The Early-Morning Walks

Carol still grieved the loss of her husband, Bill. Twelve months had slipped away, but forty-six loving years of marriage wouldn’t allow her to let go of her beloved. Living without him was like living without air. Sadly, they couldn’t have children of their own and Bill wasn’t keen on adopting. So, they lived their life together spending time in the outdoors and traveling when they could. At seventy-three years old, Carol recognized that her friends circle had shrunk. She had several acquaintances to occasionally meet for lunch, but she no longer had that best friend to rely on for laughter or tears or to confess her deepest anxieties. The friends she thought would be in her life forever had drifted away like the wind carrying a lonely leaf over a meadow. But Charlie, her friendly pug, needed love and attention, so he filled that role in this chapter of her life. She talked to her furry friend all the time and he was an intent listener. She swore that he could understand every spoken word. He was quick to pick up on her emotions by giving her a lick on her cheek or a nudge from his tiny wet nose.

Because of Charlie, Carol couldn’t wallow in the stronghold of sadness. By eight o’clock each morning, she had locked the door behind her, and she and Charlie were walking around the neighborhood. She had remained in pretty good shape and maintained to keep it that way. Carol and Charlie usually spotted Jenna who lived around the block and who was the first to introduce herself over a decade ago. During that initial conversation, Carol learned that Jenna was married to Tom, and they had one son, Jack. They had moved into their home shortly before the two women had met.

It was a Friday morning when Carol and Charlie were about to reach Jenna’s house on their walk. She was standing by her car but walked over to meet them. “Hi Carol, it’s good to see you,” Jenna said as she bent down to pet Charlie on his soft little head.

“Hi Jenna, how are you? Why the long face?”

“Well, I’m afraid I have some bad news…Tom and I are getting a divorce. I haven’t seen you all week to tell you.”

“Oh, I’ve had a nasty cold that kept me inside. I’m so sorry, Jenna! I didn’t see this coming!

“I didn’t either, even though we’ve had some rocky moments. But after Tom and I talked, we thought it was for the best. I’m glad you’re feeling better, but I wish I had happier news to share.”

“Don’t worry about me. I feel bad this is happening, but it’s good you and Tom reached an agreement. I hope you’re staying in the house…”

“Actually, I’m moving out, but Tom didn’t ask me to. It’s my choice. I already found an apartment where Jack will live with me part of the time, and the move is Sunday.”

“This weekend? That’s so fast, Jenna. I’m at a loss for words, except that I’ll really miss you.”

“I’ll miss you, too, and our morning chats. You and Charlie need to take good care of each other.” Jenna wrapped Carol in a good-bye hug before the two women parted ways.

Carol felt the beginning of tears pushing through as she and Charlie continued their walk. She would miss her friend, but she was also saddened by the news of their impending divorce. So many young couples were separating, and these statistics made her heart ache. She missed Bill so much and wondered, why can’t couples find what we treasured for what felt like a lifetime? Ironically, Jenna had been friendlier than many of the new residents in the neighborhood – one of the reasons Carol felt a pang of sympathy and concern for this lovely young woman.

The neighborhood had changed since Bill and Carol moved into town decades ago. She recalled former neighbors with nostalgia. Mr. Angelino across the street no longer played his accordion – no music flowed from his backyard patio. Mrs. Miller didn’t toss saltwater taffy from her kitchen window for the youngsters; her kind gesture always brought high-pitched laughter that could be heard over the noise of cars rolling up and down the street. Then there was Mrs. Arnold who extended a generous invitation to the neighbors for a swim in her pool that amusingly resembled a kidney. Her joy in cooling off in the aquamarine water on those scorching summer days should be shared with others; that’s how she saw it. I enjoyed so many refreshing dips thanks to kindhearted Mrs. Arnold. These three lovely friends had passed away long ago, and these times are now distant, precious memories. Therefore, Jenna’s affable demeanor brightened Carol’s days. And now Jenna’s moving, she thought with a heavy heart.

Younger couples lived in these older homes now, but they seemed nonexistent. They were probably busy with their jobs, and occasionally, the cries of a baby escaped through billowing curtains. Maybe computer screens had become their new companions. Computers are terrific tools, but they can also be sneaky time thieves! When Carol does happen to see any of these young people, they don’t smile or wave much, not like her old neighbors did.

The following week when Carol and Charlie spotted Jenna’s house on their walk, it was apparent that Jenna had moved out. Her green SUV no longer hugged the curb in its normal spot. Two living room chairs, a worn sofa and ottoman, and a dresser sat on the dried-up brown grass. The roses and lantana in the front yard that once blossomed in soft pinks and rich reds had wilted, looking sad and forlorn. Tom’s black truck was still there, sitting in the driveway. But the tan stucco house looked exhausted, probably from emotions pulling its walls in several directions.

It was Thursday of that week when Carol paused for a moment…I want to believe this house could tell joyful tales from the past, but now I feel that if this house could talk, it might shed a tear or two from the second story windows, and those tears would fall into the neglected garden.

Carol missed Jenna, a bright light on those early-morning walks. Perhaps after experiencing the loss of my old friends, then losing Bill, Jenna’s move is one more loss added to the list. It’s a heavy burden Carol will have to bear but then let go of when the time is right. She was aware the stages of grieving differ for everyone.

Despite my own sadness, I hope this family can gather courage for acceptance of a new trajectory that lies in their future. I suppose I need to do the same thing. A year has come and gone and I’m no better off than the day I scattered Bill’s ashes on his favorite mountain.

Charlie nudged Carol out of her deep thoughts with his tiny wet nose as they began to turn another corner.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021

Just Yesterday

Dressed up in satin and lace, I walked slowly down the aisle of the church sanctuary. Strolling arm in arm with my father, I loved hearing the swish from my dress with each graceful step. My eyes focused on my to-be-husband standing in front of the sanctuary. He looked quite dashing in his black tux. Wasn’t this special occasion just yesterday?
Yesterday that transported into thirty-one years of marriage.

Well, it was just yesterday when I saw the item sitting on the shelf: a gift from my bridal shower in 1988. I recall opening the box and pulling out a white mini food chopper. A great gift, but did I expect to keep it for three decades? I thought for sure it would’ve been replaced with an updated version sometime between then and now. Yet, over the years, it has stood the test of time, still working, and the only change is its color; instead of a glossy white, it’s now faded into a pale yellow.

The question is: should I replace the little food chopper because it looks weathered? If so, shouldn’t anything old be swapped out for a newer version? Think about cars. They may have all the parts, their engines may roar when the key is turned, but if they’re scraped up and bruised, shouldn’t they be traded in for shiny new models? Let’s expand our thinking even further: Should spouses sprouting gray hair, wearing mazes of facial wrinkles be substituted with younger partners? Is the end-all goal a better-looking copy?

Let’s do the math: if that mini chopper has aged, so have I and I am not going to be traded in. Buying brand-new, shiny, and flawless is exciting and I won’t lie and say that I never have, but sometimes the memories deep within are more valuable than the “itemitself. Regarding life partners, what about the good memories: the laughter, tears, adventures, intimacy, and the love both partners felt in the beginning when that spark ignited? This is why my faded chopper still sits on the shelf, rather content with the cookie sheets and mixing bowls.

I don’t know how long the chopper will stay in the family, but as long as it does, I’ll remember that Saturday afternoon: women gathered to celebrate my upcoming wedding day. Silly games brought fits of laughter, deep conversations evoked precious memories, words of wisdom were spoken by women who had lived through the cracks and crevices of life. Most importantly, my faded gift reminds me of when my mom and mother-in-law were still in my life. They were two amazing women with more stories to tell and wisdom to share and I miss them more than words convey.

Mom on my right and
my mother-in-law on my left.

So, if you’re questioning whether you should toss that old worn-out item even though it functions perfectly, allow yourself to pause in the moment, to reflect upon the wonderful memories.

January 21, 1989

The answer could just be in one of them.

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

The 3-Day Quote Challenge #3

Welcome to the 3rd and final day of my 3-Day Quote Challenge, which I was happy to have been nominated by Annika at annikaperry.com. Thanks again, Annika! This has been fun, but it’s also lead me to some great new quotes. Please visit Annika’s blog if you haven’t already. She’s a fabulous writer of fiction – an amazing story teller!

To the challenge…The rules are as follows:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Post a quote on 3 consecutive days.
Share why this quote appeals so much to you.
Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

I found my quote online, which ties into this very special day, my son’s 23rd birthday…

birthday quote

Our son came into our world on 5/9/95, at 3:38 pm. We had our little girl so were elated to have a son. Before our children were born, though, we chose not to learn the gender. We loved the element of surprise and would simply be thrilled with healthy babies. With these thoughts going in, I experienced the same “high” I felt after giving birth to my daughter – a wonderful feeling unlike no other.

As to my son’s purpose, he’ll be graduating from college next month and is still working on his path in life. Many have been blessed to have realized their purpose, and for others, the search continues. This is perfectly okay because there is no time limit, although remember to enjoy the journey, also! 

Regarding birthdays, some choose to skip theirs for fear of aging. This is one aspect of life out of our control, so as I conveyed in my prior post, let’s live life to its fullest and celebrate our special days. Each birthday is another year of life, and getting to blow out candles on a festive birthday cake is not a guarantee. It’s a privilege that many people don’t experience because their lives end sooner than expected.

So, I wish my son a very Happy 23rd Birthday and am so proud of the young man he’s become. I love him and my daughter to the moon and back! And his family is beyond excited to see where his path leads him post graduation.

michael in tokyo 2017
(Photo taken in Tokyo 2017)

I hope you are inspired now to celebrate your special days, to not worry about aging, but instead, to enjoy the possibilities and gifts that each day brings…and if you haven’t figured out your purpose, yet, then keep searching…You may learn something wonderful about yourself along the way…

I’ll leave it up to anyone who would like to take on this quote challenge, instead of nominating individuals. Hope you enjoyed! Lauren ❤

 

 

 

 

 

Your Reflection

mirror

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you smile or do you turn your back on yourself? Do you sometimes wish your house was mirror-less?

How did your year end? Did you love yourself last year?

How is your new year beginning? Do you love yourself now?

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” Kurt Cobain

We’ve all heard the saying, “You have to love yourself before you can love others.”

It’s so easy to find faults with ourselves, whether they’re physical or results of something we said or did. Or maybe we’re just not smart enough. The list is ongoing. Most people doubt themselves at some time in their lives. Self-worth and self-esteem waver every so often. After all, we’re only human. We occasionally make choices that create an outcome making us wish we chose a different door.

“We torture ourselves incessantly, and for what purpose? Wouldn’t life be so much more fun, productive, and sexy if we fully embraced our magnificently delightful selves?” Jen Sincero 

Love yourself

Regarding physical appearance, we have screens of all sizes telling us how to be good-looking (for both women and men) and how to defy age. We learn that, instead of embracing laugh lines and those wonderful memories that caused them, they should be covered because looking young “forever” is what matters most. I suppose I’ll be an anomaly then because Botox or anything that requires a needle on the face is not an option for me. Of course, I’ve noticed changes that I’m not thrilled about, but it’s all a part of growing older, and between you and me, it’s the better alternative. I’ve had dear friends who were never given the chance to grow old. 

men ageing

“There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do…You are the only you that will ever be. You are kind of a big deal.” Jen Sincero

So, if you’re struggling with yourself, choose to Forgive yourself. Don’t be so quick to beat yourself up. Accept who You are and Love Yourself. If you do all these things, then your outlook on the world and people around you will be so much brighter. You’ll be able to allow others into your circle and give them the authentic gift of Kindness, Compassion, and Love…the authentic gift of You!

girl looking in mirror

“You’ll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.” Charlie Chaplin

FORGIVE YOURSELF, LOVE YOURSELF, AND SMILE. ISN’T THIS A GREAT WAY TO START THE NEW YEAR?

~Lauren Scott
(All photos courtesy of Google)

 

A Knock on Your Door

When your hair shines like a silver coin
and your age is no longer twenty-one,
when your only hope is simply to remember
and not merely to follow the sun,
will you be grateful for the morning light
when your body has broken in diverse ways
or will you fear the changes fallen upon you
and dread the time in your days?

Lauren Scott © 2015

Laugh Lines – Haiku

as the mirror meets

her gaze, she sees them, clearly –

wisdom or old age?

© LScott

(Of course, “she” is used in general terms,
as this can be for men, too.
Just some simple thoughts on aging,
our reactions and what we’ll do about it,
if anything.
Me? I won’t do anything; no desire,
but I will pray (really hard) to age gracefully.
🙂 🙂