{ Spring Break with Mom – Part One }

You might think it is strange for a mother to accompany her son to Miami for Spring Break, but here is how it happened…

My 20-year-old son Gino, who is taking online college classes, announced that he wanted to take a trip to Florida for spring break. After considering this, I mused aloud…

“It would be fun to go with you.

I wonder if I could swing it.

Would you hate that?” 

Then, I let it rest.

A few days later, he said, “That would actually be nice — you going with me.”

“REALLY??!!!!?” I asked.

My husband agreed, home duties were delegated, and so it was planned. Gino reserved our flights and our spot at a spacious 2 bedroom Airbnb. 

Day One

Arriving in Miami

We landed at 11:00 a.m. and basked in the 35 degree temperature change. We rode to our neighborhood, but the place wouldn’t be ready until 3:00 p.m. Gino stopped at Target and met me later, where I was lounging outside under the palm trees at a Starbucks. We hung out there before walking a few short blocks to our lovely little duplex in the Miami Design District. 

First Meal, Best Meal

Since Gino and I had been up at 4:00 a.m. for our 6:30 flight, and we hadn’t eaten a solid meal all day, we decided to go to Versailles Restaurant, whose tagline is: “The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant.” My Cuban-born husband and I discovered it when we went to Miami years ago, and its mouthwatering fare has haunted us ever since. Gino and I both ordered the Classic Cuban Sampler Platter. He polished it off, and I brought home half to enjoy tomorrow.

Day Two

Frank from Instacart left two grocery bags on our doorstep at 7:55 a.m. Gino went walking. I wrote out my own paraphrase of Psalm 9 and pasted it up on our refrigerator. The morning was leisurely, but our goal today was to hit the beach!

Uberimmediately

Gino takes care of (and pays for) our Uber rides and I am grateful, since I am quite unfamiliar with all that. Today, Gino asked, “Should I call for an UBER?”

“Sure.”

I started thinking about what to pack for a day at the beach, such as my:

  • walking shoes
  • snacks
  • sunscreen
  • lip balm
  • sunglasses
  • reading glasses
  • water bottles
  • earbuds

…and suddenly Gino announced:

“Okay, he will be here in one minute.”

Whaaaaa?!

I rushed to cram everything into my backpack, and bumbled awkwardly into the car as I simultaneously strapped on a mask. I looked at Gino, who was calmly sitting there with absolutely nothing in his hands. 

“Do you have everything?” I asked.

“Yep.” he said.

Miami Beach

Once we arrived at Miami Beach it was breezy and around 70 degrees, but the sun peeked out from time to time, which gave stunning photos!

We split up when we reached the sand: I walked north and Gino walked south. I trudged happily six miles along the windy, lapping shore, searching in vain for large shells, but finding bouquets of sea vegetation and washed-up iridescent jellyfish.

After a few hours of walking, I headed west to the paved pathway that runs parallel to the beach. I found a bike rental kiosk and on a whim, rented a Citibike for two hours.

After 20 minutes, I met up with Gino on the path (where I shared some of my snacks with him, since he had come without any…hehe) and after an hour and a half, we met up again at the kiosk and planned to get a ride home.

Once again, I had barely untangled myself from the bike and gathered up my bulky wares, when Gino said, “Okay, our ride is almost here.”

Tweaking Expectations 

After getting home, he showered off all of the sand, came out of the bathroom and said:

You know you can go places without me, right?

This struck me as a strange juxtaposition of the parent-child relationship, but maybe this is the emerging story of aging and could I possibly be on the brink already?

To reassure him that I was capable, I took off for a walk to Target when he wasn’t looking, and I forced myself to take extra time browsing so I wouldn’t get home too soon. 

As I was heading home, whom do I see on the sidewalk, but my own son, giving me a minimalist smile in exchange for my motherly wave hello?

I got home and boldly drank strawberry kombucha out of a wine glass.

Day Three

Gino moves in and out of this place like a Ninja. One minute, I hear him exiting the bathroom, and the next minute I walk out to the living room and notice that his shoes and keys are gone. 

So, to prevent myself from calling out his name just to see if he is still here (I think this annoys him) I have resorted to checking his Google location (a temporary, trip-only concession).  

This morning, I told him that I’m going to stick around home and relax.

“I will probably walk over to Starbucks later this afternoon,” I said, hoping this would impress him.

But tomorrow — our last full day — I definitely want to go back to THE BEACH!

{ Have a Safe Adventure.}

As parents, we want our children to embrace courage, prudence, pluck, decisiveness, endurance, guts, comfort-zone-exiting, valor and spunk.

But, we’d like you to do all that safely here at home, please.”

Dear daughter is heading to an overseas island to work in a crowded, unstable place with strangers.

Prayers will be constant.

As parents, we are thrilled that she wants to serve like this. And, we realize that this desire comes not from us…and possibly not from her…and probably all from God.

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This is a mother-ish sentiment.

~~~

Downsizing so that others might upgrade is Biblical, beautiful, and nearly unheard of. — Francis Chan 

More about “What is an adventure?”

 

{ Frumpy in France }

My son is traveling overseas for the first time, and I prayed that it would be a glorious, life-changing trip for him.

Surrounded by church friends and armed with a confident, likable personality, I doubt he will be homesick and I hope he will have a grand experience. 

This morning’s happy bon voyage caused me to remember my first overseas experience, only 36 years ago….

June 1983

When I left my Midwest suburb, I thought I looked totally acceptable — even cool — in my preppy boat shoes, wide-striped rainbow polo and Kelly green chinos. My hair was freshly home-permed into a bushy, easy-care halo around my pudgy face. 

topsidersOur French teacher, Madame Fansler-Wald, headed up the trip to France, starting in Paris with a one week family stay. A series of pre-trip planning sessions told us what to pack and what to leave home: “Don’t pack too much! Leave lots of room for souvenirs.”

At that season of my life, I thought so little of makeup that I decided I would lighten my luggage by leaving makeup at home — all 3 ounces of it. 

When it was time to leave, my whole family could stand at the gate and wave goodbye, because this was the innocent, trusting 1980’s.  

Au revoir! See you in 3 weeks!

My hollow carry-on and I landed in Paris and each student was shuffled off for one week with their Parisian host family. 

Pascale DuClosel was my teen counterpart in the host family — she was short, dark and aloof. She sported a fashionable, cropped hairdo and wore mini skirts and high-heeled pumps. She lived in a stylish flat with her mother and father, who were also aloof but pleasant, and spoke less English than Pascale. 

That first night — and every night —  I sat alone in the sparse European guest bedroom and drew out my Bible.  Trying to ward off homesickness, I read big chunks of the comforting Psalms; they have been my best friend ever since.

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For breakfast we bought fresh, long loaves of French bread and ate them slathered with real butter and exquisitely lumpy marmalade. 

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Pascale showed me her neighborhood and some days we sat at the sidewalk cafe with her friends. It didn’t take long to soak in the fashionable, French atmosphere, and I recall the moment I saw my frumpy reflection in a shop window and looked down at my sensible shoes. 

Suddenly, I felt like a farm hand that had parachuted into an elegant, sophisticated party.

And, I must have missed the unit where Madame talked about French greeting customs.  Pascale’s friend Stephen said goodbye to me one afternoon with a typical double side-cheek air kiss; I cringe when I remember how I innocently turned my face at the wrong time, getting an unintended smack on the lips from Stephen and a scornful look from Pascale.

I was relieved when the host week was over, and we gathered as a group again. The rest of the trip was like a magical dream, visiting giant castles along the Loire River, touring Monet’s charming pink cottage and day-tripping into Switzerland to eat ice cream at sunset.

Before leaving France, I bought those souvenirs that were supposed to fill up my empty luggage. They included:  makeup, a light blue denim mini skirt, and one pair of pink and white leather pumps.

 

{ Not a Bucket List }

I was inspired to create the “opposite of a bucket list” by Ordinary Stardust.

Here’s 6 for starters:

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Have a daily 9-5 office job.

One summer, I worked inside an office, typing at a desk.  Constantly on the verge of drowsiness, I’d regularly exit for breaks — a strategy to wake myself up.

Sing in a choir.

I am too prone to laughter. I got in trouble in 5th grade for giggling at silly boys, who were trying to make us laugh.  Even now, in church, singing hymns with my funny husband, it can be a problem. Just telling myself, “Don’t laugh, it’s not funny,” can start the giggles bubbling up.

Join the political scene.

I care about the issues, but don’t see a point in the ceremonial, political song- and-dance. It seems like a game, with its rhetoric and rules.  I try to educate myself, and participate when pressed. I vote, attend caucuses and local meetings.  But, I would never want to be up there on the podium.

Travel with tours.

I’m too independent.  I’d rather peek into forgotten hovels and investigate forbidden stairways than be led like a sheep through Rome.

Live in a big city.

I lived in Hong Kong for a year, and it was fascinating.  But, it had its drawbacks. It’s hard to explain the constant drain of people looking at you and being close to you all the time. Perhaps I will rethink this someday, but for now, I will leave it as is.

Be Cold.

Maybe I’m choosing this one because it’s January and I live in Minnesota.  But, I have been truly cold – it happened just after I had a baby.  Long story short, I lost a lot of blood, was airlifted to the University of Minnesota hospital and was given a few blood transfusions. Warm, dryer-toasted blankets were piled upon me, but still I was shivering.  I thought, “Hell isn’t hot.  It’s cold.”

 

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

 

 

 

{ Dancing with Refugees }

I learned the cha-cha in the strangest place.

It was the end of the 1980’s and I was working in Hong Kong.

Each muggy morning, I walked out of my high rise apartment building with two American co-workers.

We traveled by double-decker bus to Argyle Street Refugee Camp. The cement expanse was surrounded by barbed wire and looked like a concentration camp, inside and out.

I’d give my number at the guarded door and say “thank you” in Chinese.

Argyle Street Refugee Camp was managed by the Hong Kong Government, and Mr. Singh was in charge.

The Vietnamese refugees lived in barracks.  Their spaces were like what groceries are stacked on at the supermarket: wooden boards on a metal frame two or three stories high.

Most of them were hopeful; waiting to be resettled by a European or North American country.

We taught them English there, and occasionally field-tripped together around Hong Kong.  We ice skated, visited landmarks, scaled Victoria Peak and shopped.

I had brought along my new cassette tape “Stand By Me” and I taught them to sing the song as part of the English lessons. We sang it line by line and I explained what each part meant.  They never forgot it; years later Anh sent me letters ending with “Stand By Me.”

I learned part of their Vietnamese National anthem and a few of their folk songs –I can still sing parts of them.

They loved to dance.  Somebody organized dances in the one-room schoolhouse that doubled as a chapel. They were thrilled to teach a stumbling American beginner — like me– how to dance.

Sitting here in the Midwest thirty some years later, I can’t believe that the adventurous relief worker who danced the cha-cha with Vietnamese friends was really me.

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We held a drawing contest for the children in the refugee camp.  Most of them drew boats. This picture is one of the entries.

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During my year-long adventure in Hong Kong, my dad (pictured) and my mom came over to visit me. Here I am with my dad in my 80’s garb.  I think we were in the Hong Kong subway.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

Word prompt of the day:  dancing

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dancing/