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 ❤️

More than Coffee…

5:30 am. A song from the old, but reliable Sony radio wakes my husband and I up on work-day mornings. Four years ago, getting up before the sun would’ve been unthinkable, insane. Too dark outside, too quiet. Just too early. Four years later, our minds and bodies have initiated this routine we’re still acquainting ourselves with.

When that song enters into our sleepy minds, whether it’s rock, pop, or country, a new morning has arrived and so has coffee time. One of us heads for the pantry, grabs a filter and the bag of Peet’s for the good old Mr. Coffee pot. It may not be fancy, but it does the job well and has never disappointed. The delicious sound of coffee percolating is music to our ears, and when that music ends, we stroll into the kitchen to doctor up our mugs. Holding those hot cups of coffee, we take a seat in the living room – a quiet place for us to chat, read, or to simply sit together in silence.

During those years of raising our children, time was of the essence. There were never enough minutes in the work and school days to begin with leisure coffee drinking and casual chatting. It was more of a race, eyeballing the clock on the wall every two seconds, getting ourselves and the children ready for the day. Busy was the new normal. Busy was our middle name.

Yesterday, my husband drove out of the driveway on his motorcycle, setting out for a 5-day trip with several buddies. But as I sit on my sofa, lights turned on, with mug of coffee in hand, I think of him. How this early morning feels different. Peet’s remains our go-to coffee, but the taste seems duller, the effect inadequate. The silence in the house, instead of serene, feels empty like something is missing. As I turn the pages of my book, the thrill of finding out what the next page reveals has fizzled.

I realize that our early mornings aren’t just about a good cup of coffee, they’re about us. So I sip the brew anyway, and in a few days, I look forward to hearing the motor of his bike as he pulls into our driveway.

“The simple things are also the extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”

~Paulo Coelho

“Love is spending time together.”

~Snoopy

Lauren Scott (c) ❤️