When one decides to travel across the world to do something completely outside of their comfort zone the end goal is usually something of independence, self growth, and exploration. Which is exactly what I had intended to do when I went to Thailand. What comes along with this package however is the awareness of where those three things were coming from before embarking on your own. The dependence, self-confidence and support to explore all came from one very special person: your mom.
In honor of Mother’s Day and the things I have learned over the last six months, I would like to dedicate this post to my amazing mother, Terry. The one who kept me alive this long so I could experience these amazing things, gave me the self-confidence and assurance to explore and grow, and inspired me to be the woman I am still striving to become. This post will be a bit different from the post I wrote about my father on Thai Father’s Day, which he so affectionately calls, “his eulogy”, but the intent is still the same.
Like most people, I think I have the best mother in the whole wide world. Being I’ve tried to travel a bunch of this place, I think I stand on good grounds when I say that. However, as with every daughter growing up, there comes a time in your relationship when your mother becomes more than just your mother. She slowly but surely, without you realizing it, morphs into one of your best friends and you begin to respect her on a whole new level. You’ve outgrown the petty arguments, somehow survived puberty and menopause together, and have reached a mutual love and respect. This happens to everyone at different times and I honestly have always had a great relationship with my mom, but I think the time it finally really hit me that our relationship was at a new level was when her and my father visited my in Thailand. And let me tell you why.
For starters they would have never made it there without my mother. As my brother and I decided the other day, she is like our family’s business manager; the glue that keeps us together. She keeps everything in order, the seen and unseen and we would basically dissolve, be homeless, without health insurance and I would have no idea where my birth certificate is, without her. Basically my brother, father and I probably wouldn’t be citizens anymore. When I found an extremely reasonable flight for the two of them to come to Thailand she was on it like white on rice, worked out the details, was able to coordinate using some of their miles and the two of them made it over here for less than what some people pay one roundtrip flight. Girlfriend’s got it together.
Secondly, at 60 years of age my mom has decided to take control of her life and her health and lost 35 pounds. And she looks absolutely incredibly. She began Weight Watchers about a month before my departure so when she came to see me 6 months later it was like being a participant in a surprise makeover show for my family. Svelt, happy and in all of her glory I was in disbelieve how healthy and beautiful she looked. My mother has always been a beautiful woman but when someone feels great about themselves it just takes them to a whole new level, she looked fantastic and was glowing.
Then there was the whole trip. Traveling with your parents can be tricky, especially when you don’t have a sibling around to balance it out. Being that my dad’s first priority most of the trip was his video camera, my mother and I were mostly left to our own devices, which was fine by me. It was our time together, planning activities, having lunch, exploring, laying on the beach, sweating, kayaking, that I think our mother/daughter relationship really reached the pinnacle of a friendship. Having been away from her for 6 months, learning more about myself as well as how much I still depended on her for so many things, I realized many of the things I was learning about myself I had learned from her.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was when we went to Railay Beach, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life and travels. While walking around and getting a lay of the land we had heard there were a few viewpoints that gave you great views across all of the beaches, ocean, limestone krags, and overall landscape. However, they were hard to find. While wandering down one path we saw what looked like an informal ropes course going up the side of a hill/mountain. After having walked all around looking for the path to viewpoint we realized that had to be it: there weren’t any other options. Looking up at it, I was skeptical. My mom looked at me and said, “Want to give it a try?” “Sure”, I said uncertainly. She went first. Grabbing ropes, finding rocks and divots for our feet, she started navigating our way up. Sure and easy of herself. I on the other hand was a bit more insecure. “Mom, if this is the way up, this must be the way down…how the hell are we going to get down?” I said. “Not sure, but want to go a little more and see how we feel?” Her cool kept me assured. Then, we spotted a few people up above us. “If that woman in the bikini can do it, we can do it.” she said. Although still a bit scared, I realized she was right. Plus if she was 60 years old and wasn’t scared to do it, then I sure as hell couldn’t be.
We made it. A lot of sweat, dirt, and scrambling later and we made it. And it was worth it. West Raily Beach on our left, East Railay on our right, and a back drop of lush green hills. It was really breathtaking. And I would have never made it up there without my mom. I have always considered myself someone who is willing try new things, is adventurous, up for anything, and that’s when I realized it was because of my mom. Sure, as I had said about my Dad, he pushes us to do everything and try anything, explore and take risks to the point of abandonment. So my brother and I try to do many new things but with an anxiety and caution or a resounding NO. It’s completely different when you’re doing something different or scary and your mom tells you its okay and leads the way. A blanket of relief and “okay, this can’t be THAT bad” overcomes you and gives you the confidence to do it. So thank you mom, for the gentle pushes, casual assurances, and overwhelming sense of relief you’ve given me as I have navigated through life and up that darn hill/what-I-consider-mountain.
I could go on and on about how kind, compassionate, thoughtful, funny and intelligent my mother is but then this would turn into a book and not a blog and that is not my intent….yet. So I will end with a resounding thank you and toast to the woman of the hour in honor of this past Mother’s Day. Without you I would not be here, would not have made it this far, and would not have the confidence or a role model to inspire me to go as far as I would like to go. I hope I am one day a mother as wonderful as you, so great in fact that my future children write a blog about me. Or by that point make me a hologram message I can view through a chip in my eye or something. To Terrgirl! Love ya!