This year my Mum and I traveled to Thailand for 10 days, and then a few months later, to Canada and Alaska for 3 weeks. Yes, I realise I am very spoilt. I’ve written about what I learnt when traveling with my boyfriend, what I learnt when traveling with my Nan, and now it’s my Mum’s turn.
- I learnt that when I travel with my mum I tend to revert to the role of a five year old. I become completely reliant on her for pretty much everything – apart from picking the restaurants and shopping ventures – that is my area of expertise. Whilst being sick in Canada I had flashbacks to my childhood, calling for my Mummy to bring my lozenges, hot tea and pain killers. Did I mention I’m 21? Although, it goes both ways, as there were mornings where I had to coax her out of bed with promises of buttered croissants. And a few times I have to remind her the guy she is flirting with seems to be wearing a wedding ring.
- Secrets are revealed and boundaries are broken. I learnt my mum once had a much younger lover shortly after her divorce from my Dad, and I told her (too soon) that I had hocked a pair of her earrings when I was 13. Sorry Mum, still feel guilty about that one.
- Once these family secrets and stories start, it is hard to know where to stop. Alcohol induced over-sharing definitely became an issue for us in Thailand. We are already pretty involved in each other’s lives – not in a creepy, handholding in the supermarket way, but we may have matching pyjamas. But there is a level of over sharing that only happens when you’re in holiday mode, and have slugged down 12 sugar-less mojitos.
Chances are you are going to find out things you may not have wanted to know. Like the first time your parents slept together (eww) or reasons for their divorce that weren’t appropriate to tell me 7 years ago. One particular night with a bottle of Veuve (have I made us sound like alcoholics yet?) there were several stories of my mum’s bad dates, bad boyfriends and some bad choices that will remain burned in my brain forever. Thanks, Mum.
- We are very alike. Sadly, most of my friends would agree.
- They have secret talents beyond doing the laundry, or cooking lasagna. My mum might even be a better writer than me. In Thailand I urged her to finally submit some of her work to be published. I submitted my own work too. Hers was published; mine exceeded their word limit. Yep, that hurt. She is also an amazing singer; a talent I unfortunately did not inherit despite my best efforts.
- You will find out who they were before they were just your personal maid, chef, nurse and item-locater. Warning: you may not want to. My Mum was not quite the image of the innocent teenager that she painted to me when I was younger. There were boys, alcohol, and a little bit of pot. She even had a pair of “pot-smoking pants” which she was wearing the night she met my Dad.* I’m not sure how I feel about this.
- And you will find out who they are now. I feel like most people don’t really know their parents. I am not one of them. I probably know too much about my Mum, and she probably knows a little bit too much about me. And I’m okay with that, mostly.
- I learnt that we should not attempt a duet to Grease’s Summer Nights without rehearsing prior. Or a duet in general.
- My mum snores, loudly. It’s probably hereditary. Sorry Toby.
- You will develop a new relationship that no longer exists around discipline; rather, friendship, fabulous food and amazing experiences. You reach a new era, where you can really enjoy each other’s company and get to know each other beyond the boundaries of just mother and daughter.
Okay I guess I am glad I learnt that last one.
* Disclaimer: My Mum hasn’t smoked pot in 30 years, and probably would no longer fit into those hippy pants, just in case anyone was planning on calling DOCS.