in the silence, where so much is said


{image is a black and white photo of me and Brooke sitting in a lifeguard chair on the beach in Newport, RI. She has her arm around my neck and I am whispering in her ear. Photo by Connerton Photography, all rights reserved}


It has taken me a long time to learn that one of the greatest gifts that I can give to my child, and in turn to myself, is silence.

I am built to talk. To process thoughts in real time, out loud. It’s what I do. It’s how I’m hard-wired.

I like words. I trust them. I like the way they feel, they way they sound. When tension runs high, I run to them for solace.

Brooke does not. At least not the same way.

Words often serve as more of a roadblock for her than a pathway. Where I find them soft and comforting in times of distress, it’s clear that she finds them sharp and awkward. Too many of them filling the air in rapid fire, no matter how well-intended, become weapons, not tools.

And so it is that I’ve taught myself to stop talking. To settle into silence. To trust that our connection is stronger than the words that I might use to describe it. To believe that love and care and comfort can be conveyed within the quiet. That sometimes, indeed, the quiet itself is the best way to convey them.

I’ve learned to watch. To listen. To hear. No, listening and hearing are not the same. I’ve learned to have faith in the power of sharing space, of BEING together. Of not needing words as proof of that which can’t really can’t be put into them anyway.

And so I give my daughter the gift of silence.

Or, better said, she’s given it to me.

Because what I see and hear and learn and feel inside the stillness is, well, everything.

Silence, Diary, 2013

Last night …

We are lying in the dark, cocooning under the covers in my room, escaping the Too Much of the day.

“Mama!” Brooke says (again), the urgency in her voice finally beginning to soften and fade, but not yet gone.

“Yes, baby,” I answer (again) softly. “I’m right here.”

She reaches out with one hand, then brings it to rest on my leg.

“You’re here,” she says.

I pull just a little closer.

Her hand doesn’t move.

No other words are spoken.

And I am so grateful for everything that is said in the silence.

And that I’ve learned to hear it.


3 thoughts on “in the silence, where so much is said

  1. I can really relate to this one. I also am learning to just be in that silence…not any easy thing for a loquacious girl like me. I hope today is not so hard for Brooke.

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