As some of you know, my mom recently visited. About 24 hours before getting here, she managed a very nasty ankle sprain — I never have to wonder where I got the klutz gene from — which meant she arrived on crutches and a one of those walking casts. She called it Darth Vader’s slipper, which was about right. She could barely put any weight on it and had to keep it elevated.
Now, originally, we had made (vague) plans about hitting some of the free passes you can get through the Phoenix library system. We thought it would be fun and cheap (our favorite).
So, yeah, those plans kind of went out the window. Or, more appropriately, came crashing to the ground.
I mean, I didn’t want her hurt. But this way she slowed down and didn’t fret about filling her free time productively. And, I’m afraid, severe pain/being unable to walk much was probably the only way she could do that.
She did still have work to deal with. An article was due, and she’s trying to get ahead on her posts for her upcoming trip to England.
Then again, I had work to do, too. So we’d work a little, take a brief break to chat, then work some more.
But mostly, we sat around chatting, eating junk food and watching Eureka Seasons 1 & 2. (She doesn’t have a TV so I feel it is my duty to educate her on a show or two during her visits.)
What we didn’t do was sit around trying to schedule museum visits around our work. Or worry if the library passes were checked out.
Instead, she spent her vacation with her foot up whenever possible, playing with/laughing at the cats, and actually relaxing. Oh, and having me occasionally fetch her Diet Coke or ice pack from the kitchen.
She did still push herself more than she should have. She still insisted on getting her own Diet Coke too often. And she made chili one night. On crutches. I didn’t feel well, so I was too tired to scold her. Besides, learning to relax is a process. I figured I shouldn’t push my luck. Plus, ya know, chili I didn’t have to make.
We really only left the house for groceries — we didn’t really have much real food for her to eat — and to go out to eat. (She had stocked up on some discount gift cards online, of course.)
Otherwise, she spent her vacation relaxing and actually visiting with her daughter and son-in-law. I mean, I’m hardly the center of the universe, but I was the main reason she came to the city. So the museums and other activities really weren’t that important, in the grand scheme of things.
These days, I’m a big believer in vacations that are actually restorative. There will always be sights I want to see and activities I want to do. But I also accept that you’ll never fit in everything you want to. (And if you do, you’ll be exhausted by the time you get back.)
During my mom’s visit, I made the resolution that my future vacations will be relaxing, not just enriching. I really don’t want vacations to be yet another way to feel guilty and/or inadequate. And I think my mom’s experience here was a good reminder that vacations don’t have to be full of “I have to”s.
In the end, my mom didn’t get the vacation she planned. But she did get the vacation she needed.