A Text in Seconds

My thoughts on Sunday, April 25th, 2021…

Dear Mom, I know you’re listening from above, so I need you to know that I’m sorry for moving in and out of the house so many times, for putting you through that emotional turmoil. Although, I couldn’t have known back then what you were feeling, but I understand now. I realize how much your heart ached. The emptiness, the thought of your youngest leaving the nest. The strong wish to protect and keep me safe. I’m walking in those shoes now, dealing with the discomfort, and honestly, it’s not a trip to Disneyland. But I know in time, the discomfort will lessen. I don’t think it will ever disappear for good, but I know I’ll feel more at peace as the calendar pages flip.

Those were the days when my parent’s door was revolving – when I strived to find my way into the vast world outside of their home. Today, our youngest, our son, left home for the first time. Not for college, not for his internship, but for a taste of independence. The caveat is that his apartment is across the country. He’ll live closer to our daughter and son-in-law who also live on the east coast. And while this fact brings joy, I still wish their paths could have been paved on the west. Maybe someday. Or maybe, we’ll uproot and head east. The future remains a giant neon question mark.

The weekend prior to his leaving was spent with the three of us, my husband, him, and I celebrating this new adventure, as well as ours as empty nesters. Great food and wine, nostalgic conversation that at times provoked tears. Then today came. We knew it was inevitable. The day that he would begin his drive across country alone. Fortunately, his first day of driving would only be four hours, so he didn’t have to leave early in the morning. This gave him time to relax, to take one more look around the house and make sure he packed everything he needed, and to walk our dog with me one last time. He has never liked being in photos, but since this occasion rings differently in that he’s moving away, he conceded to selfies of the both of us once we reached the top of the hill, along with photos of him and his lab.

Then just as he was about to start his car for the first leg of his journey, we took selfies of the three of us: mom, dad, son. Smiles, funny expressions, all concealing the tears of what was about to come, the hugs and the “see you later.” Talk about emotions! But we got through it, and then we watched him back out of the driveway and wave to us as he rolled down the street, embarking on this exciting journey. My husband and I let the tears flow in the drama of the moment.

The pros of technology come in handy when our son can send a text in seconds, telling us that he arrived safely. Those few words including “love you all” with a heart emoji allows us to breathe again. That was his first drive. Day One. He’ll have six days of driving across country where the seventh will be the day he is handed his new apartment keys. A moment of joy, celebration, adult independence, but also nostalgia, knowing he’ll miss us, his dog, and his childhood home. It was tough for our Labrador because his doggie brain doesn’t understand the words his brother says to him. Giving those last hugs to his chocolate lab tugged at the heart. If only our beloved pets could speak our language. During the day, our lovable lab meandered into our son’s room. I have no doubt, he not only sensed his brother’s absence, but he sensed something had changed today. As smart as our furry family member can be, I’m sure he felt the profoundness of it all.

The quiet in the house is LOUD, but we know with time, the volume will soften into a sense of normalcy. Walking into his bedroom, the bare walls and empty shelves incite a wave of emotions that hit me like a tsunami. As we anticipated the day he would leave, we selfishly begged for time to slow down. Now, moving through the week to day 5, he is on his way to visit his sister and brother-in-law. We are thrilled that our kids will get a chance to visit. But we also wish for time to speed up, for him to safely arrive at his new home, the final stop on the road trip.

Two more days to go. I have never felt such an affinity for my cell phone before as I wait for his text messages to ping each evening. The tears flow less frequently now that he is over the hump of the week, but they’re still very much present, finding their freedom every now and then. They fall out of joy, from missing him, and from unleashing the tenacious worry. I feel as if I’m holding my breath while he continues to blaze through the many state lines. I’ll be able to exhale once he arrives and embraces those keys in his hand.

On the opposite side of the emotional spectrum, we are so proud of him, so excited for him to walk through the door of this new chapter. It’s what we’ve always wanted but knowing the moment of him leaving home would render tears and emptiness, too.

Eventually, my husband and I will embrace this empty nest for the precious gift it is to us now as a couple, and for what it means regarding our children – a gift from them as they are able to live life to the fullest in their adult years. We will find our new rhythm through the new empty nest chapter in our family story. And we couldn’t be more excited to make memories in their new homes. Let the journey continue!

I posted about this soon after he moved out, but It’s been over a year now. He’s settled into his new life and so have we. Between flights, phone calls, and texts, we stay connected. Yes, we miss him as much as we miss our daughter, but the silver lining is that they’re living their lives, spreading their wings, the natural progression of life. We couldn’t be prouder.

Lauren Scott © ❤️
If you can relate to this scene,
the “see you later”, the emotions,
and new life chapter,
I’d love to hear about it.

Is that most embarrassing moment still buried deep in your subconscious?

Mine is! Even after more than four decades!

The year was 1978. It was my best friend’s father’s birthday, and I was invited to go out to dinner with the family to celebrate. When we arrived at the popular restaurant, we had to wait for a table – it was crowded even for a weeknight. But the lobby was decorated in reds, oranges, golds, and greens – a warm atmosphere, inviting us to sit down while we waited. Most of the group found seats, including me. I sat on the edge of a comfy sofa. One you can sink right into and wonder how on earth you’ll get out of. On my right side was an end table with a slim glass vase holding one single red rose. Very dainty and pretty.

My friend’s father – the man of the hour chose to sit next to me. I scooted to my right a couple of inches to give him a little more room. What I didn’t realize was the comfy sofa had no arm and the end table was so close that this fact was camouflaged. Before I knew it, before I could shift the direction of my body, I slid off that sofa, landing on the hardwood floor! What seemed like slow motion, that beautiful end table skidded a foot across the smooth surface, prompting that dainty, pretty vase and rose to tumble off into a dramatic crash! Footsteps of restaurant patrons dodged scattered rose petals, shards of glass, and tiny puddles of water. And there I laid, stunned, wanting to melt into that hardwood and disappear for a few months. Long enough for everyone watching to forget about this mortifying moment.

Mel, my friend, offered me a hand. I must’ve stood up, accepting her help, but what actually happened honestly remains a blur. That event, though, from over forty years ago, stays vivid in my camera roll of memories. The difference between then and now is that I can laugh about it. To just laugh and let those silly giggles escape with delight is always a great solution!

Thank you for reading and remember to give those giggles some freedom!
Do you have an embarrassing moment to share? 🙂

Lauren Scott (c) 2021 ❤️❤️❤️
Vase photo: Google
“Just laugh” photo: dry erase board on my fridge. 🙂

In the Air

My husband and I have never been fond of flying. Not that we haven’t flown, we have, but if driving is feasible, we’d rather hop in our car, turn the key or press the button, and accelerate.

The year was 2019 when we visited our daughter and son-in-law for the first time after they moved to Tennessee. It’s tough living so far from them now. Visiting takes more thought – sitting in an airplane for almost five hours or driving across country are the best options. Since flying will bring us to them swiftly, flying it is!

“Mom, if you and Dad take a red-eye, you’ll fly at night and won’t waste a day of traveling,” my daughter suggested.

“That sounds like a good plan,” I replied, not giving it much thought. So, Matt and I booked our red-eye flight. On the night of our departure when we clambered our way through security, we were surprised at how crowded the San Francisco Airport was at 11pm. We were definite red-eye rookies. We had time to kill, so relaxing over a glass of wine sounded nice. I realized Matt was more talk when it came to jumpy nerves about flying. Once we survived the winding lines of security, the juggle of wallets and cell phones while tightly gripping our luggage, any jumpy nerves he experienced lied down to rest. He enjoyed the airport experience – the buzz of people in masses coming and going from who knows where and heading to who knows where.

My nerves, however, were as jumpy as kids in a bounce house, and I had high hopes for that Chardonnay. Our flight was boarding, so we joined the other passengers in walking through the boarding bridge. The rows on the plane comprised of three seats on each side. Our seats were near the wings. After sliding my carry-on into the compartment above, I slid into the middle seat with Matt to my right on the aisle. In a few minutes, a young woman wearing a black jacket with the hood pulled over her head climbed over us to find her window seat on my left.

I silently kept telling myself that all will be fine. Get comfortable, breathe in, breathe out. The jet began to roll down the runway and Matt took my hand to calm me. Takeoff was as smooth as silk. Once we were flying in the air and seatbelts unbuckled, I exhaled, assuming I was fine. But where I blundered involved my breathing. Did you know you can breathe incorrectly?

“Honey, I feel like I’m going to pass out,” I whispered to Matt.

“What?” He said with panic in his voice. After all, by this time, the clock read midnight and the jet soared over 30,000 feet in the air. No emergency exit provided an escape. This was not a Disneyland ride.

“Honey! My hands and feet are contorting and going numb. I’m going to pass out! PLEASE FIND HELP!” I pleaded through the light-headedness.

The Eagle Scout in my husband shined as he hurriedly walked to where the flight attendants were comfortably sitting. He couldn’t believe this was happening at thousands of feet in the air trapped in a silver cylinder! I’m sure this event wasn’t a first for the flight attendant. The woman was compassionate and, in a firm, loud voice for all passengers to hear, she asked if a doctor was on board, and gratefully, a doctor was on board!

When Matt returned to my side, two flight attendants and that doctor accompanied him. My hands resembled pretzels and my head lolled back on the head rest. I couldn’t feel my feet. I remember the male doctor’s soothing voice, instructing me to again breathe in and out s-l-o-w-l-y. I was given a few sips of 7-up to help raise my blood sugar level. In a matter of minutes, I began to feel human again…hands relaxed to normal position, I could wiggle my toes, and the dizziness in my head subsided.

“Lauren, it looks like you hyperventilated. You didn’t have a panic attack, but it’s important to stay calm and breathe slowly,” the kind doctor said to me. When I exhibited no more symptoms, the doctor and flight attendants returned to their seats and stations. By the way, the young woman sitting on my left kept to herself during my entire calamity – white earbuds plugged in for entertainment and the hood still covering her head.

When the excitement ended, embarrassment washed over me like a tsunami. I wanted to slide down my seat in flexible fashion like Gumby. Instead, my head held high, I analyzed what had just occurred. My analysis was clear as drinking water. It wasn’t so much the flying; it was flying at night that terrified me. But the only way to realize this is to sit in an airplane as it soars through the inky darkness. This nugget of knowledge noted.

No more red-eyes for me and a Big Thank You to doctors on board! From now on, my flights will ascend into the big blue with the golden sun as my beacon. I now know how not to breathe! And a day of airport hopping will never be a waste when our children wait for our arrival on the other side of the itinerary.

The “kids” playing tourists in downtown Nashville.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021 ❤️
Airplane photo courtesy of Google

Love Carries On

Another dog, that’s what I needed back then when our
Black lab, Lucky Girl, on that gray November day
Crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Then Mom,
Doris to those who knew her well, gracefully entered her
Eternal home a few months later. I honestly
Felt empty inside – all enthusiasm drained,
Grasping for unreachable acceptance through the tears.
Handling the loss of our sweet furry family member
Involved revisiting those memories of the love she gave
Joyfully to her four adopted humans.
Keeping emotions intact, yet missing Mom – her voice,
Laughter, funny off-key singing, and mouth-watering cooking
Made greeting each sunrise challenging.
Naturally with active emotions, our family felt
Overwhelmed. Dad was devastated, losing his Gal of sixty-seven
Precious years that began in days of World War II. Mom was the
Queen. Another memory was her unequivocal love for dogs.
Riley was one of many canines she and Dad loved over the years.
So, amid these painful losses came Copper, our lab. The
Time was right, and I felt Mom’s otherworldly approval because
Underneath Copper’s quirkiness lies his loyalty, cuddliness, and
Vigilance in holding the guard dog role. He’ll be at our feet
When we call him, shake a paw when he sees our hand.
Xenial describes our friendly lab when anyone visits. Even at the not so
Youthful age of ten, Copper carries an abundance of
Zest for bounding through life, for loving his humans – reminding us that love carries on.

Lucky Girl
Precious, sleepy Lucky Girl
Mom & me
Mom & Dad February 24, 1945
Copper Boy
Regal Copper Boy

Lauren Scott ❤️ ❤️ ❤️