In loving memory

My mother died two weeks ago. So, a lot of things have changed. First off, I’m grounded. No trips, no vacations, nothing for the foreseeable future. So, that’s different for me. I’m needed at home. There’s things only I can take care of.

Secondly, I didn’t know that she had aspirations of being a travel counsellor. We found a resume in her things. It’s from 20 years ago, but she was hoping to make a move within the organization she worked for and take on a role of travel sales.

In this resume she declares a love for travel and a thirst to see more of the world. I didn’t know this. Actually, it comes as quite a shock. I say this because she openly challenged me when I talked about planning trips. She didn’t want me “jetting off.” “Going to strange places.” “Stay closer to home” she’d say.

But maybe that “don’t go” attitude only applied to ME. Maybe her love for me simply outweighed the see-the-world zest for life and ambition she once had. Or the travel ambition she had for herself, or others.

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The woman who taught me to get up & go. I like this photo of her. It really shows that spunk. That fun-loving side of a younger woman who toted kids around coast to coast, spun tires, played loud music and showed us how to “road trip.”

 

In recent years, she hated the thought of me going anywhere. It actually caused her great anxiety. So, it got to the point where I didn’t even tell her of my plans. I simply went where I wanted to go and told her about how wonderful it was, once I got back.

Despite attempts to sneak away, she would sometimes hear about my plans from my brother. I’d be off on a weekend adventure, like I was in Cleveland, and I’d get a text from her. “Hope you’re having fun in Cleveland.” I never knew how to take these messages. Was she busting me? Was she sincere…. as in “have fun dear.” Or was it sarcasm? Whatever the sentiment, it was moments like those, I’ll miss and cherish now.

Keeping tabs on me was her hobby. I’m sure of it! And further, she would report my every move to my Amma. (Icelandic for grandmother) I resisted, at times, feeling like the “Amma Squad” was a division of the FBI or something. I’m kidding, of course, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I was just indulging my independence and free spirit. I am an adult, in every country on earth, with age and wisdom to spare, after all. Our game of travel cat and mouse, was a pretty typical mother-daughter thing, I’d say.

Her health challenges were what limited her travels ultimately. I don’t think she left Canada in the last decade. “No need for a passport” she’d say. I, on the other hand, applied for a passport as soon as cross-border travel required it and have been busy trying to get those pages stamped ever since. I really felt like my passport was an actual ticket to adventure.

I’ll get my wings back. I’m looking forward to 2017. I have to. I need to keep my chin up and eyes to the sky, take things one day at a time. It’s how I’ll cope with this incredible loss. And I do take comfort in the fact that she had her own travel aspirations and a spark inside her, like I do, to see the world and experience what it has to offer.

That time on a paddleboard.

There was only really one thing that I wanted to do in Hawaii that trip, learn to paddleboard. And by learn, I mean do it successfully enough to get a good picture.  Isn’t that what it’s all about nowadays anyway, just getting that next great Instagram photo?

At my age, I should get a ribbon just for participating!  Isn’t that the thing though? You just want to be able to show your kids that you’ve still got it. Be one of the cool moms, one of the moms that gets the likes on Instagram, not the laughs on YouTube. One of the moms that doesn’t fall flat on her face and go stomping off the beach cursing.

There’s a lot of pressure on vacation. Pressure to enjoy yourself, get along with your family, source picture worthy food, get good value for what you’ve already spent and learn everything from the region’s history to the state flower so you can share it on your blog. (Haha. I never learn about the state flower. There’s wikipedia for that!)

Good thing I’m a rockstar under pressure. (As the mom to a hockey goaltender, it’s in my DNA.) I’m pretty sure that’s why the kids always volunteer me to go first, I’m good under pressure.  First to catch the wave during surf lessons, first to try that new sushi place, first to open the hotel closet door. Yeah, you could say I’m their leader (read… family guinea pig).

So when I rented the paddleboard that day, I signed the waiver form and listed my “next of kin” as the hotel bartender, not the kids waving and pointing my way. But it’s all good. Grab that camera, mom’s got this!

 

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