On the school trip to Victoria, I was supposed to stay in a home with two of the students. No problem. They were great girls, very quiet, no troubles. I loved the host family, too. Jim is a retired English teacher, Maureen is still teaching (English), and I felt completely at home as soon as we arrived. I even hugged Milton, the huge Mastiff dog, as if we were long lost buddies. And this is where the trouble began. Turns out I am allergic to 230 pound, brindle coloured piles of love. Within an hour I realized that I had two choices. I could stay with the Ross family, and possibly stop breathing, or I could switch with another chaperone. I called the band director, apologized, and explained. She paused, and said "Don't you have a mother?" Ahh. Yes! Beth lives in Victoria!! Permission to skip out on night time duties, and visit with Beth! So for the first time ever, I called my mother and asked if I could crash at her place. Now understand, we were thinking that we would be lucky to get a dinner together while I was in town. Travelling with 50 teenagers generally means the schedule is chock full. Now, I would see her every evening and morning!! Once she got over the whole "My house is so dirty I can't let you in" thing, she was happy to see me.
You might think that since we have never lived together, and she missed out on my teen years, that the motherly nagging might have been missed. You would be wrong. That woman made up for missed time, let me tell you. The first morning, she rode the bus to school with me. She gave me bus money. She reminded me to pack a lunch. The second day, she rode the bus with me, but wouldn't give me any hints. I had to prove that I could survive the transit system myself. The third day, I was allowed to go alone. Only because she had to work, I'm sure!
When you don't have your mother nagging you and checking on you for 36 years, it can be very funny when it finally happens. However, I didn't dare laugh to hard, because she was right. On the first day, I totally forgot bus money until we were leaving. I had to bum change off my mother. And? I would have had no lunch if she hadn't reminded me. She also told me I should be thinking about how I would get my lugguge to the school on the last day.....without her, I would have been hauling my suitcases up the hill to the bus stop, through a bus transfer, and I'm pretty sure I would have lost something.
We sat in our flannel nighties watching TV, eating cheesecake. We had a few beer, and laughed at men. We talked, and talked, and talked some more. Every morning when I woke up, she had the coffee made. Every night when I went to bed, the last thing I saw was a picture of my babies on the dresser, next to her computer. It was the absolute best school trip ever.
I didn't really think about how our relationship has been changing, or what would happen if we had a few days with no one else around. It wasn't until I got home that it hit me. I was talking to a friend about the trip, and I said ".....so after I called and explained about the dog allergy, I went and stayed with my mother." My friend smiled at me and said "That's the first time I've heard you call her that. Always before, you've said "my mother, Beth" or just "Beth". In the last 5 minutes, you've called her "my mother" at least 3 times. Must have been a good trip."
It must have been a good trip.