It was a happy accident. My mom was talking about how she met the goal of improving her blood work (cholesterol, glucose, etc.) and needed a new motivation to continue to eat right and exercise. I was feeling the travel bug biting hard and my unused passport in my maiden name was growing restless. And, somehow, some way, the topic of Italy came up.
She mentioned that it was her dream destination. The top contender on the bucket list. I casually mentioned, “Why don’t we do it together.” I heard her face light up over the phone. She grew excited. Giddy. We only had a few minutes until I had to go, so we quickly talked through some basics. I had made the trip to Italy once before with a high school group, so I had some idea of what I wanted to do on this trip. I thought of the places I had gone and what I wanted to share with her. I took off like a rocket.
Rome, of course. The history there. Piazza Navona and that little gelato place. Vatican museum. That place was amazing. Famous artwork even lined the hallways to the bathrooms. All those cathedrals. The Coliseum. I wonder if it’s still full of cats? The Pantheon. That one caught me by surprise. The beauty and unexpected joy of the rain pouring through the occulus. Florence. The Uffizi Gallery. Oh my god, those statues were amazing. Pompeii. I still dream of that place. Inspiring and haunting all at once. All the images came tumbling back.
I never made it north of Florence. She began to speak wistfully of Venice and the lake country. We would have to include those, as well.
When? We set a date. Summer of 2013.
All of this occurred in under 20 minutes. A trip sketched out. A dream laid.
I had a busy evening with friends that night. She had a busy evening too; purchasing travel and Italy apps, buying books, and beginning research. I could tell she was thrilled. Even better, I could tell she was motivated to stay healthy to be able to handle the rigors of Italy. I am excited to be able to do this trip together: mother and daughter. We will have our challenges, but they are known ones and mainly due to our different paces. It’s a good thing that I have mellowed somewhat and that my Vibram running shoes pack down small:) I am looking forward to showing her the sights that made such an impact on me 20 years ago and seeing the look on her face as she visits the locals of her dreams.
This was just a few short weeks ago. Since then, she has mapped out the itinerary and started researching hostels. I have begun the process of figuring out how to feed myself while there (luckily, it looks like gluten free will be easy, but I remember them all too clearly calling me a “sadomasochist” for being vegetarian when I was a teenager). I’ve been inundated with Italy-themed emails and the first “mom” package of books has arrived. I love it. I get to see my mom excited and, for me, I get to obtain the first stamp on the passport of my new life.
Look out Verona, these two ladies are coming your way!