Traveling with mom

Uncategorized Aug 31, 2022

My summer schedule was coming to an end. It was a fruitful, always active time of the year and I was ready for a change of scenery. I was looking forward to my bi-annual travel out west to see my two daughters in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Los Angeles, California. Making my rounds, helps me stay connected to my children. One of my core values is maintaining healthy family relationships. This year, I asked my 81-year-old mother to join me in the two-week excursion. Even though my mom had expressed that she was done with the hassles of airports, traffic, unfamiliar roads, and tiredness from the time change, she said “yes” to my offer. I was a little surprised yet happy that she still has some fire left in her tank. Our adventure did not disappoint. I want to share 3 lessons; I learned while traveling with my mom.

Lesson # 1 – Mom moves at a slower pace. This caused me concern because it was parents’ weekend at the Air Force Academy where my youngest daughter goes to college. This was the only weekend where parents are allowed entrance to cadet quarters to see where and how their children live out their academic, military, and physical training days. Could my mom keep up? Would she be able to walk the long distance between event activity locations and handle hills and the higher elevation effects on her body? Would I miss out on seeing my daughters’ military life because it was too much for mom? Well, we slowed our pace by sitting more, walking less, and taking in the beautiful mountain scenery. Nobody seemed to mind the slower pace. Mom stepped up her game because she knew this was a once in a lifetime chance to see a day in the life of her granddaughters’ military training. The day was full of activities starting with F-16 flyovers, gliding and paratrooper exhibitions, 40 squads of 4000 cadets, in full dress, marching into Stedman field for a traditional military parade. We loved mingling with cadets and enjoyed a squadron lunch bbq. We toured the cadet dorms, classrooms, labs, and the grounds of the 18,500-acre military base. The following day, we attended the Air force football game with nonstop excitement from tailgating before the game, cadet parade march in with all the pomp and circumstance, 4000 cadets rushing the field and trilling half time events of the school band, dancers and sky jumpers parachuting down holding the American flag. And I can’t forget to mention the real Falcon bird mascot flying at high speeds and entertaining us all. I was so glad that my mom could be there to see and experience a weekend in the life of my daughter. It was a fun time full of smiles, laughs and new sights. We slowed our pace and enjoyed every minute. Mom’s pace was what I needed to breathe, slow down and take it all in.

 Lesson #2 – Mom is a very social lady who loves good conversation and good food. The highlight of our trip was the precious time we spent with my adult children. Catching up after months of separation was always combined with a good home cooked meal. In California, my son-in-law cooked us a gourmet breakfast every morning for seven days. Our bodies were singing through each day after being lavished with such love and nutrition. My mom would share her family stories which I’ve heard before, but the kids never did. They were fascinated and impressed with this unknown family history which unlocked a new piece of their identity. My kids listened and blessed my mom. We were invited to dinner with my youngest daughter’s boyfriend’s family. Mom loved meeting everyone and was the hit of the evening with her story telling and grace.

My children are getting more established, and their social networks are growing. We were introduced to new friends and old friends alike. Mom savored meeting and getting to know these people. In fact, she came alive. It was a side of her that I hadn’t seen in a long time. This trip wasn’t too much for her; it was exactly what she needed. That’s why she said “yes” to coming. My mom has lived alone for over ten years now since my dad passed away. Even though she has a good life, I can see how starved she was for meaningful social connection with family.

 Lesson #3- Quality and Quantity time matter. I want to share a couple of experiences that will stay in my memory for ever. It was a Sunday in Colorado. Nothing was scheduled so my daughter took us to Eleven Mile State Park which was about an hour west of Colorado Springs. Everything west of Colorado Springs includes mountains. It took driving eleven miles into this park to discover this incredibly beautiful sight of a river flowing through meadow lands with mountains stretching from all sides. The day was in the low 80’s, light breeze, and no clouds in sight. It was just a spectacular day to be out in nature. My mom’s balance is not good these days so having her hike or walk up a mountain or on any unlevel ground is not a good idea. We found a camp site that was in the shade and near the rivers edge. Flyfisher people were wading out and casting their poles. It was a perfect spot to relax, reflect and take in the beauty. We had chairs and we set up a hammock. We all took the time to do nothing. After a bit of rest, my daughter, husband, and I set out for a little hike. Mom was perfectly content to rest and enjoy nature by the edge of the water. We hiked up and along a cut of rock which took us to many new levels. The views from the higher standpoint were simply beautiful. We hiked awhile but it wasn’t too much. Spending that time with my husband and princess warrior daughter doing what we love is something I will cherish.

 The second experience took place in California with my daughter and son-in-law. My daughter is an artist and one of her specialties is photography. She and her husband team up and offer this professional service as a side business. They decided that mom and I needed a photo shoot. My mom expressed that she never had her picture taken except at church where you get one shot and your done regardless of how you look. It was so fun watching my mom pose and express herself in this shoot. My daughter was so positive and encouraging and mom just relaxed and ate up all the attention. I had my turn, and it was so much fun as my daughter took picture after picture of me in different poses, outfits, and positions. It was great to laugh, be silly and have fun. We also had shots done with the three of us in serious and funny poses. The bonding time for all over us will be memories that will last.

 As I take the time to reflect on my travels with mom, it was one of the best trips of my life. I am a very blessed woman. My mother is an incredible lady, and I am so thankful for the time we spent together. We got to visit a few art museums together, see a short film premiere at the Chinese theater in Hollywood, enjoy lunch out in a beautiful garden, explore un know streets in and around LA, stroll along the Pacific at Venice Beach, and share our thoughts on kids and relationships. Priceless. If your mom is still alive, take the time, get together with her and make some memories. This is the substance of life!

 

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