Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Alternative to the preordained - Part 2

In my previous post I wrote about how my dad had influenced the course of my life, but what about Mom? Well, she was at home, doing the Mom-thing, which was worrying about me when I was traveling around Europe by myself. But the best thing she did was NOT to lay a trip on me about going to Europe as a 19 year old on her own, even though it must have been dreadful to see me fly off to the unknown. And those were the days of no internet, no emails or mobile phones, and normal phone calls were prohibitively expensive. Communication was infrequent; how she must have suffered, and there I was, having the time of my life, working and traveling, not realising until I was a parent many years later, what she must have gone through. Although I had different plans for my life than Mom did for her own, she always encouraged me to study, be independent, and to do my best, at the same time showing me by example how important it was to have a good family life.

Now as a mother I think that's all come good - our sons are very close to us, I've done the motherhood thing as well as having had two professional careers.

But one thought: when all of us are at home and I'm locking up the house for the night, as I put the chain on the door I feel happy that everyone is safe and sound. How will I cope when the boys leave for parts unknown? I don't think as well as Mom did all those years ago. Hats off to you, Mom! I will have to use you as an inspiration when the time comes.

13 comments:

Kerri said...

Isn't it amazing how much more we understand our mothers after we become one ourselves?! Thanks for sharing a bit of your history. I've enjoyed learning a little bit more about you. You have wonderful parents and the wisdom and grace to appreciate them!

Takoma Gardener said...

Hi. Our experiences overlap a bit. At the age of 19 I also took off on an adventure - driving 10,000 miles across the U.S. - and at 20 I started hitch-hiking around Europe with my hippie boyfriend, then settling down in France to earn some college credits. Still can't believe my parents not only allowed these adventures but paid for them. I think my mom would have said no but my dad, a child psychologist no less, was a big believer in independence. Wheee!
And ever since, I've remembered those travels as the greatest learning experiences of my life.

Alice said...

Your travelling days were 40 years ago when it was less common but probably safer than it is today. I can relate to your mother's feelings through my experience of having ShellyC overseas for 12 years (6 of them married), and Tanya for 7 years. Between them they worked and roamed through Britain, Canada, USA, Mexico, Europe, Central America, Africa and South Africa, and it was still before emails, mobiles or low phone rates. One 30-minute call to Tanya in Mexico cost me $95.

It was hard to see them leave home and go so far away, but I was very proud of them for doing so. It wasn't always easy for them, and there were odd times when they weren't even happy (which upset me more than anything else).

When Tanya was in Central America it would sometimes be weeks between letters or any contact. Friends used to ask, "Don't you worry about her?" I said, "Of course, I'm concerned for her welfare and happiness but I have to accept that this is what she wants to do, and if anything should happen to her, it may be weeks before I find out." Fortunately, nothing drastic happened to either of them (no, Marcel isn't drastic!) and they eventually came home safe and sound.

I know that they also regard those years and experiences as being amongst the best in their lives.

Val said...

That seems to be a common description of this experience: "amongst the best in their lives", "greatest learning experience of my life And I'd also say "once in a lifetime", because rarely can people repeat that experience of roaming around like that, totally free.

Parents are also once in a lifetime, and it is important to appreciate them - mine made it pretty easy to do so.

Sonia said...

Lovely memories, too. Yes, your Mom looks a great inspiration for you, Val.

Love the photo!

Tanya said...

Yes, Alice has it pretty much right. If your boys do go travelling though, my advice is not to ask too many questions - the answers may not be what you want to hear... oh the things I shall never tell my mother :)

Alice said...

Tanya - WHAT THINGS??????

Sharon said...

My daughter and her husband are in the air as I write this returning home from six week travelling overseas... Yes it is so different to our day... Two nights ago we saw and interacted with them through the marvel of web cam and a internet cafe with only a few seconds time delay... Here we were in Australia and they in Poland... This is when I like this technology... But did I worry any less - possible not!!!!!

jellyhead said...

I've been reading through your last few posts, Val, and really enjoying them. You express yourself so well.

I love the photo of you and your mother having tea - looks like fun!

Lingerie Lady said...

Hi Val - thanks for visiting my blog! I have been browsing around yours and look forward to reading more.

:)

Val said...

Tanya and Alice - this could get interesting. We are agog at what might be revealed!

Yep, that's Mom and me doing the mother-daughter thing at a cute cottage turned tea rooms, on a trip to California a couple of years ago.

Stuart said...

Well done Val for continuing the conversation. There always seems to be so much more depth to a person's life than what we usually like to give away. Thanks for being so candid - it was great to hear.

Sonia said...

Hi Val, me again.
Thank you for your comment on my page! Yes, this trunk of Cajeput is so soft to the touch, like the softest of leathers! Looks like cork, too. I will put this information on "Beautiful Tree Trunks" post.