The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Saturday, June 30, 2007

One Lucky Mom

by Tricia Dower

She calls from Munich a few days before Mother’s Day to say, “We need a new tradition: an annual mother/daughter trip.” It’s been nearly eighteen months since we’ve seen each other as life has put 3,000 miles between us. It’s what I like least about Victoria.

She proposes Banff for the first trip and we agree to spend a long weekend in June there. A week before our get-together, she returns from a successful but exhausting ten-day business trip to London, New Delhi and Singapore. It hardly seems fair that she has the longer journey — six hours of flight, plus time in between to switch planes in Denver — but she’s feeling nostalgic about Banff and is probably mothering me, as well.

We check in with each other the night before our separate flights. It’s 10:30 p.m. where she lives, and she hasn’t packed yet. My son-in-law is in away on business and my grandson is supposed to be at a camp sleepover, leaving her free to make her way to the airport in the morning. However, the child is sick. She has collected him from camp and arranged with another mother to get him back there the next morning. When I call, she reports that he’s thrown up all over his bed but she’s cleaned him up and gotten him back to sleep. She can turn her attention now to an announcement she must write and e-mail to someone at work before she leaves.

We meet in Calgary the next afternoon, rent a car and drive to Banff. “I’ll do the driving,” she says. “I like to drive.” She knows I don’t. We slowly begin to get reacquainted. She drives us to Johnston Canyon where we follow the catwalk to the falls. We visit three Crayola coloured glacier lakes. She wants her ashes scattered over Peyto Lake. You can’t get down to its shores. You have to climb up, up, up to even look at it. Someone’s gonna have to charter a plane when she goes. It will be too cruel if it’s me. We run into snow at the Icefields just into Jasper National Park. She’s wearing sandals and I worry about her toes getting cold. We’re on the lookout for moose, elk and bear but have to be satisfied with two chipmunks, a few deer and two big-horned sheep.

We talk in the car, over meals, in our room, on mountain paths. About corporate politics, reincarnation, family life, her travels, my writing, diet and health, movies and books, social injustice around the world, how little support the US government offers to soldiers coming home from Iraq —hell, they still don’t care about those like her father who served in Vietnam and suffered as a result. It’s so easy with her. It always has been. I think how beautiful and capable she is, what a pure heart she has, but I don’t tell her. At dinner I say, “It’s good to be with you.” I hope she’s getting enough rest.

On Monday, I hurry off to my airport gate, not wanting to risk tears. A few hours after I arrive back in Victoria, she calls from Denver. She’s on the plane and the crew is trying to get clearance for an early departure as lightning is splitting the sky. They’re not successful. It’s after 1 a.m. by the time she lands, and she’s up early the next morning for work.

She does all that for me. I am one lucky mom.

Photos: My daughter at Lake Louise; Peyto Lake in Banff National Park


Blogger Anne C. said...

I'm taking notes here :)

p.s. I can't see the picture, unfortunately.

Sat Jun 30, 07:44:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

sounds like a lovely trip; road trips are amazing bonding experiences.

Sat Jun 30, 09:51:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Serenity Now! said...

Wow. I don't have that. I don't know if I'd even know how to start.

Sat Jun 30, 11:44:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

She's one lucky daughter, that's for sure. I loved reading this. Heck, I must be getting old because I love hearing about succesful young people. Nice.

Sat Jun 30, 10:33:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Thanks for stopping by Anne, Tamara, Serenity and Tony. Much appreciated.

Sun Jul 01, 02:04:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

This post reveals so much about the two of you and your relationship, how fortunate you both are.

Wait a minute...this means I've missed you passing through Calgary airport a second time!

Sun Jul 01, 10:38:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Ha, Jen, caught me! I did think of you, but we didn't have a lot of time to spare. There will be other times, I'm sure.

Sun Jul 01, 01:48:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Steve Gajadhar said...

I'm far away from my parents as well, and I know how nice it is for me to come home and see them. Sounds like you had a great trip.

Mon Jul 02, 11:18:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

Another lovely family time (I just read about Tamara's Canada day with her mom)! I had father-son time this past weekend due to a surprise visit from my oldest. It was super!

Tue Jul 03, 09:41:00 am GMT-4  
Anonymous Larry said...


Ditto everyone's thoughts on the lovliness of your daughter's spirit and the depth of the mother-daughter bond.

BUT, you construct an interesting tension that lives in the space between her generosity (almost sacrifice) and your struggle to demonstrate or, rather, communicate your gratitude and love.

AND the parallel of the geographic and emotional journies spins the material into something nudging mythic.

Is there an SS in this material?


Tue Jul 03, 10:13:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Hey, Steve. Hope you had a good visit home this holiday weekend. And Andrew, how nice of your son to surprise you.

Larry: you're excellent at reading between the lines. And, yes, it's probably good material for s story.

Tue Jul 03, 03:37:00 pm GMT-4  

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