Current Affairs MIDDLE AGE MUSINGS  >  The Mother – Daughter Power Trip

The Mother – Daughter Power Trip

The Mother – Daughter Power Trip
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

BY LORRAINE DUFFY MERKL

We’ve never been kidnapped in a South American country, where together we had to fight our way out of the jungle, yet my 19-year-old daughter Meg and I have had as many bonding experiences on our excursions as mother and daughter, “Linda” (Goldie Hawn) and “Emily” (Amy Schumer), in the new movie, “Snatched.”

Meg and I are never so close than when we are far away. With no friends or relatives—my husband, Neil, and 22-year-old son, Luke, in particular—as distractions or buffers, the “we’re in this together” vibe kicks in as soon as we get into the Lyft to the airport.

“We need an amazing adventure,” Emily tells Linda as a way of persuading her mother to use the non-refundable ticket that was supposed to belong to Emily’s musician ex-boyfriend. I don’t know if anyone would classify Florida, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Seattle or Montauk as “adventure” destinations (especially in contrast to characters played by the Oscar-winner and the stand-up comedian, who went to Ecuador), but these are where our journeys have taken us.

Meg and I have ventured to most these places to meet up with Neil who is there on business; except for Montauk where we’ve vacationed long before he and I were even married. Sometimes we go out a day or two before Neil to indulge in activities or socializing that are of no interest to him. On our last jaunt to Seattle, we left Neil behind entirely.

Luke is out there for six months doing an engineering co-op. Neil flew out with him in January to get him set up, and will fly out again in June so the two of them can drive home cross country together. Meg and I arrived in the Emerald City at the mid-point of his internship.

Once we reach our destinations, we sightsee, usually taking at least one official tour so we get an overview of where we are, then hit specific places of interest on our own. Because shopping is our cardio, we head to the local artisan spots hoping to get something we can’t find back home.

I wish I could say every vacay is smooth sailing, but as are the cinematic parent and child, Meg and I are polar opposites. Like Goldie’s Linda, I’m the cautious, practical planner; Meg, steps easily into Amy’s role of throwing caution to the wind. Because neither of us ever learned the meaning of compromise, it’s always a matter of one giving into the other.

I have few regrets about the times I let Meg have her way. The convertible we rented in Florida at her insistence was one of the highlights of our trip. The canopied beach bed she suggested when we stayed at the Hotel del Coronado could possibly be the best (and most relaxing) day by the sea I’ve ever had—and I’ve had many. And her perseverance (along with the help of Amex’s concierge service) always manages to procure impossible to get reservations at the happening restaurant wherever we’re hanging our hat at the moment.

It is on these trips that I’ve learned things about Meg that would ordinarily go overlooked at home. Unlike me, Meg actually has a sense of direction. I depend desperately on GPS, which never fails to advise, “Left turn coming up,” just as I am passing the street where I should be turning left. Once in Cocoa Beach, in the pitch black of night, Meg singlehandedly got us back to our hotel via a less-than-detailed map and light from a smartphone.

But there are also things that plague us whether we are home or away. “I told you not to wear flip flops,” Linda yells at Emily as they’re running for their lives. My version of that admonishment is, “I told you not to wear high heels,” which are Meg’s fave accessory. My follow up is to remind her to put her fold-up flats in her bag, a suggestion that either gets ignored or forgotten, so I end up slipping them inside of mine; where they never stay for long. Usually, in about twenty minutes, I whip them out as the moans and groans due to pinched toes intrude upon our conversation. “I should have listened to you,” admits Schumer to her onscreen mom. Meg has yet to declare this aloud, although she always expresses gratitude as well as relief at the sight of the flat shoes.

There is another trip coming up in June, sort of a post-college freshman year celebration that she made it through. Her travel companion to Newport Beach, California, however, will not me, but a girlfriend. This is the first time, except for school or parent chaperoned outings, that Meg will be going somewhere without me. In fact, I’ve reconciled that it will be the first of many to come.

I hope that she’s learned the ins and outs of traveling—especially the safety precautions—from the trips we’ve shared; and that our experiences have formed a bond that will keep us close when our future journeys take us in different directions.

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Lorraine Duffy Merkl
Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of the novels BACK TO WORK SHE GOES and FAT CHICK, for which a movie version is in the works.