Monday, April 24, 2006

Travels With My Mother, Part One

Number of phone calls with my mom in the past 48 hours RE: Spain: 5
Number of hours spent convincing her that she needs to give herself more credit: 1.3
Number of hours spent trying to find a mom-friendly, budget-friendly hotel in Madrid: 4

We haven't even left yet, and I'm a bundle of stress. My mom is a very well-traveled lady; she's probably been to 15 different countries on 4 different continents, and yet she doesn't give herself any credit. She still sees herself as helpless, dependent, and incapable of doing anything. This kind of anxiety is something that runs in my family, so I can relate (on the phone the other night I had her brainstorm the worst-case scenario (well, she immediately said "death" but I had her be more realistic so she came up with not being able to find me in Madrid) and then we worked through how she'd deal with the worst-case scenario should it occur (check into the hotel, contact my brother, find me the next day if necessary)).

But even more than my family being a bunch of neurotic, anxious freaks (which we are) I find myself pondering Mothers in general and wondering how many of them are like mine: Totally capable, strong, independent, adventurous, intelligent beings who still see themselves as weak, vulnerable, incompetent, and incapable of doing anything without failing. They are the ones who got us ready for school and made it to their jobs on time and still managed to get dinner on the table; they are the ones who nurse dying relatives, who outlive their husbands and still keep going.

And yet, they (or at least she) are still confronting insecurities. I suppose it never goes away, even with age and experience. These insecurities she faces are the ones I face myself. But I suppose the difference is that as a child, unlike as an adult, I wasn't aware of her insecuries; she was only "Mom" and perhaps few of us give "Mom" permission to be "Human."


Blogger Jules said...

You've travelled with your mom before, haven't you?

I know what you mean about being a bundle of stress though - I was like that last year in the lead up (and during) to my parents coming to visit me in China. Incredibly stressful (esp since I was pushed into the role of parent for the trip - that was a bit bizarre), but looking back, I'm really glad that I did that trip with them.

The frustrations and stress of the trip has melted away, and the memories that I have of the trip are rather positive now, like seeing how fascinated my father was with the street life in China, watching my mother being physically dragged into a shop to buy things by the shopkeeper (which my father and I found hysterically funny, although mum wasn't amused at the time).

11:27 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

I think that's so brilliant that you got your mum to visualise her worst case scenario and then you worked through it. Really, that's genius. I'm sure you will have nothing but the bestest time.

I want to go to Russia/Ukraine with mum, maybe next year - I know it will be challenging but so important for us.

8:21 PM  

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