A note on Mom as a travel companion:
We get along very well generally, but this was the first time we’ve ever traveled together. I mean, it’s probably been decades since the five of us in our immediate family vacationed as a group. There are reasons.
But she had recently become very interested in just the two of us going somewhere together and I was open to the idea, so we’ve been kicking it around. This Paris thing kind of fell in our laps and we went for it.
In recent years, Mom has started making efforts to see more of the world. She’s taken seniors group tours to China, and gone on a cruise to the Caribbean with my father, and a few other places. But she doesn’t do a lot of independent travel, which is my preferred style.
Also, although her general health is good, she does not exercise. Zumba once a week is not regular exercise. She in a retiree living in Boca Raton; it’s not an active lifestyle. (shrug) But I like to really see a place when I visit, and that means go-go-going.
Therefore, the physical efforts of tourism, and our differing levels of fitness, started to become evident pretty much right away. Stairs were challenging in that they sap her endurance and there’s a limit to the amount of walking her feet can handle anyway. So strolling neighborhoods for hours was absolutely out of the question; we took the Metro and buses a lot. Unfortunately, the Metro means lots of stairs. Museum-going, though not arduous, required many sitting breaks. Also even when refreshed, she generally moves WAY slower than my usual pace.
But a significant part of the point for this trip was togetherness time, not just seeing Paris. So I was pretty good about being patient for slow paces, plus I often ran recon – going up ahead to verify destinations or check out something before coming back to walk with her for the most direct route or whatever. In exchange, she rarely complained and was truly game for just about anything I suggested. She even tried some new foods, which is a pretty big deal for her incredibly pedestrian palate. We compromised on a lot of things without great effort or sacrifice: We mostly did stuff that both of wanted to do, even if the degree of enthusiasm was unequal.
In short, it was a different experience than a lot of my friends might have if they travel with friends or lovers, or which I will have the next time I visit, whenever and with whomever that will be.
But that’s OK. I only have one Mom. And Paris will be there whenever I want to go back.