Sometimes you just need your mom ((and she needs you)).
I’m writing this post from a flight back to the US.
Side note: who knew airlines still serve meals to economy peasants like me?? At least on this US Airways nonstop flight from London Heathrow to Charlotte they do, and I just had herb and ricotta stuffed ravioli for brunch ((?)) at about 10:30 am England time. With a plastic airline cup of complementary red wine. Seated next to my new ((and very chatty)) friend Balbir from Kent. How do I always end up sitting next to such interesting characters when I fly on my own?!
Things were going perfectly fine in England. I had just returned home from a really special week in southwest France with Andrew and his parents ((which I will be posting about very soon)). Andrew’s birthday and my birthday, Valentine’s Day, our 3rd Anniversary, and three weeks in Paris were all approaching. I was trying to plot additional plans to visit some more of Europe. But my mind was elsewhere.
My mom was scheduled for surgery at the end of January to have her thyroid removed after several large nodes were found on her neck at the tail end of last year. Approaching the surgery, I pondered coming back to the US to be with her. After initially seeing the expensive flight prices, I decided I would stay in the UK and provide long distance support. Yeah, well guess what? That sort of thing doesn’t really work for me so well.
Her surgery went as planned, and thankfully my oldest sister was there with her to ask all the important post-op questions, since my mom wouldn’t be able to speak above a whisper for the days afterward. I relied on frequent emails and iMessages from my sisters to fill me in on the details of how things were going and what lie ahead while my mom experienced some complications from the surgery. She lives with her partner just outside Winston-Salem in North Carolina, but even though I knew she wasn’t alone, I still couldn’t help but feel awful about not being there. The silly but important details like making her puréed food and ensuring she was comfortable, taking her meds on time, and getting outside for fresh air and light exercise were all buzzing around in my brain. I just felt the overwhelming need to be there for her. It’s just that nobody can take care of my mom like I can.
Andrew reminded me that the decision was all mine to make. Plans can be changed at any time. If I wanted to go be with my mom, I should just go. Simple as that. ((Have I mentioned how incredible he is?? I adore him so very much)) Last Thursday, I booked that ticket and here I am; flying somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean partway between the UK and the US.
I often feel responsible for my sweet mother, in the way that I need to look after her and ensure she’s alright at all times. I don’t know how long her recovery will take from the operation, but being in England or Paris just didn’t seem right when I could be with her in North Carolina. If I came back to the UK in a couple weeks in time to maintain upcoming plans, I do not feel as though I would fully enjoy myself in England, Paris and wherever else we’d go. Not to mention, that person who wants to be elsewhere is not all that fun for anyone else to be around.
So, I am now returning to the US until the 15th of April. Flying into Charlotte and heading to my mom’s for an indefinite amount of time. I’d love to hop around the US for a little bit once I know she’s recovered. I’m desperate to sit on a beach somewhere in the warm sunshine for a few days ((those winter blues get the best of me EVERY year, and it never get easier)). I’ll figure it out in the weeks to come. I’ll then return to England mid-April for the wedding of my brother-in-law Alex and soon to be sister-in-law Rosie. After that delightful occasion, I anticipate flying back to the US again, and settling wherever we may end up at that point. Andrew is staying in England for now until further plans are sent into motion.
This all means I’ve decided to cancel our plans to visit Paris, and intend to go another time when the weather is nicer and when I can be completely present & in the moment, enjoying all Paris has to offer. I should tell you it helps that on the way back from southwest France, Mr. D drove us along the Seine, past the Eiffel Tower, up the Champs Élysées and around the Arc de Triomphe. So technically I’ve already seen that infamous, gorgeous majestic structure I have been desperate to see for what seems like my lifetime. I will return to Paris and climb up to the top of it someday soon!
I am trying not to think of this as if I am giving up something to go be with my mom. My family is immensely important to me, and spending time with them was a huge reason to take this adventure away from a job and a home. I have proven to myself that extended travel is possible, and I can do it again in the future if I so choose. I have traveled by car across the USA for two and a half months; spent more than two months in England, visiting London, Cambridge, Brighton and Liverpool among other towns and villages; I’ve spent three incredible days in Berlin and a week in Le Lot Département of southern France, trying my best to speak the language I learned as a teenager. I’ve had countless precious moments with my nine nieces and nephews, plus my closest girlfriends’s little ladies, of whom I pretty much consider myself an auntie as well. I’ve slept in so many different beds that I’ve lost count ((perhaps thirty something by now?)). I have thousands of cherished photos, detailing so many unforgettable moments along the way.
Thank you for coming along for this incredible adventure. The support of family and friends and people who read this blog is truly heartwarming. The past six months have been a dream come true.
Trust this isn’t the end of Where Did Mary Go. I will continue to blog my adventures big and small, and I already have a list of places to go with my mom when she’s up for it. I’m simply changing lanes for a while. As sad as I am to leave England and the Darbyshire fam, there’s no place I would rather be right now than with my mom while she recovers. It’s rather lucky I am not tied down to a job at the moment with a limited number of vacation days, and have the opportunity to go keep her company for a while. Always, those silver linings, right?
I hope you’ll continue to keep up with my posts to see where I’ll be next. I feel some bursts of spontaneity coming!