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  • Writer's pictureSusan Carr

Maybe one day, Charlie

Valentine's Day is just around the corner! Like many people who celebrate it, I will enjoy time with my significant other, The Husband.

But I'm feeling pretty sorry for one lonely soul.

A male cardinal in the backyard has been singing his heart out for weeks, hoping to attract a mate.

Meet Charlie.

Every morning, like clockwork, at around 6:30 a.m., this guy is outside our window, sitting in the palm tree, pouring his soul into his music. Without fail, he does not miss a day.

He reminds me a little bit of myself. 

During the five years I was single, after being married for 20 years, I found myself singing a lot, probably more so than I had ever done. I was rediscovering myself and shifting my mindset about an ideal marriage. My understanding grew to be that marriage is between two imperfect people who won’t give up on each other. Thanks for this, Kate Stewart

I committed to not dating anyone for five years after my divorce. A book I read by Elisabeth Klein Fisher said that you should remain dateless for every four years you were married, so the math worked out to five years for me.

But, almost to the day I was single for five years, I reconnected with a friend from high school. 

He would become my husband—the absolute love of my life. 

I don't think I can tell our story any better than he does:

At the end of 10th grade, I went on one date with Susan, and we watched The Princess Bride on VHS at her house. After our date, Susan was the first girl I kissed. But soon after, we went our separate ways and wouldn’t talk again for over 25 years. Along the way, we both had good lives, but they didn’t go the way either of us would have wanted. And while Susan lost all memories of our first date and our first kiss, I never forgot either. When circumstances put us back in contact with one another all those years later, I brought up my memories of our date and kiss, and it eventually led to Susan asking me on another date to watch The Princess Bride in theaters for its 30th release anniversary. Two dates. Two times The Princess Bride. Two good night kisses. And second chances for both of us. 

The Princess Bride means something to us. It's what brought our stories together. While we did not have The Impressive Clergyman at our wedding, our cookie-cake topper was a silhouette of "As You Wish," and we honeymooned in Ireland, visiting the Cliffs of Insanity, aka the Cliffs of Moher.

I recently shared on LinkedIn that he and I had an amazing experience last weekend that surrounded our Storybook Love. This happened at MegaCon, a convention that showcases all things nerd and geek; at least, that's how I describe it because that's how I describe myself. Since it is held in Orlando, The Husband and I went and were able to meet cast members from The Princess Bride. It was a heartwarming and meaningful experience for us, regardless of how long we had to stand in line.

We met Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, and Chris Sarandon. The Husband told Mr. Sarandon he was rooting for him the whole movie.

I'm grateful that The Husband and I have had seven wonderful years with each other, and I'm looking forward to so many more.

I wish my mom could celebrate her 63rd wedding anniversary on Valentine's Day.

Or at least remember it. 

She and my dad married that day, she always said, so he would never forget their anniversary. And it worked, he never did.

Gene and Jean Brady, married February 14, 1961

My dad passed away in 2016. They made it to 55 years together. More than half of their lives were spent with each other.

But in Mom's advanced stage of dementia, she has reverted to a time in her life when she was not married and had no children; that's the world that she lives in.

And I won't bring it up when I see her on Valentine's Day because I think that would be unkind. I've shown her pictures of her and my dad, but she has no recollection of her relationship with him.

And that's okay because where she is in her world now is where she's happy.

And I have found that my new professional world also has much to love. 

When I started freelancing, I had many days where I just didn't think I was up to the challenge. Struggling to learn how to be a business owner after more than 30 years of being an employee led to many crying sessions at my desk.

But I've stayed the course. And it's been more than worth it because freelancing has provided tremendous benefits for me: 

  • time flexibility

  • creative pursuits

  • following my passions for editing and writing

  • learning about many different industries

  • connecting with some great people 

  • partnering with exceptional clients 

  • appreciating the unique stories of others that come my way 

Freelancing as an editor and writer has emerged as a line of ink scripting through the pages of my professional journey. For me, each piece of content I edit or write is a narrative waiting to be polished and brought to life.

From the lonely cardinal seeking companionship, to the love shared by my mom and dad, and the unexpected romance that grew in my own life, these stories reflect the chapters of different life stories.

As I celebrate Valentine's Day, I want to reflect on the beauty of all these stories.

The ones I edit, the ones I live, and those whose chapters have yet to be written.

What unexpected turns has your story taken, and how have they shaped your personal and professional journey? 

36 views3 comments


Cherrie Kandie
Cherrie Kandie
Feb 11

This is so beautiful 🕊 Thank you for sharing as always 🌻


Feb 10

This is exceptional and moving… (it literally moved me to tears by the end.) I love hearing the details of your love story along with the other stories. I feel like the unexpected turns of our stories, though hard as they may be, are what make up life itself. I love this quote from John Lennon…”Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I have it hanging in our bathroom and it was one of the first things I ever bought as an adult. As the years go by, I find it to be more true than the year before.

Susan Carr
Susan Carr
Feb 10
Replying to

Thank you, Holly. They are wonderful stories to tell!

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