Stop your fussin’, girl…
Well it didn’t happen overnight, but it DID happen.
The trip my mother has longed for most of her adult life has finally begun… the French she learned as a student, the novels and autobiographies and documentaries she soaked in over the decades, the travel stories she heard from her sister and her daughter, will become real for her over the next three months. Because she and my Dad flew out to Europe last week.
As they are in their 70s now (and with me being the eldest child) I have to admit I have become a little over-protective of them in the lead-up to departure. I urged Mum to get an ipad and tried to get the relevent apps uploaded and logged into. I helped pack, I checked timelines, made lists, worried lots about everything from passports to health checks to Dad being unable to lift some seriously heavy suitcases. (It’s in my DNA I am afraid – I worry about pretty much everyone!)
It was kind of fitting that the day they flew out, it was my parents’ 48th wedding anniversary. Not a bad effort really, especially after Dad decided a caravan honeymoon was the way to go. (Mum has never really recovered I don’t think!).
After filling in prescriptions, repacking a suitcase and leaving Mum alone to do some last-minute shopping, I decided an apple turnover was an acceptable celebratory ‘cake’ (with departure for London in a just a few hours). I ‘decorated’ it with unlit butterfly candles. (Yes, I went all out.)
Despite many misgivings in the lead-up (as he gets cow-withdrawal quite easily, and is invisibly umbilically connected to ‘Granite Glen’) Dad seemed to be getting into the spirit of things, as we devoured the pastry and celebrated their anniversary.
Concerned about him getting homesick in the middle of some foreign-speaking culture, I had (what I think was) a bit of a brainwave that morning and bought him one of these…
…an ipod-shuffle, and packed it full of Slim Dusty, Johnny Cash, Lee Kernaghan and Tex Moreton. It’s tiny but reasonably easy for very large fingers to negotiate and he immediately plugged in the earpieces, pressed play and began his signature ‘shoulder shrug jig’ to a bit of Slim. Am just hoping he remembers to pull it out of his pocket at laundry time!
We said our farewells before they took a late-night flight out from Brisbane International – I think you can see the anticipation on Mum’s face as she said ‘bye to her worrywort daughter…
(And I think you can see the lead-up worrying on my face too!) And then it became all very real…
Love the message in this pic – as my parents literally gave the oncoming Aussie winter ‘the boot’ for a European Spring/Summer.
And before you ask, yes I have checked (about 20 times) that they landed safely in London town. And yes I have sent instructions so Mum can get into Facebook and share some of the action. Apparently half of the globe is not far enough away to escape a bossy daughter!
Luckily I will have lots of work to keep me distracted here – weaning coming up and winter well and truly making it’s presence felt this morning. My fingers are icy as I type this!
Doesn’t an Italian Spring sound enticing at the moment?
PS Anyone wondering about the line in the header here… it’s borrowed from a Toni Child’s song here. (Out of left field!)