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.

Tender Reminiscence

Remember in our younger years
how you’d touch your lips to mine
while standing on the step
when we cold-shouldered time?
No letting-go desire of the
embrace that held us near
No care in the world was matched
in that moment that we shared
Who knew those doorstep kisses
would carry us this distance?
(floating in a state-of-mind
of tender reminiscence)

Lauren Scott (c) ❤️
Do you have memories
of doorstep kisses?

Tiny Treasures by the Sea

precious works of art
remain forever priceless

as time ticks away

rocks and shiny shells
of all shapes and colors bring
joy to childlike hearts


sandy shore offers
troves of tiny treasures for
imaginations


smooth-as-silk green glass
in clay molded with fancy
edges shows vision

paintbrush through fingers
brows furrowed, concentrating
cherished masterpiece

tiny hands create
a piece of art, melting the
heart decades later

Lauren Scott (c)
Our son made this
when he was little,
forever priceless.
❤️

In Technicolor

A time so long ago,
yet the memory
in technicolor…
I want to rip the page
from my mind’s
photo album,
because my heart
was foolish
to fall for that man,
our skies different
our dreams astray,
but the heart’s pulse
beats to a tune
of its own choosing,
never inspired
by logic,
nor will it ever be
shatterproof.
But this man wasn’t
a cockroach.
I never wished
to stomp on him,
like others
who preceded.
And so, I’m grateful,
for without that page
I wouldn’t have
stumbled
upon the path
that led me
to my love at last.

Lauren Scott (c)

The Old Afghan (with audio)

Each purl stitch was interlaced
with love from the touch
of her gentle hands.
She, the teacher,
me, the student,
as our bodies
sank into the big sofa
checkered in a
seventy’s palette.

For a new teen,
my love for her
went unmeasured.
Now, fully immersed
in motherhood
after three decades,
the mom role is
clear as plate glass,
how heart and mind
require flexibility
,
the juggling
of many hats.

Her wisdom mingles
with my thoughts
so often that I whisper,
“I get it, Mom.”
Teardrops of love
struggle for freedom,
grief clutches at my heart.

Autumn browns, reds,
yellows, and oranges
from that afghan
warmed memories
over the years,
but at some point,
my novice knitwork
must have slipped a stitch
because those warm shades
unraveled through the seasons,
crafting a hole in the center

that mirrors the chasm in my heart
from missing her.

Lauren Scott (c) 💗

The Sandwich

I go light on the mayo,
add some Grey Poupon,

layer sliced tomatoes,
pickles and cucumbers,

pile on leaves of romaine
for the final touch,

in between two slices
of whole wheat bread.

The kids are adults,
living on their own.
It’s just hubby and me at home.

Yes, I still make lunches.
I have mastered “the sandwich.”

From turkey to tuna to egg salad
or chicken, to this new veggie delight.

Suddenly, I’m standing in the kitchen,
my kids are little, small shoe sizes
by the door, Lego on the floor in
his room, barbies scattered in hers,

the days in the nineties
when peanut butter and jelly ruled.

I should tally all the peanut butter jars,
jelly flavors or jam, if you prefer,

and slices of bread that
were consumed back then.

The hustle and bustle of early hours
on school-day mornings,
kids tossing a coin for the shower.

Hair dryer working overtime with her long
thick mane. He and I, donning various
hats for our roles as cab driver, cook,
teacher, counselor, hugger, father, mother.

I shake my head, smiling,
in the present on a workday.
I reach for an apple
.

Tomorrow, we buy!

Lauren Scott (c) 2022
Photo: Pixabay
Some fun for a Saturday smile.


Christmas Trees and Memories!

This holiday season is different for my husband and I, a bit quieter around the house because we became empty nesters several months ago. And I admit that with Christmas just around the corner, the quiet is a bit thunderous. I remember past holidays when our son and daughter were little; we’d keep the magic going and would look forward to witnessing their wonder of the season each day up until the morning when we watched them with delight open their gifts. They knew that just the night before, Santa had come down the chimney with the hefty pack of presents on his back.

Holiday baking is a tradition that I carried into my family from memories of my sisters and I baking with Mom. She was beautiful and festive, wearing her Christmas apron as she taught us how to make sugar cookies and her German Christmas Stollen – a delicious recipe that I’ve made only once in my life but will attempt again when I have the required energy in both mind and body. The recipe is complicated, involving yeast and bread rising and everything that I know very little about, hence, the need to muster up that energy! Baking with my young children was a time when their excitement and giggles bounced off the walls as they helped make sugar cookies in different shapes: bells, boots, Christmas trees, angels, stockings, candy canes, holly leaves, and more. Licking the beaters was a must, and no one ever got sick. Their tiny little hands had so much fun with the cookie dough as if they were creating with playdough. Christmas carols played in the background adding merriment to the mix.

I must have inherited my love of dressing festively for the holidays because when our children were little, I loved painting on t-shirts and sweatshirts for family and friends. I was no artist, but my daughter and son were thrilled to wear their white “Merry Christmas” sweatshirts with candy canes and Santa’s “Ho, Ho, Ho!” The grandparents wore their Santa Claus sweatshirts with pride, and they looked cute! My husband and I still wear ours and that paint has never peeled off, even after thirty years! Having fun was the main objective!

Last year’s festivities

But this past Saturday a new tradition began when just the two of us drove to our most patronized grocery store to look for a live Christmas tree. He’s an Arborist and an avid tree hugger, so as long as the prepping of the tree – fitting it onto the stand and keeping it watered – doesn’t become physically challenging, a living tree will be our preference. For the first time, we brought home a beautiful Grand Fir. My husband prepped the tree outside, trimming the bottom branches, making sure the flush cut was level with the base of the tree, then drilling holes around the center hole to allow water to be soaked up. Inside the house, I rearranged furniture, vacuumed, and pulled the red festive tree skirt from the closet, prepping the perfect spot by the large window in the living room. When the tree was set up, I poured sugar water into the base and waited a half hour to ensure no water was seeping through.

Tony Bennett sang Christmas carols in the background while we strung the lights around the fragrant tree. As we picked up each ornament, precious memories flooded our minds. Most ornaments were handmade by our children as they were growing up, and many have photos of them from kindergarten, first, and second grades. Oh, the memories! Now our beautiful Grand Fir stands tall by the window adorned in red, green, and white lights, adding magic to the room. The tree topper is our very own precious angel that our daughter made when she was a little girl. She used a toilet paper roll. Hilarious, but clever, and so special that this angel will never be replaced.

I realized early that day, I didn’t feel the same excitement to put up the tree as I’ve felt in years past. But we had a great time, perusing the trees on the lot, then getting both tree and house ready. Feeling reminiscent of those years when our children were little invoked gratitude for the blessed Christmases we’ve had when we all lived together, or at least, when one child was home while the other was away at university. So, even though we missed the presence of our adult kids during this tradition, I’m grateful for my husband to share another holiday season with. Perspective is key: this is the next chapter for each of us, and it’s all good. Most importantly, we are healthy and safe.

Everyone has their own struggles and sorrow from various life events; some are just a matter of going along with the progression of natural changes like becoming empty nesters, and some events are so tragic that joy drifts far, far away. Hopefully, though, joy can be found wherever our hearts and minds may be this holiday season, even if only in tiny, fragile fragments.

❤️❤️❤️

And speaking of memories, if you’re looking for a holiday gift for family or friends, my memoir, More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose, is available on Amazon:

US Amazon:
https://tinyurl.com/5bffee3t

UK Amazon:
https://tinyurl.com/fhy4mtaf

Below is another beautiful 5-Star Review from my dear friend, Betty at https://raindancepoetry.wordpress.com:

“More than Coffee is a heartwarming collection of memories and anecdotes in which the author reflects on her early life, her marriage, her love for family and friends, and her appreciation for the great outdoors. In poetry and prose she writes poignantly (and often humorously) of love, loss, sadness and joy, and I found myself relating to each section. The overall feeling I had after reading More than Coffee was one of optimism and upliftment. A wonderful book!

I believe there is some meaningful discovery for each reader, or at least, this is my wish.

Sending you all hugs of joy during this holiday season.
Lauren ❤️🎄

It Just Happened So Fast

It was close to 7:30 am when she walked into his room, sitting down in front of him. She looked into his eyes with a combination of love and resolution, as if to say, “Don’t you know, too?” He looked at his adorable black lab and shook his head, thinking, this is a little odd. But the obligation of school called, so he patted her soft head, saying, “Love you, Girl, see you later!” And he finished tying his shoes before walking out the door, heading for the high school.

The rest of us also left for the day’s routine: work and school. Just the ordinary; it was to be an ordinary kind of day. She was curled up and content on her soft bed in the backyard where she liked to keep an eye on any trespassing critters.

But shortly after we all left, she cried out. Our good neighbor next door heard her high-pitched cries, so he called us on our cell phones, then he stayed with her. One significant glitch was that all our cell phones were turned off, which had never happened before, and which proved to be the conundrum on this tearful day. So, over an hour passed before I even listened to the urgent message; during this time, our neighbor waited patiently with Lucky Girl breathing her last breaths. The guilt from this unintentional blunder stayed with us for a very long time; we felt sick inside imagining that she was lying there waiting for one of us to come home to tell her that everything was going to be okay.

He got down to her level, parking himself on the cool November concrete, her head resting on his leg. He was not a dog person, but he was a dog person on this day, petting her with compassion. It was ironic that she had had an aversion to him for some unknown reason. But that morning, any dislike she had for this man faded into the uncertainty of what was happening.

I pulled into the driveway, eyes wet and puffy from the phone message, and this was only the beginning. Walking through the side gate, I spotted our neighbor sitting on the walkway, his back up against the house, legs stretched out with Lucky Girl lying beside him. She was barely there, though – her eyes revealing acceptance and sadness. I think she knew more than we did at that moment.

He helped me lift her, gently laying her in the back of the car so she could lie on her side with plenty of room. As much as I wanted her in the front seat where I could see her, I knew she wouldn’t be comfortable. It wasn’t until I pulled out of the driveway that I realized the inevitable was drawing closer. She was eleven years old, but until today, she still seemed so full of life.

With tearful eyes, I drove, feeling grateful the freeway wasn’t a necessary route. Half-way to the vet, I knew. My heart felt the crossing. I pulled over to the side, got out of the car, and walked to the back, lifting the car door. I saw that my Lucky Girl had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I sobbed again, knowing more tears would follow.

I kissed her on her nose then managed to get back into the driver’s seat, continuing for another ten minutes to the vet. When I arrived, frantically entering the building, I shared my devastating news with the girl at the counter who acted amazingly aloof for my untamed emotions. But two vet techs wearing light blue medical jackets carried Lucky Girl from the car into a private room. I asked for a few moments alone with my girl. There she was lying on the silver table, where I’m sure many furry family members have done the same. I bent over, laying my head on her soft black fur, gently petting her, and whispering on behalf of her family, “We love you, Lucky Girl.” More tears slid down my face as I was unable to comprehend that this was it…

No more walks together, no more cuddles on the bed, no more tossing of the ball, watching her chase that silly round toy with the excitement of a toddler. No more playing tug-o-war with her favorite rope toy, entertained by her incredible strength and admirable effort. No more watching TV with her lying at our feet as though she’s enjoying the show as much as we are.  

When we were all home later that day – the news weighing heavy on our hearts and minds – we huddled in a strong embrace, emotions running wild. This unforgettable chapter was part of life, part of owning a pet, allowing their unconditional love to wrap around our hearts. But this chapter was also about learning how to say good-bye.

The strange thing was Lucky Girl had never indicated that something was off kilter…except, perhaps, when she walked into his room that morning. She looked at him with knowledge we couldn’t possibly have been privy to. Even though her behavior was unusual, she was quiet, not crying or whining, so it didn’t propel us into worrying.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty. If we only would have known.
It just happened so fast.

Remembering Lucky Girl who received her angel wings on November 11, 2011. ❤️

Waiting to Exhale

The calendar showed October 4th, 2012. She and I sat in the sterile office surrounded by semi-gloss light blue walls, our hearts thumping, hands like ice. We waited for the man who wore a white coat to join us, hoping he would provide gentle answers to appease our questions.

The matter was serious, but when I first saw his face, I thought of Santa, stark white hair and fluffy beard, red, rosy cheeks good for pinching. The only thing missing was the apple red hat, and though he would bear dreadful news, his smile was welcoming, as if the three of us were meeting for a stroll in the park on a lovely spring afternoon.

It was amazing how a tiny scope could be guided through the mouth and throat then down the esophagus. CT scans, lab work, MRIs, and a needle too long to discuss occupied her hours for over 1,000 days. Still, we craved clarity. Our world was hazy like thick fog a driver would endure crossing the Golden Gate Bridge during summer in the wee hours of the morning.
And we waited – a necessary evil that all people grapple with too often to count the times on their hands.

Then on that autumn day came words we would have liked to have hurled back to Santa. We had hoped for gentle. Instead…
“All tests point to this auto immune disease, and there is no cause or cure,” he told us with a touch of remorse. The future would necessitate a transplant. It was not cancer, but this finding should not be shunned. She was twenty years old, like a sunflower of friendliness and optimism. He added, “Just live your life.”

I felt her physical pain rip through each atrium and ventricle – my most excruciating moments of being a parent. But her strength embraced and consoled me, her mother, of all things.
Life pulled us through each season.

The calendar now presents the year 2021: She is a lovely, young woman – a wedding band adorns her left ring finger, and geography has changed along with a new insurance card. She meets with another man who wears a similar white coat. X-rays and jabs repeat. “All of your tests are normal,” he affirms. All is normal. Words we had hoped to hear from this new expert.
“I don’t see a reason to keep you in the same box,” he confirms.

This is amazing news! But abdominal stabs and pruritus from the past were as tangible as a twisted knife to the gut. How can we negate that agony? What is the deeper meaning? Should we get the champagne flutes out, give them a quick wash? Has this nightmare finally ended? She chooses to live in the here and now.
Life continues to draw us forward to witness each sunrise and sunset,
although we are still waiting to exhale.

Lauren Scott (c) 2021