you adjust. Big hugs and lots of love sent your way sweet friend!

Jorgelina said...

Hi Laura!
What wonderful memories.
Hugs

Tales From My Empty Nest said...

What a beautiful post!!! My heart breaks for you. I am in a similar situation tonight, as I have just taken my daughter this weekend to settle into her aparmtment and her Junior year of college. It is very lonesome here at home without her presence. I don't like this whole "Empty Nest" thing!! I want my chickens with me, but I know they have to be away from the nest. I want them to be happy and enjoy life on their own, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it, does it? Take care and have a wonderful week. Love & blessings from NC!

LiLi M. said...

What a beautiful post. I already feel a stone growing inside, as we are heading in the same direction.
It all goes too quickly!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Your bittersweet post brought tears to my eyes especially because we are starting to visit colleges for our HS senior daughter. Our only & I'm not sure if I can bear her going away.

Frippery said...

Beautiful post and so very true. My youngest graduated from HS this year and will be starting college. I have a son in his 4th year at the same school. He moved back home this year to commute and my daughter has opted to do the same. They may get an apartment together in the near future but for now they are home. I can never go through my childrens things without tears. That precious time flies so quickly. But I love the adults that they are becoming. Hugs from one mom to another, Pam

TheSingingBird said...

This was beautiful but so hard to read because I know it will be just a few short years until I feel the same way with my two children. Hugs to you fellow-mama♥

Anonymous said...

My dear friend Laura,
My heart hurts for you and I am afaid for the day that I am in your shoes with Lexi. You have so much to be proud of and you have prepared her so well. I wish I was closer and could come over and give you a hug! Love you, Lisa

Debi said...

My dear Laura,
I know how you feel... both of my daughters have flown from the nest. I miss them both everyday! But we also talk everyday!! I have two wonderful grandchildren because of this... and I love my time with them also.
As time goes by I would like to tell you it gets easier... I am not so sure some days. I love both our daughters to pieces. And I wouldn't stop them from growing up either... but sometimes you do wish you could keep them little for just a bit longer! I hope your broken heart mends! And you have a very blessed day!
Debi xo
http://whatscookninjunk@blogspot.com/

Debbie said...

Oh my goodness. You killed me with this one. As you know, I am struggling with the loneliness of mine going to college. I feel for you.

Liz said...

UGH! Yer Killing me! I know just where you are at. : ( Sad and proud!

~Liz

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Awwww....what a (bitter)sweet post!!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Laura, I am sobbing. What a beautiful, heartfelt post. It is so hard to let them go, even though we know that's what we are preparing them to do. I know you realize that the reason she is able to go is that you have prepared her well. My heart breaks for your breaking heart. laurie

Gina said...

Oh my goodness, you write with such beauty, power and emotion. I am a teary eyed mess, my heart goes out to you. You will see her soon, in the mean time, hugs.

Terri and Bob said...

I have been there, too. Thank you for putting into such eloquent words what many of us have experienced.

My life has changed. Come visit for the details.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Hi Terri and Bob,

Once again I can't access your blog. :(

You know I love to visit so hopefully we'll be able to soon.

Blondie's Journal said...

Laura,

I don't know how I missed this on my blogroll. But fate seems to have brought me here. How ironic that we are going through the same tthing right now. It seems your pain is my pain...

It just seems that the memories aren't enough! I want to magically do it all over again. I didn't believe people when they said children grow up so fast.

Abby left for school last week. I have not been able to go in to her room to start cleaning and reorganizing what she has left. Today the cleaning ladies came and did that small but terribly hard job for me.

I suppose I will post about this when it isn't so raw. Isn't it a relief to get it out amongst friends.

I wish you happiness and peace, sweet friend.

xoxo
Jane

♥ Teresa ♥ said...

Wow. I am almost at a loss for words and that doesn't happen often. My daughter is a senior in high school this year. I have really had some tough moments over the last few weeks as I've began to ponder what next fall is going to be like as she leaves to go off to college. She is such a big presence in our home. She brings so much joy and laughter here. There is sure to be a huge void once she is gone. I know she will not be gone forever. She will be back visiting on weekends and holidays but it still won't be the same. She won't be my little girl anymore. Actually, she hasn't been a 'little girl' for a long time but I sure have tried to hold on to that time! LOL! I want to stop the clock and keep things just the way they are, but time just keeps ticking along, speeding along and I can't make it stop! It seems to pass much faster now than it did when my girls were little. It just does not seem fair! I guess no one ever said life was fair?

I will be thinking of you. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Blessings,

Teresa <><

http://toomanyheartbeats.blogspot.com/

perilloparodies said...

OH, broken heart... I am only years away from knowing exactly how you feel, and yet, everyday, i deal with the very feelings you feel. I miss each stage. I miss the simplicity of small, dependent babies... And each stage is getting me farther away from that and closer to where you are now. The Lord help you to be strong and courageous... and May He comfort you through these changes, give you peace and hope, and fill your days with an abundance of "joy unspeakable and full of glory" Hugs...

alice wayne said...

thanks mom! im totally crying in my graphic design class!!!! don't worry, were not doing anything yet so it's ok that i'm online! i love you and ill see you tomorrow!

ps - this post is my favorite!!!!!

Half of the Style Sisters said...

OH..I am going through the same thing!It is so hard to let go sometimes even when you know it is for the best. This is my second time around with having a child leave for college and now I am an empty nester so it is really really quiet around here. I am very excited for her and all that she will learn and do but I sure wish I lived closer to her. Hang in there it will get easier and you will find more joy.
Karin

Leslie, the Home Maker said...

I can so relate--I cry with you.
My girl, when she is at college (she is a rising sophomore), is only 15 miles away at her dorm, but her room is empty, too.
Only traces of girlhood and glimpses into womanhood are left, and I wept too.
First tears of sadness, then joy, then back again.
Sigh.
This post was lovely.
I found it via The Pennigton Point.