Ask Amy: Taking mom on trip might be real adventure
Dear Amy: I’m very active and adventurous. I started an annual tradition with my daughter to take her on mommy-daughter adventures for her birthday (like hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, etc.).
We’ve done this for six years now and it’s been incredibly special.
This year I decided to splurge on a Maui trip (vaccine dependent, of course).
The complication is that my mom kind of invited herself along. She’s pretty overbearing and can be quite unpleasant to be around, but I know she’s feeling sad and lonely since losing her husband two years ago. She is not adventurous, nor in good physical health. Walking a mile would be difficult for her.
I told her that I was planning a lot of things she might not be able to do. She said that was fine.
I said I could take care of the lodging, but she would need to buy her own plane ticket. Now I am regretting this.
I really try to stay out of hotels. She yelled at me that she, “needs a pool, so we have to stay at a hotel.”
I found a condo that was right on the beach. She got angry and yelled at me that maybe she shouldn’t go.
I fear this is the start of many more issues and will result in a miserable vacation. I honestly am tempted to tell her to stay home.
She has not bought her plane ticket yet. However, this will cause a huge problem in our relationship. What should I do? — Good Mom, Bad Daughter
Dear Daughter: Because your mother is both discerning and overbearing, the best way to manage this three-generation trip from heck might be to simply make whatever lodging choice you want to make, offering the safest and most accessible accommodations for all three of you, and if your mother doesn’t like it, she can choose to stay behind. She has already threatened to stay home, and if she can’t control your choices, that might be her preference.
It’s possible that she merely wanted to be included in the first place, and that she has been testing you.
I’d like to make a pitch for you to consider experiencing a change-of-heart, however.
There is a likelihood that you and your daughter will have many mother-daughter adventure holidays ahead of you. But the biggest and riskiest adventure you two might ever take could be the one you face right now: Traveling with your cantankerous and challenging mother. I wonder if you are brave enough to take that on.
Dear Amy: I’m an avid reader but find there are times that I’m just too stressed (COVID, politics ...) to sit and read. I have found that books on tape from my library have been a godsend!
I can checkout/download audiobooks through the app my local library uses and I take long walks or knit/paint to the sound of a good story being read to me from my phone (using headphones).
This has encouraged me to take lots of long walks without my mind racing or worrying beyond the wonderful stories and plots of my books.
I thought I’d share for my fellow readers who have found reading to be just not possible in stressful times. — Joyful “Libby” User in Rochester, N.Y.
Dear Joyful: I, too, have discovered the joy of listening to audiobooks during the pandemic. Listening is such a different experience from reading. Both are engrossing ways to dive into a narrative.
Yesterday, walking through the snowy woods near my home, I listened to “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times,” by Katherine May (2020, Riverhead).
My own two memoirs are also available on audio, narrated by me!
(Someday, I’ll muster up the strength to listen to them.)
I love the fact that libraries have figured out how to serve their communities during a time when visiting the library indoors is not always possible.
Dear Amy: I read your comment to “Fan, but Not Alum in Chicago” in the Chicago Tribune.
As a Harvard grad of long ago, I have always been sensitive about telling people about my education. If asked, I always responded, “I went East to college.”
I think I’ve overcome my reticence by now and tell the truth. We’ll see. — Richard, Harvard College ‘54, Yale Law School ‘57
Dear Richard: Saying that you went to Harvard is known as “dropping the H-bomb.” Many Harvard grads tease this out by saying, “I went to college near Boston.”
I say, if you’ve got it, flaunt it!