Location: Portland, Oregon
When I was asked to give some talks in Portland, Oregon, I immediately told my mom to come spend the week with me. I flew in from a training in Salt Lake City and my mom took the bus from Bend, a 4-hour drive over the mountains that required putting on snow chains en route. We met up in the hotel I’d booked downtown on Tuesday and have had a wonderful week together including…
Good meals aplenty. We enjoyed lots of great restaurants (including the surprisingly good one in our hotel) and of course made friends with lots of servers and managers. My outgoing nature and joy in meeting people come directly from my mom, so our combined gregariousness meant that we never ate a meal talking only to each other!
We walked all over the city and I am so glad that my 83-year old mother is still so fit and active. (She also hit the hotel gym and did yogo and stretching in our hotel room). We even offered to push a homeless man who was struggling to get up an incline in his wheelchair and have since chuckled many times over the fact that the offer, which was gratefully accepted, turned into a much bigger favor than anticipated because his destination was many blocks away up the steepest hill in Portland!
We reminisced about my dad and shared lots of stories about their adventurous life together. While it is still hard to think of life moving forward without him, I think we have both reached a point where we can talk about him without feeling like we are opening a fresh wound. And we continue to find comfort in knowing he died on his terms, without the inevitable decline that would have devastated him.
We played Boggle (and our hotel’s manager even joined us for a few rounds) and read and watched TV from our comfy beds. We got our daily doses of the news and the impeachment proceedings, but I also introduced Mom to Sugar Rush, a Netflix cooking competition that is a race against the clock. She told me how nervous she was watching me compete in the one cooking competition I entered (that won me a new kitchen back in 2006, when I won the title of Charlotte’s Best Home Chef!) and we reminisced about the amazing dinner parties she used to throw back in the day and how much my dad got into cooking in his retirement.
And most of all we just enjoyed being together and being able to spend so much quality time together (and with my brother and his wife and my adorable nephew). Talking on the phone, something we do pretty much every day, is nice, but there is no substitute for being together in person. I look forward to all of the family gatherings and celebrations that will bring us together again this spring (Hannah’s performance) and summer (Noah’s wedding) but I also hope Mom will continue to join me on some of my work trips. Maybe we can set a goal of playing Boggle in a different city every month!