I have been asked to be more…..delicate with this list. While my mom is a good sport she is a tad bit more sensitive than my dad. I was banned from throwing her 50th birthday party after she watched my dad endure poo cakes, pin the colostomy on the donkey and beer served in urinals at his. I guess I can’t blame her.
So here goes nothing, don’t be too mad mom.
Traveling was something my mom and I talked about doing together for years, but I refused to go anywhere with her until she learned not to pack three suitcases. She did eventually learn the art of packing light-ish and I was able to teach her there is beauty in unexpected places (even those with bathrooms down the hall). She showed me that accepting differences is easier than expecting change and that sometimes people need time to adapt. Patience and understanding were lessons well worth learning for me.
10. No matter how old you are, when you feel sick there is nothing better than a mom. I was slammed with the worst stress induced cold on one of our trips and she kept me rested and hydrated until I could get back on my feet.
9. There were many fashion items I learned to just endure when traveling with my mom, but one item in particular was just more than I could take. The guilty item was a light blue matching warm up suit that screamed LOOK AT ME, I’M A TOURIST! Weeks of relentless pleading, begging, taunting and threats finally lead to the disposal of that horrific suit. We called it the walk of shame.
8. I introduced my mom to one of my Italian indulgences. Handbag shopping. My favorite spot is a little boutique in Orvieto. The ladies kept bringing out more and more bags for us to ‘try on.’ We were the center of attention while they gave us their opinions. I walked out with two that day!
7. On one of our long trips together, my parents watched my daughter while I led a tour group. I scheduled a day of my tour so that I could spend the afternoon in Florence with my daughter. I insisted my mom come with us and we spent the day riding in horse-drawn carriages, chasing pigeons and chatting with the locals. Somehow having the three generations of ladies together made the time that much more special.
6. Civita. One of my most special places in Italy. I could not wait to share this experience with my parents. But fate had other plans for us. My daughter was sick and puking, so I took her up to the village to try and get her settled. Meanwhile, I had left my parents to bring up their suitcases and planned on going back for mine later. What I did not realize was that my dad would take my Rome lecture about safety to the extreme here in this village and insist that my mom help him carry EVERYTHING from the car, uphill over the bridge and to the B&B. Mind you, this was also during my mom’s transitional packing light stage. She arrived at my most special place exhausted, overheated, angry and crying. And that was before she discovered she had to use a bathroom down the hall. Things were not as I had envisioned. Civita has a magical effect though, and by morning she was under its spell.
5. My mom is the great encourager. On a trip to Italy when my daughter was only two and I was still a single mom, I found her constantly telling me how brave I was and what a good job I was doing. One day in particular we were climbing Giotto’s Tower in Florence. I had my daughter secured to me in a sling while I marched up to the top. When my mom met me there, I remember her telling me she couldn’t believe how strong I was. Of course she meant physically but the encouragement was taken even deeper.
4. My parents have been together since high school. Yes, one of those sickly sweet romantic true love stories. I’m used to it and all the mushy, lovely dovey stuff that comes with it. Over a dinner in Cortona, my mom consumed a little more than her usual amount of wine and I found myself asking them to cool their jets. The making out was beginning to draw attention and I found myself blushing as she french-kissed him over dessert.
3. I am a control freak when it comes to my daughter. I am also a control freak when it comes to driving in Italy. I needed to leave on tour and decided to make my mom the designated driver while I was gone. We spent a full week practicing how to drive with the crazy Italians. I showed her the best ways to deal with passing or being passed on the autostrada, how to assertively but safely manage the round abouts and how to park without getting boxed in. The thing I loved the most was watching her gain confidence.
2. While mom might have trouble with rooms lacking private bathrooms, she certainly knows how to roll with the punches when it comes to glitches in travel. The rain rolled in and threatened to ruin our plans, but instead we embraced the grey and grabbed our umbrellas. We spent an entire day in Cortona sipping on coffee and splashing in puddles while other tourists (whose names will be withheld) pouted in their rooms.
1. Life hasn’t always been fair for my mom. She missed out on experiences as a child that should have brought her comfort and given her confidence. On a visit to this amazing little pottery studio (read more here), I learned about a passion my mom possessed that I was completely unaware of. I don’t think her face ever looked more peaceful or beautiful than it did that day as she worked at the pottery wheel.
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Copyright 2012 Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel
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