Spending time with my mom (and eagerly anticipating spring and summer adventures)

March is my least favorite month and each year I have to be intentional about how I'm going to get through the end of the winter.

I get very antsy this time of year. Cabin fever I guess.

I definitely experience a transformation through the winter season. In January, right after the energy and resource expenditure of the holidays, all I want to do is retreat, rest and hibernate. I want to hunker down. So I make every effort to honor that desire.

But as the days slowly lengthen and winter's magic wanes (early winter is magical but the magic doesn't last forever) I am itching for a change.

By March I want to start making plans for the summer and I want to go places, right now. This seasonal shift in me has helped fuel our moves over the last few years. It wasn't the reason for our moves, they were necessary for other reasons - short-term rentals, hiking the AT, housing availability etc. But this natural change in "energy" helped us pull it off, for at least four of our last five moves (one move was in autumn).

This year no moving. Hallelujah!! So I can instead plan summer camping, backpacking/hiking, and roadtrip adventures. I am so relieved I want to start planning those again. After our hike I thought I lost my travel and adventure desires all together. All I wanted to do was to nest and make home. Thank goodness that was just part of my post-trail experience and recovery.

I'm ready to go places again, both in terms of the March "itch" and in the bigger picture of my life in which I am both a homebody and an adventurer.

That's the big story, the more immediate story is that back in January, anticipating my need in March to go somewhere I made a plan with my mom to meet up in March, roughly halfway between Nova Scotia and Montreal.

This weekend was that meet-up. We called it a retreat. We did this once before, six years ago when I still lived in Maine. We met in New Brunswick that time.

For this retreat my mom made a big effort in driving all the way to Riviere-du-Loup and I arrived by bus from Montreal. There are not a lot great places to meet, in March, in central New Brunswick, which is truly the halfway point between us. My mom graciously agreed to "go the distance" to meet me in Riviere-du-Loup, which offers more culture and outdoors opportunities than small-town New Brunswick.

I had such a wonderful time with my mom. We connect on many levels, and share multiple interests. And we respect and love the differences in each other. I feel safe with my mom, at ease.

Sometimes I get so caught up in our current friendship that I forget my whole history and being is dependent on her. There is no part of my life she does not know, she has not been witness to.

She knows me in one of the most intimate ways possible, more intimately than I can ever know her. My mom had a life before me, a childhood I wasn't a part of and an early adult life that I was largely oblivious to. As a child I didn't think of my mom as a person to know, she was just "my mom". It wasn't until my adulthood that I appreciated my mom as a person unique from me.

My mom does not offer unsolicited advice and she does not smother. She has always given me plenty of space to become independent, to be my own person, the daughter of Derryl and Karen Toews.

From the time I was little my mom has been the parent that I got along with most easily. It is my Dad, who shares many of my personality traits and ways of looking at the world, with whom the sparks flew in my teenaged years.

Now there are no sparks, except those that ignite the love in my heart for these two people in the world who know me so well and have loved me unconditionally all my life.

Most of the time my mom and I are together we are with other family - husbands/fathers, kids/grandkids. Our attentions are divided, conversations shortened by things we must do. But this weekend was one long, uninterrupted, conversation and connect time.

It was winter in Riviere-du-Loup but that didn't dampen our enthusiasm to get outdoors and walk, something we both love to do. We even dress the same for the outdoors. That's years of Damien's influence, helping equip our family and my parents to be comfortably active outdoors year round.

We drank red wine at the end of the day and ate our meals out. Nothing as tasty as my mom's cooking, but I sure enjoyed the break from the kitchen.

We talked a lot but we enjoyed companionable silences and personal time. I napped and did Zentangle. We read.

My mom loved on me with an AromaTouch Technique experience.

We talked about our passions and our dreams for the future. Of course I talked about my kids. My mom is the one person in my life, other than Damien, that does not tire to hear the stories and struggles of Celine, Laurent and Brienne, my life's pride and joy (and the cause sometimes of heartache and concern).

My joy is her joy and my pain is her pain. And as a grown adult, the empathy goes both ways. She is no longer just "my mom", the way she was when I was a kid, she's my friend.

We filled our adult relationship mother-daughter well, and agreed we should make this an annual activity.

Driving back to Montreal on the bus, watching the snow disappear as we travelled south, it feels like spring is just around the corner. I'm happy to leave the snow in Riviere-du-Loup.

March has turned. We reached the equinox, and winter is truly waning. The magic of spring will start soon, and summer, a season for traveling and adventures, will follow shortly.

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • Ruth L

    Ruth L on March 21, 2016, 6:02 p.m.

    What a special time for you two to  just 'be'!  I used to enjoy the getaways in past years with your mom and Grandma, although I don't remember them being very 'in-depth' re: dreams, goals, etc.  Nonetheless they were adventures well-remembered and now, missed........


  • Nana

    Nana on March 22, 2016, 2:56 p.m.

    Renee, our weekend retreat was a lovely warmth for the soul. Whenever I come away from being together, I am grateful for how I have been inspired by your encouragement in my life/work passions and challenges. As it was this time also.  But driving home, ruminating there was something more, I realized I got to know YOU better. What stirs and balances you; what feeds you; the Rock of your life that is unmovable. This was - and will continue to be -  such a joyful, satisfying moment for me. Thank you for the kind comments in your post. I am honoured, and rather than protest (because I know me!), I remain grateful to the Rock who has also shaped my life, and gifted us both  your grandmother, who will always be my model of "Mother". xo


  • lily boot

    lily boot on March 24, 2016, 8:41 a.m.

    I really love reading your blog Renee - I too experience anxiety and found your last post to be both incredibly encouraging and also such a "Yes! Yes!  Doesn't everybody feel like this!!" moment.  Made my family chuckle (and slap their foreheads) when I read it out.  Your honesty and openness in sharing your recent journey feels like such a gift to read.  Thankyou.  And your weekend away with your mum sounds beautiful.  I am very close to my mum so I understand what you have expressed and enjoyed.  Hope spring is bursting in your neighbourhood.  


    • renee

      renee on March 24, 2016, 1:11 p.m.

      Lily boot, thank you for sharing that with me. I love reading other people's writing that makes me nod my head, that affirms something true in my heart and is true for them also. I am honored that my writing is like that for you. 

      Spring is not yet bursting in my neighborhood but it is starting to burst in my heart :)


  • Sarah

    Sarah on June 10, 2016, 8:56 a.m.

    My mom raised me all alone, as my father passed away soon after my birth, so I try keeping her happy always. Since, she is fond of roaming around the attractive places, we planned Miami Beach Tour to celebrate her 60th birthday.


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