I recently went on a trip with my Mom. To Bangkok. To meet relatives. Who speaks in a Chinese dialect that I have lost touch with. Unlikely that they would know English. Their children might BUT they may not be around to do the translation.
It was not a trip I was looking forward to. The initial hesitancy was countered with the thought – it is about spending time with my mom and being with her to enable her to meet with her cousins in Bangkok. So what she wants to do matters more than what I want.
So the date was set!
A couple of days before the trip, I believe I got cold feet. I usually check-in online. The thought came but I keep delaying and I come to realise I am actually afraid to be alone with my mom for that 5 days trip. It has been ages since I spend that much time alone with my mom and now it is a trip overseas. It will either bring out of me or the worst of me. Acknowledging that actually helps in easing the fear.
I was bored during the trip. No doubt about it. I told my friends when I got back too. I took so many selfies (because I have nothing to do) and posted so many photos that it surprised the people I know.
I managed to shop for some stuff but not many because I am allocating my luggage space for my mom who seems to be buying a lot of stuff. Luckily we have sufficient luggage allowance, just not enough luggage space that we still end up hand carrying some stuff.
Did I regret going on the trip? NOPE!
It was an experience for me. I did get annoyed one time and ‘lectured’ her a lot when packing the stuff because she came to Bangkok with (to me) unnecessary stuff – like why do you need to bring 2 towels?!
Looking back, I realized she was packing for ‘just in case’ purposes. In case we end up staying at the cousin’s house (though the hotel was booked). In case her shoes spoil half way and she needs another. In case she needs another change of clothes.
That is ME in the extreme. I used to do that a lot. Bring, just in case. Do, just in case. Trying to catch all the ‘what ifs’ and ensure that I don’t miss out on anything. Which is a futile task and I end up having lots of stuff to think about. My mom ends with my physical stuff that slows her down. I end up with a mind burdened with what-ifs that slows me down.
Another thing I realize now is that she is going through what is termed ‘second childhood’ where she goes back to being a child. Not able to decide on her own. Not being able to do some things on her own due to fear, especially travelling abroad on her own. At times, I get frustrated with her when she can’t seem to make her own decision on stuff and make it a point to ask us, the children for opinions. At times I couldn’t understand why she can’t go travelling on her own since she now has the time(and money) to do so. Now I know a little better. I endeavour to be more understanding.
The most gratifying thing about the trip?
My mom was super happy because she was surprised with a birthday celebration in Bangkok because they found out it was her birthday the next day. And when we got back to Kuala Lumpur, my sister, her family and I celebrated her birthday, with a birthday song and all.
She shared that it was her first time celebrating with cake. She said we used to just bring her out on her birthday but never prepared a cake. I was surprised and my mind was trying to recall but came up blank. How remiss of us that we have not thought about it before. How we have taken her for granted.
I had my emotional moments when I think about the situation but since I can’t change the past – it is the future that I am looking forward to AND I am glad and feel blessed that I have the time and money freedom to do what I would like to do now – spend more time with my mom.
Am I looking forward to our next trip? Well……