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A Road Trip to Remember    •   August 2016

To celebrate our 75th and 45th respective birthdays this year, my Mom and I decided to do an epic #MotherDaughterRoadtrip through the Rocky Mountains. We both adore the Canadian wilderness and the breathtaking vistas that our country offers, so I booked the time off of work and Mom organized all the details.

Mom and I hadn't spent that much time together consecutively, just the two of us - perhaps ever. Being on the road with her reminded me of all the weekends we spent travelling to swim meets in the summers of my youth, only now we were travelling as adults. We got to know each other newly.

Mom and I

We made a deal in advance to keep our conversations peaceful and supportive, and to respect our differences and travel habits. It is every parent's natural instinct to want to protect their children and few parents can resist the temptation to dispense well-intentioned advice, but this trip for us was different. It was travelling with a best friend and having laughs along the path of adventure, taking in sights and taking photos. We had a ball together!

We listened to Hooked on Classics and sang along to Elvis and Tom Jones on our roadtrip playlist, and went on random side-trips each day to places that looked interesting. There was no definitive plan or strict schedule - we kept it fluid and went with whatever we felt like doing on the day, only knowing where we had to get to for our accommodation each night. It was wonderfully stress-free.

I had made a point to NOT bring my work cell phone or laptop, but to leave it all behind and simply focus on Mother and Daughter time, creating memories. And we sure did! We enjoyed taking in the breathtaking beauty of all the glacier-fed lakes, the waterfalls, the canyons, and the incredible mountain passes we drove through - each sight seemingly more spectacular than the next. We were lucky enough to have perfect weather, too. But most of all, it was just fun hanging out together.

While Mom and I certainly have our differences, we also have much in common. We each have an autoimmune condition to manage - I deal with Type 1 diabetes, and she deals with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Both of us enjoy hiking and have our share of joint issues and aches & pains, but we took good care of each other and compromised as needed. We love books and reading; we enjoy taking photos; and we both get awe-struck by Mother Nature. It just worked.

We have come through a lot over the years, my Mom and I. When I think back to the rebellious and headstrong teenager I was, or what it must have been like for her to be my Mom when I moved overseas for 5&1/2 years (and newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes) - it's a miracle she got through it all. She is the most unselfish person I know, and I'm so happy to get to know her better now. No one ever knows what life brings, and I want to be sure we don't have regrets. While we will inevitably often have differences of opinion and make different choices, we are blessed to have each other, and fortunate to be as close as we are.

She is my Mother by birth, but my friend by choice. Blessed.

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