Journal entry: April 16, 2021

Wrapping up my workday with fifteen minutes to go before stepping outside into Friday freedom, I hear my phone ping. A short text from my daughter: Hey, Mom, would you want to chat later?

It’s been a couple of weeks since we talked, and since she lives on the other side of the country, of course, I wanted to chat! My fingers tapped back: Sure! I’ll call in a half hour when I’m home.

For hours to fly by when we talk on the phone isn’t unusual at all. But this call turned out to beat that record by a landslide. When my husband walked through the door, home from work, I said, “Hi Honey, I’ve been talking to Steph for two hours.”

“Are you kidding me?” He asked, grinning, not understanding what in the world could keep a conversation going for so long.

And it kept going. We chatted about work – the fun and the annoying elements, and about friends. I asked her about the 3-year-old tabby cat, Oliver, she and her husband recently adopted. Somehow the weather swept into our conversation – another drought and fire season on the horizon for us, and lastly, about her brother who is moving out in a week, embarking on a new chapter of life. He’s been home with us for a couple of years post college graduation, working full-time remotely. But the time has come. The time is right.

Steph and I gabbed about Michael’s new chapter nudging “Dad and I” into our new Empty Nesters stage. Exciting times for all of us, but bittersweet where many different emotions whirl around in our heads and hearts. The thing is he’s moving across country, too, which means both of our children will be on the same coast as each other, but miles and miles and miles away from us. This is when our hearts become heavy. We can’t see Steph and Ryan on a whim, and the same will be for Michael when he’s moved.

I filled Steph in about Michael wanting to help us rearrange furniture in the bedrooms so that Mom and Dad can reap the benefits of having the house to themselves. Shortly after he signed his apartment lease, with each day came a new flood of tears for me. But as he moves furniture and rewires electronics, he has tamped down those tears by keeping my brain and emotions occupied. Though a tsunami will gush on the day he drives away. No doubt.

Steph understood. When she and Ryan moved, Michael lived with us. Tears still trickled down our cheeks, but it was different with having one of our kids still at home. So, when Michael leaves, it’ll just be Matt, me, and Copper, our crazy canine, who will watch the distance widen between us and his car. We know Copper will sense the emptiness in the house, missing the cuddles, too, from his brother.

After Matt watered the grass, he poured us some Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and I carried the conversation out to the patio. He joined in, telling Steph all about his recent motorcycle trip, and how he checked off that box on his bucket list. He shared that his dad, two weeks shy of turning 98, is not doing well. “Give him a call,” he tells her. “And send him a birthday card with photos of Ollie. He’d love that.”

Before we knew it, tears from all of us struggled for freedom. The conversation stayed light-hearted, full of laughter, but also brimmed with love and poignancy. When we all finally said talk to ya later, four hours had passed!

Here’s my take-away: we love our children so much, yes, and sometimes to the point that it hurts. Parenting doesn’t get easier as age transforms into a larger number – with each new phase develops new sets of worries. But as our daughter and son pave their own paths, we couldn’t be prouder. They’re adulting and doing it well. We just wish their paths were on the west coast. Such is life. And as the gray hairs flourish and the wrinkles form, knowing they love us to the same extent is something so much bigger to be thankful for – and knowledge to sustain us until we or they hop on a plane, heading across country.

A phone call to treasure.

Lauren Scott ❤️

52 thoughts on “Journal entry: April 16, 2021

    1. The “far away” is the tough part, John, but we will survive. 🙂 You are lucky, and hopefully, she’ll stay put. All is good and exciting, even though the day he drives off will be a bit hard on the emotions. Thanks for chiming in!

    1. Thanks for your reassuring words, Mark. It’s the next phase, isn’t it? 🙂 The bottom line, though, is that all is good and exciting. We’ll just need a supply of tissue on the day he leaves. 🥲

  1. Lauren, a gift of a phone call to fill the heart of joy and love! 😀 Your daughter might be far away in distance but you are as close as ever, both as mother and daughter and as friends! That is where the magic of children in adulthood happens when parent and child become firm friends and nothing can change that. Yet, I feel your longing to be together in person – may it not be too long until that can be the case. hugs winging their way to you. xx ❤️

    1. Thanks for your wonderful comment, Annika! You’re right about the friendships, both with our daughter and with our son. Unfortunately, due to Covid, we’ve only seen our daughter and son-in-law once in almost a year and a half. Not thrilled, but we’re all healthy, so that’s what counts. And with technology these days, we do talk, text, facetime, and zoom several times a month. Whew! Thanks to technology for the ability to still “see” our loved ones. We’re not eager to fly just yet, but maybe in the fall and for the holidays. Fingers crossed. Now if we can just get through Sunday when our son drives off. 🥲 Thanks for the hugs, my friend. Sending love and hugs your way, too. xo 💗💗

      1. Hope you can fly out in the Autumn and just imagine the tearful reunion of hugs! We are not flying anywhere at the moment, not allowed, but won’t for a long while anyway. Missing Sweden very much but taking a day at a time. I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday … hugs xx

      2. I hope so, but we’ll see how safe things are. Right now, none of us want to get on an airplane. Like you said, one day at a time. Thanks so much, Annika. hugs xoxo

  2. Thanks to technology that has made phone calls so comfortable, as if we are face to face with our loved ones. We always FaceTime and our calls are never less than an hour. Men wonder what we talk, which just flows! One of my daughters is at the east coast, I can understand the yearning that you’ve shared in this post Lauren. 🙂

    1. You are so right, Balroop, a big thanks to technology for allowing us to still “see” our loved ones. It’s also reassuring to know you understand the yearning with your daughter living across the country. Love and hugs, dear friend. 💗

  3. You are so right about that. Once love between parent and child is established all the ups and downs of their life and their own children follow we feel their joy and pain no matter how far distant we may be from each other.

    1. It is tough, Binky, but with technology that allows us to talk to them and “see” them often, it lessens the pain of missing them. It’s not easy, but we just get used to it. As long as they’re healthy and safe, that’s what’s most important. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Jane Sturgeon

    A loving phone call and many moments to treasure, dearest Lauren. Such natural sharing between you all. What a lovely post. Thank you. Hugs and much love flowing to you all. Xxxx ❤ ❤

    1. Thanks for your beautiful comment, Jane. And I’ll take the hugs and love as the days are lessening to when our son drives off on his next chapter of life. An exciting adventure, though. Big hugs to you, too! 💗💜💗💜

      1. Jane Sturgeon

        Ohh sweetheart, wrapping you in much love, always. I remember that life moment vividly….more love to you. ❤ ❤ ❤

  5. I so appreciate your feelings. I have one on the same coast as me, one on the other. Before the pandemic, it gave me a good reason to fly and visit. This year has been tough, not seeing my son and three grandsons for over a year. To long phone conversations, to letting go with a smile (hiding the tears) and to the new joy in empty nesting. xo

    1. You can definitely understand my feelings, Pam. And you’re right, pre-pandemic, we can fly and visit. Yep, to letting go with a smile, hiding those tears. Wish me luck. 4 more days. And also to new joy in empty nesting, not to mention, we did something right because this is what should happen. 🥰❤️

  6. Matt and I live a four/five hours depending on traffic and my little brother Tom lives a four hour drive north near Edinburgh, Mum says shes sad we’re not closer too. This last six months of lockdown has been tough.

    1. Parenting is just not easy at times. 🙂 I feel for your mum, Charlotte, as our son leaves on Sunday, heading across the country. I am going to do my best to contain my emotions, or at least the sobs until he drives away – a little teary-eyed is okay. He knows his mom. 🙂 Wish me good luck and I hope you’re able to see your family real soon, too. Covid has made things difficult in so many ways. 💗

      1. Whenever I left to go back to the Conservatoire in Glasgow Mum was always a little “go on then, get a move on” but recently she told me it was so she didn’t burst into tears. I keep trying to persuade her to retire to London. We’re hoping we can stay overnight after May 19th.

      2. That’s how we think as parents. We want to be strong so our kids have positive images as they venture into their next chapter of life. 🙂 After all, it’s the natural progression of life. It’s what we want for our children.
        We had our sights on Oregon to retire, but with our daughter in TN and our son in VA, who knows where we’ll end up. 🙂
        Have a great weekend and nice chatting with you. 😍

  7. A beautiful story Lauren. I’ve had those 4 hour calls with some good friends. They aren’t often, as time, time time. But when you can enjoy that leisurely time with a loved one, it’s precious ❤

    1. Thanks, Debby. Yes, calls like these, times like these are precious. Our son left last Sunday, driving across country to VA where he’ll pave his path. We are true empty nesters and it’s been an emotional time, but also good and exciting. It’s great to see you back, too, but I’ve been thinking of you and hope you’re doing okay. Sending hugs. ❤️

      1. Enjoy this new phase of life with just the two of you. Precious time. I come by when I can, slowly I’m making my way back to blogland. This journey is far from easy, so I’m living one day at a time. ❤

      2. Thanks. Right now the quiet is loud, and he’s driving alone. So once he arrives, we’ll have peace of mind. He’s keeping us updated though, thankful for technology. And taking one day at a time sounds like the best decision. Just take good care of you. 💗💗

  8. I can’t imagine a greater joy than seeing my kids doing well. We aren’t quite there yet. We were, but the pandemic and its school closures for the grandchildren has brought huge financial hurdles and almost debilitating stress. But we’ll get there, and it will be a total joy. Oh… and when our kids moved across the country, we followed them! Ha ha. Enjoy the phone calls and the empty nest.

    1. I agree with you, Diana. Seeing our kids succeed in living on their own and paving their own paths is the greatest joy and accomplishment for parents. But I’m sorry to hear about the stress your family has endured because of the pandemic. There has been job loss in our family, too, but things are going okay for now. Next year will hopefully be the time to move forward again. So you followed your kids! Well, we had our sights on OR or WA for retirement, but now that our kids are on the east coast, our plans may shift. Not sure about that weather, but it’s interesting how life works, isn’t it? I don’t like them living that far away and my hubby feels the same. So, who knows! But right now, we just want our son to arrive at his destination safely. This is day 4 and he’s on the road. Breathe. We know with time we will enjoy this empty nest that our kids are gifting to us. Take care, dear friend. 💗

      1. We moved from New England to Oregon when my daughter started a family. Couldn’t resist! The weather on the East Coast is certainly different, but there’s so much beauty too. Your son must be arriving soon. I’m sure all will go well. ❤

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