After I got sick, I started to evaluate my life and found that I was taking for granted that I would always have tomorrow. I’ll go out for lunch tomorrow with my friends because I need to clean the house today. I will write that note to my friend tomorrow because I need to grocery shop today. Tomorrow may never come. I don’t mean to be morbid, but I need to start doing these things today!
My literary agent is located in the UK, and right in the middle of my sickness my husband said, “Why don’t you go over and meet with him in person and take your mom?” Josh travels a lot and has saved up all of his airline and hotel points. He booked our tickets the next day. Yes, I know how lucky I am to be married to my best friend that always knows just what I need. “A trip with your mom will be good for both of you.”
My mom is a spunky woman with pure white hair and energetic as all get out. She can run circles around people half her age. She has a wicked sense of humor and she is my best medicine on most days. Mom tells me that she is going to pack in a carry on suitcase because she will not pay the $25 for her luggage. She tells me that she is going to bring two sweaters and just wear them a couple of times. “You realize we are going to be gone for seven days right, Mom? That is more than a couple of times.”
The next few days made memories for me that I’ll never forget. I doped us both up on Tylenol PM because it was an overnight flight. We could hardly peel our eyes open to get off the plane. We took a double decker bus around the city of London to see the sights. Mom slept off and on for two hours only to wake up and mumble, “Uh huh.” She later asked me if they are even speaking English because she couldn’t understand a word they are saying.
We meet lots of interesting people and a few couples from London as we are having high tea. Mom speaks in a loud voice and slows her speech down when speaking to them as if they are deaf.
Traveling by bus to the Tower of London, Mom tells an Italian couple about my book. They don’t speak English very well and so she starts saying, “Libro, libro!” “That’s Spanish, Mom. They are Italian and not deaf.” As I drag her off the bus she is talking about how we will see the Crown Jewels. “Wait till you see the King’s shaft, I mean his shank. It is filled with his family jewels.” I just bet it is, Mom!
We had promised my husband that we would try Fish N Chips while there. We ordered a plate and when my mom looked down at it, she made a face. “This doesn’t look like it does at Long John Silver’s!” My mom has no volume control. Check, please! We had a lovely dinner at McDonald’s that night.
Our last day, we headed over to see the Westminster Abbey. It was closed to sightseeing by the time we got there. We could get in to see it if we attended the church service starting in a few minutes. I turned to Mom and asked, “I wonder what religion it is?” She causally replied, “Who cares? It’s free!” The inside of the Abbey is beautiful and I did enjoy it even though I froze for an hour listening to the choir sing songs that “didn’t even sound like they were in English.”
Our week was coming to an end. We got to the airport five hours early just in case. As we pushed our way back to the 40th row of the airplane and plopped down in what would be our seat for the next nine hours, I smiled over at my mom. The gentleman in the next row over was explaining the US Customs form to his neighbor. Yelling in a loud voice (he must have gone to the same school as my mom), “Sir, have you come in contact with livestock?” Blank stare. “This means have you physically touched a cow, a goat, or a pig?” Over the course of the next two hours, this older gentleman got up and changed seats with the guy in front of him exactly nine times because he didn’t want to sit next to his wife. He roamed the aisles looking for free seats and started asking random people for their seats.
Mom needed to go to the bathroom and said, “I’ll go first and you stay here. I don’t want him to take my seat!” As I waited for what seemed like forever with my leg thrown over her seat, she finally returned.
“I met a really nice couple from Chicago and told them about your book. I told them about the sex scenes!” Awkward? Not at all when I’m with my mom!
I will never forget this week and plan to make all of my tomorrows count as much as my todays. I wish for everyone to laugh and laugh much. Laugh until you are struggling to breathe and your cheeks hurt from smiling. Celebrate LIFE, walk humbly, love fiercely, and live joyfully.