Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 3, 2007

Varieties of Silence

I spent much of the week focused on not calling my gone-off-to-college daughter. Trying not to analyze the mornings, afternoons, and evenings of silence. Much energy not picking up the phone, asking, “Are you there?” Learning to trust the separation process isn’t particularly fun.

Gradually I’m coming to remember the good side of silence. Mornings spent just with small white dog yapping at airplanes, and big middle dog alerting me to UPS or wild turkeys and yellow dog lab-ishly thumping her tail just because I walked by. Fall crickets, wind blowing through the phlox and blossomless lilacs. All this can finally settle my thoughts as much as it can raise my angst if I sit through it. It’s okay to break to write letters to college students that may not get read, but the idea is not to have an empty post office box. It’s okay to make another cup of tea. But then get back to the silence, bear with words that aren’t yet right, move them around, then again.

Slowly I let my mind into my characters—who all naturally come and go from their mother’s houses. Slowly, silence starts to feel friendly instead of taunting.



  1. Silence is the writer’s best friend. Revel in it. I bet your daughter will be calling you soon. Hugs.

  2. It’s okay to break to write letters to college students that may not get read, but the idea is not to have an empty post office box.
    Oh, they’ll get read. You can be sure of that.
    Enjoy the process of learning to love the silence, and filling it with your own sounds.

  3. Thanks for the sweet and encouraging words.

  4. Thanks! I am trying to get accustomed to savoring good thoughts as well as good talks — all have its place, esp as I’m proud that she’s moving onward.

  5. Sending hugs your way, J! How about a cup of tea later this week?

  6. I’m right beside you . . .
    I took A to college yesterday. We have communicated through IM and phone, but it’s mostly for little advice tidbits. I just know that the calls will get fewer and fewer and fewer as the week goes on . . . .
    Hang in there!

  7. Good luck right back to you! Yes, thank goodness they need us for some few little things. I guess I was waaayy too happy to send her her art history book. And I could not resist baking peanut butter rice crispy things to send today. She may roll her eyes, but still care, I hope!
    And I try to remember the dwindling phone calls is a good thing. They are making their lives, as they should. Still — hugs to you!

  8. She may roll her eyes now at the peanut butter crispy thingys, but she’ll remember forever that you sent them!

  9. P.S.
    HUGS right back at you!

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