If you’ve been on an AdventureWomen trip, you know how essential our Ambassadors are to your overall travel experience. They literally “make” the trip happen and add a very special depth to your understanding of your destination. In celebration of mothers this month, we asked a few of them to tell us about the special moments created for them by their mothers. Here are their stories…
The first year I was out of college and working, I had two vacation days left in March, and I planned a ski trip with my friends to go visit some other friends who were living and working at a mountain out west. I was SO excited. I had to book different flights from my friends because I didn’t have as much vacation time as they did. Their flight left mid-morning, and that afternoon, before my flight, a blizzard rolled in. The airline said I could go “next week” which was not an option without my friends. I was so sad, so what else do you do? You call your mom. I told her that I guess I’d just take my vacation days and hang out at home and read. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but she called me two days later to tell me that she, my sister, and I were going to go to Puerto Rico for a long weekend and I could use my flight credit to get there instead.
We stayed in this utterly bizarre modern, very cement-y rental condo – even the platform for the mattress was cement. Everything felt hard and cold inside, but it was on top of a hill with a stunning view and a yoga platform – and who wants to be inside anyway?! We spent three days just wandering, playing in the water, tasting different foods, reading, and playing cards. We didn’t venture far afield from our cement abode, but I’ll never forget the view from that yoga platform. My mother taught me not only to be flexible with my travel plans, but also to strive to help others have extraordinary experiences, even if it wasn’t what they originally planned. Someday I’ll go back to that yoga platform.
What my mother loved most in life was to travel, truly. Whether with my father on birding trips to far off tropical locales or heading off in the company of her curling teams to Scotland, Switzerland, or Canada, just to name a few countries, my mother loved the shared experience of being with new and old friends across the globe. My mother was a good sport, never needing any special treatment, often happy to stay in the most basic accommodations. Some of my favorite memories of my mom were when she drove with me to college, from Connecticut to Colorado. We would always factor in an extra day as she would love to stop in smaller towns along the way where we might attend a church breakfast or fundraising auction. I loved seeing the world with my mom as she was curious and generous and game. I feel honored to be ‘Elisabeth’s’ daughter and I continue to stay in touch with her friends and their families far and wide!
When I look at my mom, now age 88, I see her still-lovely hands that are a constant reminder of a lifetime of love and comfort, of artistry and culinary magic. She used to model her hands—long slender fingers and perfectly oval nails. I didn’t inherit this physical component, and have never been very dextrous, so I’ve always been a bit in awe of everything she could do with those hands.
She could twirl a perfectly raised pastry dough into dinner rolls that seem to levitate with their lightness.. and stuff dozens of cabbage leaves with meats and rice for hours, for our traditional Romanian Christmas dinner. In a time-honored Eastern European tradition, she’s wielded a wooden stylus filled with melted wax over the smooth surface of an egg, and polish off a geometric design in brilliant colors in a few hours—filling a spectacular centerpiece basket for the Easter table. She’s cooled down many childhood fevers with a cool finger brush on the forehead, and she’s stroked the wrinkled, gnarled hands of dying friends in silent comfort. Every spring she announces that her fingers are itching—which means it’s time to get those hands into the soil (a garden glove has never touched her hands) and her summer bounty of flowers has had many a neighbor pause and gawk. And, she still has the best script penmanship of anyone I’ve ever seen write. Mostly, though, it’s the love for her family she’s expressed over the decades, love that has flowed from her heart to her fingertips—in the ultimate, and magic, gift of a mother’s touch.
My Mom was a quiet, shy, unassuming woman. She was a great cook, an amazing seamstress with many artistic talents. She was not one to tell us many stories of her past, unlike my Dad. He loved to tell us his “war stories” and Mom always told him to stop.
We had a little summer cabin in Wisconsin, with neighbors who had a swimming pool that we were welcome to use anytime. One evening while we were at their house for dinner, one of the neighbors told my Mom that he would give her $50 if she jumped in the pool and swam the length. There is no way my siblings and I would have believed she would do it. But…..she did!! I will never forget watching her swim with a big victorious smile on her face.
Mom had a great adventurous spirit that she tried to hide from us so I was happy to see it every once in awhile.
We were preparing to leave for our first family vacation with our twin boys to Puerto Rico. My husband had a last minute 3 day business trip out of state right before our trip. I realized my 18 month old boys were not feeling well at all just the day before our flight. I had to pack and take care of sick, cranky babies. After an SOS call from me, my Mom dropped everything and drove 2 hours to save the day and my sanity!
It turns out the boys and I all had strep, plus they both had ear infections, fevers, and thrush. We realized all of this on the late afternoon before we were supposed to fly out the next morning. My Mom took care of us all, entertained sick toddlers, helped me pack and made sure we all had our meds. The doctor told us to stick with our plans and that the antibiotics would kick in in no time. We went on to have a fantastic vacation and we all recovered in no time under palm trees and sun. I could not have made it without my Mom’s much-needed help, excellent care, a homemade dinner and lots of love!
My mother, Marie Wineland, had rheumatoid arthritis and only lived until she was 44. I had her in my life for only 22 years but I have vivid memories of her collection of African violets. She prided herself on the vast array of colors. Only recently did I realize that these beautiful little plants came from the Usumbara Mountains in Tanzania. Tanzania has been the 2nd Home for my husband Rick and me since 1981 when we started Thomson Safaris. We have not made it to the Usumbaras but it will happen soon and then I will have an extraordinary time remembering my most magnificent mother who was the world to me and believed in me.