Last night my mom sent me a message on Facebook saying she missed me and wanted to plan a trip to Atlanta. It’s been hard on all of us over the last few years as we’ve all moved farther and farther away from each other. My brother moved to Europe, my parents moved up north, my sister still lives in Florida, and Brandon and I live in Atlanta. After growing up in a small town and seeing your family nearly every single day it’s tough to be so far away from everyone now. We travel multiple times a year to visit each other but still, it’s not the same as being able to hop in your car when you need a hug from your mom.
The conversation started out like this…
Like I said to my mom, Atlanta is the world’s most traveled airport and yeah, tickets at the last minute are expensive. She’s become spoiled though because she can hop a plane to visit my sister for $100 roundtrip. Once I knew she was planning a visit I became obsessed about scoring a great deal for her to travel then I started trying to figure out how many vacation days I have available at work and what touristy things we should do with her when she gets here.
(If you have any tips for scoring last-minute cheap flights, let me know. Thanks!)
The conversation with my mom went on for a while and it left me feeling homesick and missing my parents. Not to mention, my mom’s birthday is next week (see Mom, I remember!) and I couldn’t help but think of her all night. Since my mom is basically the greatest mom to have ever lived I thought it would be fun to share with you some of the greatest lessons my mom ever taught me.
(Oh, and sorry these pictures are so old and kind of blurry. They were taken many years ago with a cheap disposable camera so, you know, you get what you get. 😉 )
Always Make the Best of Any Situation
In 2010, during a trip to West Virginia, the water went out at my grandparents house. It was rough enough staying in a 1-bathroom house with 6 other people but then to have no water? In the winter? It wasn’t pleasant but we made the best of it. Fortunately for us another family member lived next door so we took turns traipsing across the snowy lawn in our pajamas to shower and use the bathroom.
It wasn’t fun but we made it fun. My mom thought it was an occasion worth remembering (she was sure we would laugh at it later and she was right, we laugh at it now).
You’re Never Too Old to be a Kid at Heart
In a day and age where 11-year old girls are lamenting being single, 13-year old girls can apply make-up better than me, and we all whine about how hard it is to adult, my mom excels at remembering to hold on to the fun of being a kid (or a kid at heart). Ice cream at 3am because you’re indulging in a Little House on the Prairie marathon? Still licking the brownie or cake batter bowl? A snowball fight with your adult siblings just because there is an inch or two of snow on the ground? But of course!
We still sing silly songs, decorate the house, and use emojis / bitmojis in our messages because it’s often those little moments that hold on to the fun.
Be Flexible, Especially When You Travel
When we all lived in Florida we used to travel up north to visit family a lot. Air fare was cheap and we always had a great time on our travels but do you know how many of those trips went according to plan? Zero. There was always at least one thing that went wrong and I believe that’s just kind of par for the course. There was one trip, in 2010 or 2011, that was especially disruptive. The plane was delayed for a broken door, then to find a new crew, then we were put up in a hotel overnight. The next day after our plane finally took off we ended up having to have an emergency landing because of a medical situation on the plane. We finally arrived home a full day and a half later than originally expected.
We took pictures, told stories, and swore this was just another trip we’d laugh about later. We also spent far too much time trying to understand why there was a goat wearing a purple hat in the magazine (6 years later and I’m still not sure I get it).
Marriage Can be Tough, but It’s Worth It
My parents are the best; they really are. They grew up together in a small town up north and are lifelong sweethearts. They’ve both always worked hard, they raised three phenomenal kids (if I do say so myself), and they are still happily married more than 35-years after first saying, “I do.” My parents are role models of the best kind but that’s not to say that everything has been easy.
Their jobs sucked at times. Their three phenomenal kids weren’t always the best. Their marriage isn’t always perfect but I can tell you right now that until I was an adult I never knew it wasn’t perfect. Even today, I have never heard my parents argue and I’ve never seen them angry with each other. I know it happens, but I’ve never heard or seen it. They keep things pretty close to the chest (as Brandon and I also try to do) and my mom has always made it clear to me that relationships, of any kind, take a lot of hard work but love is always worth it.
Family Comes First
Enjoy the Little (and Stupid) Things
In 2007 we took a family trip back to West Virginia to visit family and friends. While we were there my mom and I decided to take off on a day trip of our own to go to Point Pleasant and track down the infamous (maybe?) Mothman statue. If you don’t know the story of the Mothman you can learn all about him (it?) here. We took pictures with the statue, toured the Mothman ‘museum’, and even had a Mothman latte at the Point Pleasant coffee shop. It was a bit ridiculous to drive an hour for it but it’s a fond memory now.
The little (and stupid) things are often the best parts of a trip. Enjoy them!
Wherever You Go, There You Are
Neither of my parents really loved living in Florida when we lived there but it was the best place for us at the time. A lot of my extended family had moved there and my mom is all about family. We grew up with aunts, uncles, cousins, and my grandma always around us. We have a ton of big family memories and, in that way, it was great. As for Florida itself? We all pretty much hated it. My mom never let it get to her though, not outwardly anyway. There is always this, “Wherever you go, there you are” kind of vibe to my mom. It’s one of those “When in Rome…” attitudes.
When we lived in Florida, we did Florida things. We went to the beach, we wore sandals everyday, we took trips to Disney World.
They moved back to West Virginia, and now they do West Virginia things. They camp and hunt. They go to festivals and fairs. They are involved in small community events and outings.
When I moved to Alabama for Brandon, I did the same thing. Now, living in Atlanta, we have done it again. No matter where we are, we are all in. It keeps you able to find the joy in the here and now rather than feeling like the grass is always greener somewhere else.
Happy early birthday Momma! Thanks for always being so wonderful. 🙂
I’d love to hear the life lessons you’ve learned from your parents. If you have any great ones, please share them!