Travelling with Mom Fulfilled a Dream I Didn’t Know I Had
“Hug me, Mom!” These were the first words I uttered to my mom after seeing her in the Madrid airport. I had not-so-patiently waited for this moment ever since I returned to Spain after two weeks at home for Christmas. Every night, I crossed off the day on the advent calendar that I had converted into a “Mom arrives in Spain” calendar. The idea of my mom’s trip to Spain, and our subsequent trip to Paris together, had kept me afloat ever since moving to a new country six months prior. My days were spent working as an English language assistant, meanwhile, my evenings were filled with storms of second-guessing myself, tears, and the feeling that no matter how hard I tried I was failing at forging a new life halfway across the world. I was desperate for a small piece of home.
[Mom] brought me back to reality with a simple statement: “The only thing I care about is spending time with you, all of these things we are seeing and doing are just a bonus.”
But standing in the airport that morning, I’m not sure who was more relieved to see the other. This was my mom’s first trip out of the U.S., and she had spent the past few months nervously joking about whether she would survive the eight hours it would take to get from Washington, DC, to Madrid. Because this wasn’t a normal flight, this one was going over the ocean. The ocean! But she did survive, and two days later we were on a flight to Paris. We spent five days in the city I had dreamed of visiting with her ever since I had had the chance to spend a week there after my university graduation. Our time in the city was jam-packed with pastries, wine, and tourist attractions.
Almost as soon as we arrived, I felt the relief and happiness of having my mom with me become overshadowed with a new feeling: worry. The line between parent and child felt increasingly blurred as I started to spend most of the time worried about my mom and trying to make sure she was okay. Did she have her bag? Her phone? Was she hungry? Tired? Most importantly, I found myself repeatedly fretting about whether she was enjoying the trip. But like how most mothers have the uncanny ability to do, mine brought me back to reality with a simple statement: “The only thing I care about is spending time with you, all of these things we are seeing and doing are just a bonus.”
It was a chance to see my adopted continent with new eyes and to enjoy time with my mom as much more than her daughter, but as her friend.
It´s easy to get caught up in constantly doing, doing, doing, but the only thing that really mattered on this trip for my mom was spending time with me. The point was being together and being open to all of the new experiences exploring a city can offer. By the end of our trip, my mom wasn’t feeling well and we spent the last day lying around watching reality television.
Even though we had visited the Eiffel Tower, marvelled over the art found in the Louvre, and indulged ourselves in the finest crepes we could find, sitting around enjoying each other’s company as if no time had passed since we last saw each other turned out to be the best part of the entire trip. Despite my best efforts to convincingly pretend to be an adult, my mom is always there to share her wisdom and make me feel like everything is going to be okay.
And even though I finally felt like it was my turn to make sure she had everything she could ever need or want on this trip, she made me take a step back and realize it wasn’t about how much we were doing, it was about how much we were enjoying the little moments together. Travelling with my mom fulfilled a dream I never knew I had.
Travelling with Mom Fulfilled a Dream I Didn’t Know I Had.
It was a chance to see my adopted continent with new eyes and to enjoy time with my mom as much more than her daughter, but as her friend. As for my mom these days? She has taken up a new hobby—searching for apartments she would love to live in in Paris. (Despite the plane ride across the ocean she will have to take to get there!) Turns out I might have helped her to be a little braver while she was helping me to slow down and enjoy the journey.