Remembering travels with mom for Mother’s Day
Whether we traveled with our mothers and the whole family or had mother-daughter excursions, those travel experiences are memories for a lifetime. We asked several of our readers and blog contributors to share their memories of travels with their moms on trips near or far, long ago or in the recent past.
Deborah Grossman, Her Work and Travels
Mama’s favorite mode of transport was train and her favorite TV show, NFL football games. A highlight of her 89 well-lived years was her 1982 train trip to visit me in Gulfport, Miss. En route she chatted in the smoking car with one of her heroes, John Madden, the TV sportscaster. They shared many laughs before he disembarked to add color to an Atlanta game. My favorite memory of that visit was our drive along I10 to a family event in San Antonio. This photo, outside The Hitching Post in an unnamed Texas town, shows us sporting cowboy hats and “Where the hell is Wilmington, Del?” shirts. Mama always said, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Wherever we traveled, she liked to sing the praises of our native city in the near-smallest state which few could place among the 50. I place her as a chief conductor in my life-ride.
My mother and I never took a vacation together but we did a lot of traveling. Unmarried when she had me, she took a series of jobs at schools outside our area because the Anglican Church, to which most were attached, frowned upon unmarried mothers teaching.
Every Monday morning, Mama, my caregiver, and I would pile into a friend’s car for the hour-long drive to the weekday-only house. Not even her promises that we’d be back soon would stop me from bawling. On the rides back, I always fell asleep, my head on her lap, until a blast of music from a sound system would rouse me as we sped pass rum bars. Whenever our friend worked late, inky black followed us most of the way, the car’s headlights picking out the road, trees and houses as we drove by. Every so often, lights from oncoming vehicles would flood the backseat quickly then we’d plunge back into darkness.
Mom and I did the Monday out, Friday back trips until I was eleven. I never understood why she rarely left the house after she retired and I doubt she understood why, as she put it, “every bell that rang called my name.”
Deciding how to spend time with your mother on a vacation can be difficult. Mother-daughter time is great, but for some of us 100% one on one time can be draining (for both parties)! How can you get quality time and also have time to relax with out constant planning? For me that was a cruise to Alaska. This was my first one and I couldn’t have picked a better way to spend time with my mom. There were so many things to do. Glacier hikes, helicopters, shopping in town and wildlife exhibits. My only problem was keeping up with my 76-year-old Mother. I think my only regret would be not planning other vacations with Mom. Creating memories and making the time for each other is priceless.. We may try backpacking next time!
This photo of my mother and her three daughters was taken in our house in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in December of 1963. I’m the oldest child at age 9. We are sitting under the prickly pear cactus Christmas tree my artist father put together for us to decorate.
My father was the one with the wanderlust. It was his idea that we should leave Philadelphia and go live in Mexico for a year. I don’t remember my mother complaining, but it fell to her to make sure we all stayed healthy and happy. This is my essay about the experience: Mexico 1963
My father also took us to live for a year in England where he was an exchange teacher in 1969-1970. For all sorts of reasons, that was a more difficult adjustment for my mother, but I never heard her oppose his travel ideas.
Hike Bike Travel
My mother and I have had a few great adventures over the years. The most memorable trip took place in Mexico. She was leading yoga classes over a span of about six weeks at a spa just outside of Guadalajara and invited me down to spend a few days. I relished the break from my family and loved having R&R time by the pool. But that was only part of the trip. Once she’d finished up with the yoga classes we made our way over to the small town of Loreto on the Baja peninsula. From there we headed out for three exquisite days and nights of sea kayaking in the Sea of Cortez with a guide we’d hired through a Canadian company. We camped under the stars, marveled at incredible sunsets, welcomed the daily sightings of dolphins and manta rays and admired the pelicans and blue footed boobies as they dive bombed for food.
One Road At A Time
The photo is of me, sitting on my aunt’s lap with my mother standing behind us. I was named
after my Aunt Pat. The photo was taken in Palm Desert, CA, maybe in 1962 or so, as I look to be
about six-years-old. Okay you can do the math on that one! I love this photo because of my old-
school one-piece sun suit (as they used to call them) and if you look closely you’ll see my aunt’s
white sandals and my mother’s stance. It’s a classic!
I was the youngest of six children, so you can imagine financing travel for a family that size
wasn’t easy. My parents loved the desert, they enjoyed golfing and tennis so our family
vacations usually meant a car trip to Palm Desert, CA. My aunt and uncle lived in Los Angeles
so they used to meet us in Palm Desert and I have great memories of having them with us.
Best Travel Deals Tips
It’s not the big trips, but the little ones you remember. My mom, Judy Schwab, loved to travel and she loved planning trips to see her girls. When my niece, Jessica, was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, my mom was up for the long road trip from Indiana to meet her granddaughter, the very next day. When my sister moved to New Mexico, we all went to visit her there. When I moved to New York City, my mom not only came to see me several times, but on each trip she’d bring along a lucky family member as her guest and treat them to a trip of a lifetime. One time she brought my Grandma and mom made it memorable treating us to Broadway shows, the South Street Seaport, and amazing restaurants including dinner at the now defunct “Top of the Sixes” and a Mother’s Day Brunch at the Russian Tea Room (places I couldn’t afford at the time on my meager salary). She also brought my nieces, Jessica and Hannah, to visit me in New York when they turned ten to experience the Big Apple. My mom was very generous and loved to share her travels with those she loved. I continue her legacy today by taking my nieces and nephews on vacations to create memories to last a lifetime.
Boomer Women Travelers and Traveling with Sweeney
I treasured all of the trips with my mom when I was growing up, but I have a very special memory of a driving trip to Minnesota with her and my dad many years later as an adult. It was just like old times as we admired the passing scenery; looked in awe at the natural wonders of Yellowstone National Park; toured historic sites such as Fort Abraham Lincoln in Mandan, North Dakota and the Little Big Horn (pictured above); and stayed in roadside motels along the way. We laughed and talked about long ago vacations, current events, family news and just how great it was to be taking that trip together. We were headed to her birthplace in northern Minnesota and it was meaningful to be there with her as we saw the house where she was born and visited other family landmarks. Over the next four years, I was fortunate to travel with her a few more times from California to Chicago and back. Although she’s gone now, I’m grateful for the memories of my travels with Mom and especially those bonus road trips in her final years.
Do you have special memories of travels with your mom?
It looks like a lot of us inherited our ideas that travel is possible and desirable from our mothers. In my case, even though it seemed like although it was always my father who came up with the travel ideas, it was my mother who made them possible for our family of five.
When my mother was 75, she did something she had never done before. She flew from her retirement community in Del Ray, Florida to Los Angeles to spend a week with me. It was the first time, in over fifty years of marriage, she had gone anywhere, other than the beauty parlor, without my Dad. I was stunned by her show of independence and curious why she packed enough clothes to last for months, if not a year.
I schleped her to Venice Beach, Malibu and all the way up to the Hearst Castle. We dined at a Greek restaurant in the Valley where waiters danced and smashed plates. (Mom wasn’t all that impressed that Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger were eating calamari at the next table.) When it was time to take her to airport, she finally confessed why she had over-packed. “I was ready to leave your father and stay with you,” she said. “He’s such a pain in the ass.” My Dad was a piece of work but I had never heard Mom express a lack of tolerance for his temper which was just this side of Mel Gibson. For one horrible moment I thought she had finally come to her senses. Then she gave me a weary smile and said, “But he can’t live without me,” and boarded the plane.
Stacia, that’s quite a moving memory. That’s the other side of travel. Sometimes we’re running from, not toward.
Beautiful memories all. We’ve been very fortunate to have made these wonderful travel memories with our mothers.
Thanks for including me in this roundup.
Happy Mother’s Day!
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Thanks for sharing my story Cathy. I do love reading the happy stories of other woman and their mothers. Despite our adventures our relationship has never been an easy, carefree one; I envy those people that have that.
I loved reading everyone’s story and “remembering” right along with you. Thanks for putting this together Catherine. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!
Lovely memories ladies. Our family always travelled as one, so I have never had a holiday with just my Mum. It wasn’t until this BWT post came up that I started thinking about that!
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