a Magazine for Writers
by Aileen Ridings Bennett

I am in Youth, Part II.  In other words, I've been 'round the bend a few times, have heard every expletive known to man, and an expert in the how's and why's of wifeology and motherhood.  I can look at my four adult children and think, "how in the world did I grow these people and why am I not in the nut house?"  I can look at my husband of some 49 years and think, "and the reason I married you was?"  But I look back and think of the life, love and laughter that has followed me into my golden years, and I am glad I stayed the course.

Life is a bowl of spilled milk on your freshly mopped floor.  Life is "growing up" your children and struggling to grow with them.  Life is wrapping your arms around your husband when he becomes unlikable.  Life is hurting for your children when they're disappointed.  Life is holding back tears and smiling when you're down.  Life is not looking down at someone else when you're up.  Life is waking up to a brand new day and living that day to it's fullest - hoping for a tomorrow - but living it in such a way as to not be quite sure it will appear.  Life is good.

Love is cleaning up the spilled milk and holding your temper.  Love is understanding and patience with your children's growing pains.  Love is often laughing and crying at the same time.  Love heals little boys skinned knees and teenage daughters broken hearts.  Love is a friend who knows all your faults and still loves you.  Love is a gift to be received and an even better present to give others.  Love is good.

Laughter is hard to get out over spilled milk.  Laughter is a line of communication with your children.  Laughter is a special noise shared with your husband and friends when what they say isn't funny.  Laughter is a dam for tears.  Laughter is the real part of life and love.  Laughter is good.

As I enter the wrinkle romper room era of m life, my memories spill over rims of years, and I hold on to my echo of laughter and the life I have so enjoyed.  Love still comes easily to my heart and I covet its return in my adult children's faces, and the hugs from my second-chance grandchildren. 

The woes of wife and motherhood are like a pair of jeans - faded and worn - but oh, so comfortable.

Aileen Ridings Bennett confirms in her writing style she is a "dyed-in-the-wool Southerner."  She grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, in a strange and secret town and era, she proclaims.  Married to an engineer who was transferred often, her family traveled the country.  Life, Love and Laughter, was published in newspapers wherever she lived.  "My four kids provided much 'fodder' for my column," she says.

When her husband retired, the couple returned to Oak Ridge.  "Our placemats dwindled from six to two," she says, which finally gave her time to write her first novel, The Annie Chase Story, recently published by Behler Publications, will be available in bookstores soon.  Copies may be ordered through www.behlerpublications.com/titles-bennett.asp.

Aileen studied creative writing under Arizola Magnenat, a published author and journalist.   She pursues her other writing interests, such as free-lance essays, articles, and writing for her beloved Oak Ridge High School alumni.  She is now working on Emily, a sequel to The Annie Chase Story, along with a third book, untitled as yet.Contact Aileen.