I don’t know if this is the case in your local grocery store, but often a sales rep from the local newspaper company has an elaborate set-up right by the shopping carts. As you explain to your youngest how much you hate pushing the car shopping cart with Disney TV playing inside, he still insists it’s his favorite and he must ride in it. And when you gasp in defeat, yield to the marketing and hard to push talking car shopping cart, the sales rep ask you, with the requirement amount of peppiness,
“Would you like a free paper?”
What I want to say:
Hell no! No, thank you. I’ll pass. Uhm, didn’t you just see this tough negotiation I had to endure and just lost?
My real and honest response is:
No, thank you. We already take the paper. Yes, both of those. Yes, on all seven days. You have a great day too.
So yes, we do take a hard copy of the paper. Why? Because my mother-in-law loves it.
My mother-in-law does the Sudoku every morning while my daughter reads the comics and laughs from her gut with her grandmother. My mother-in-law will also highlight any good horoscopes; circle the funny and drama ridden Dear Abby exchanges; set aside the coupons I want to clip; and pull out articles I may be interested in reading. Most of the newsworthy items are focused on schools and education, but many times she’ll find a good recipe I may want to try, or something related to multigenerational families.
Last week I came down to the kitchen and on the table, my mother-in-law had left out an article, from The Denver Post, about traveling with elderly parents. (So is “elderly” an okay word, but “senior” still a bad word? OK, that’s a different post.)
It made me smile to know my mother-in-law had thought of me and knew I was wrapping up it’s a full nest’s celebration of multigenerational travel.
Thomas Huang’s article, Travel with elderly parents a blessing and a challenge, was poignant and sweet as he provided an honest account on what it meant, now, to travel with his parents as they were slowing down. His gentle approach to spending quality time with his aging parents and honoring their strengths and limitations clearly spoke to the silent passing of the caregiver baton – when adult children have to step-up to take on the nurturer role the aging parents once held.
I appreciated the clarity with which Huang outlined the challenges that cannot be ignored or pushed aside when traveling with elderly parents.
- As parents age, they are not able to travel as much, nor able to do that much during the travel.
- Health issues have to be taken into consideration.
- Dietary needs have to be addressed, which may make dining less exciting, and more tricky.
- Aging parents may not be as forthcoming with their needs, so be ready to negotiate, a lot.
Huang also speaks eloquently to the many joys of multigenerational travel.
- An adult child and his/her parents can rebuild or strengthen their relationship.
- Multigenerational travel provides a chance to enjoy the journey of a trip.
- Having things well planned out is critical.
- There will be many opportunities to practice flexibility.
- You will be able to nap more during the trip.
The biggest takeaway, for me, while reading Huang’s reflections was,
“Expect the unexpected, and when the unexpected happens, roll with it.”
Multigenerational travel and living are for sure that way and I’m reminded, constantly, to stay mindful and enjoy the ride.
Share some of your multigenerational travel trips or stories from your multigenerational travel. We’d love to hear from you.
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