Planned Spontaneity and Traveling

“Lets just go for a ride”


“It is so nice out , let’s go for a ride,  just throw our toothbrushes in a bag”

She was spontaneous like that, it was so much fun.  

 When my girls were old enough to ask where are we going, mom and I would  simply say

“we are going on an adventure”

They loved our adventures  as much as Mom and I did.  Still do.


We were all young ( including Mom) when my dad died, (another post for sure) and with 5 kids mom did not have much free time and then when all of us had moved out and started our adult  lives she was left alone. First time in her life she was alone.

Mom had been alone for a long time when the girls and I came to live with her.  I think at times it was joyous for her to have us there, we kept her busy, we had each other to do things with and we did laugh a lot.

She did some traveling before the girls and I came.  Texas (to visit Rob and family), Florida ( Scot and family), Virginia (to help Bruce when he broke his face), Colorado (with Barbara, to visit Bruce and I) and we did some trips together too, Kansas, Montana, Florida again.  She always enjoyed the travel and adventure.

The 4 of us



When my girls were young I had to bring more than a toothbrush but we did pack light  – your basic diaper bag paraphernalia.  

Off we would go.

 There were times where we might end up at Weirs Beach New Hampshire, that was always an easy trip.  Sometimes we went further north,The Kancamagus Highway,   The Flume,  and sometimes we would head for the coast, York Beach usually, and on a rare occasion we fit in both.  Shorter trips we went to the Mohawk Trail and our biggest trip was to Prince Edward Island. (that took planning)

Mom at Weirs Beach
mom franconia
Franconia Notch
mom and the red sand of P.E.I.


As the girls got older it  got easier and  we’d venture  a  little further for a little  longer.  We stopped where Mom and I wanted along whatever the chosen route was.

Mostly we went without a plan, no routine, no phone ( we did not have  cell phones back then) , and  didn’t let anyone know we were off.

Always a different adventure and always fun. We were happy.

For years, much of what we did was not planned. Well of course the longer trips were planned but our  day trips were mostly spur of the moment.

A visit to Aunt Jay’s (mom’s sister)  was one of our favorite short trips. She was always so happy to have us or at least she made us feel that way.  We would visit the Maleys regularly.  When my kids got older and it was just mom and I we occasionally would visit her old friends , the D’Agastinos.  Scot invited mom every year to come visit in the winter and often she would go for a week or so, she did that alone since I was working.

 There are travel issues now with mom that require more planning, but don’t  think for one minute we can’t  still get out on some local “adventures” once in a while.

I’m not sure at what point in time this changed.  Like everything else, it was an evolution, it was gradual though.

 I do remember the moment I realized her traveling days would no longer be the same.   Okay I’ll tell you,

I was working, my girls were on their own and mom was going to visit Scot in Florida, it was February and a good time.  So I made the arrangements for her and got her ready.  The morning of her flight, we left 2 and a half hours before she needed to be there……. there was so much traffic…..  (this is one reason I am not a city girl)  I tried to not let on to mom that we were barely going to make it…  We got to the airport in time for Bob to  stop in front of the Jet Blue airline terminal and I dragged mom out of the car grabbed her luggage and ran (oh God she can’t run) inside to check her in.  Mom had no idea why we were rushing and I told her we were very late but she truly did not understand that her plane was probably boarding at that point.

The women at the  desk told me it was too late, that the plane had already boarded ,the door to the plane is already closed.

I said ” “no no no , you don’t  understand she has to go”  and I am sure I had a panicked look on my face.

I don’t like to be late, I am never late  for anything and neither is mom, so I was a little embarrassed too.

I had moms boarding pass in my hand and this jet blue worker (I was  not even sure of her title) however, this woman, I’ll  remember her kindness forever.

She saw moms itinerary and the fact that she required a wheelchair and an escort ( we make those arrangements because her memory was really failing her and she could not do this trip without the added assistance) she grabbed moms bag and called for a wheelchair while she made some communication with her walkie-talkie or whatever you call it , and she scurried off with mom.  I barely said good-bye to her and I am sure she was confused and I was a mess thinking about it.

Off she went.

I called Scot and told him this story and I was so upset to have left mom in that state of chaos and confusion.  Scot was very sweet and reassuring that she would be fine and he called as soon as he had her.  He asked her about the chaotic start to her day and she had completely forgotten.  That is the scary part.  Ugghh, too stressful.

The closest match to that feeling was the first time Megan got on a school bus as a kindergartener.

That was moms last trip alone.


There is not much spontaneity with Mom and I anymore. But I’m trying, I decided that  this version of our traveling life is what I call “planned spontaneity”  (oxymoron?  I think not)

For mom it is still spontaneous ,( even if I have told her, she forgets) and for me it is a lot of planning.


We take short, easy  trips now,

(this still requires more planning than I would have thought, we need to be sure there are bathrooms close by, we need to pack  incontinence  pads, tissues, a change of clothes, her cane, the wheelchair, papertowels (don’t ask) and her  handicapped parking pass.  Then she also insists on bringing her bag with her crocheting, she hasn’t  been able to crochet in over a year)

our easy trips consist of small adventures, the Newport Cliff Walk, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (this is where my dad and much of my family are) and of course  the Old North Bridge.  Mom was  born and raised in Concord so it is familiar territory for her and the familiarity comforts her.

Barbara and I have taken her on shorter trips too, places like the  Wayside Inn, and one day we even stopped to see our cousin, Bob.  They both enjoyed the visit and shared pictures and memories.

mom and Bob
mom and Bob
Old North Bridge
cliff walk Newport

If we are going for an overnight I have to stay one step ahead of mom,  she will check and recheck and take things in and out of a bag….. forget she took it out or put it in   and If I don’t see her doing this we will be without something or have too much of another thing.

I try to pack her up and put her bags in the car before she has a chance to open it up again.  

“Okay Mom are we ready?”

..and I check again for  her medicine, pads, extra clothes, hearing aides with extra batteries, tissues, extra cane, handicapped parking pass,  wheelchair  in  car.

Finally, off we go.

So our “planned spontaneity” does require a little preparation and  a “senior diaper bag” with your basic  paraphernalia ( again, full circle)

Recently, while trying to make a plan for a short trip,  she told me that she is happy to stay home, “I’m getting old” she  said, with a well-earned groan.

  So we walk to the backyard, often.  We sit and chat, and reminisce and laugh. mom out back

mom and I outback on the bench

 Still having our adventures, right here, in our own backyard.

Still having happy moments.



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