One of the hardest parts of being raised by a single mom was the guilt factor — a theme that would follow me into adulthood.
My mom was in her mid 20’s when she packed up half her belongings, my baby brother and myself, to start anew.
She was fortunate to secure a full-time job as a cashier in a grocery store — a real blessing considering she didn’t receive any support from our dad — but money was always tight and help was limited.
She never let on that she was broke, afraid or lonely, but I knew…
I was five-years-old when I watched, helplessly, as she laid stiff on the living room floor after a long shift one evening, crying in pain.
Her back had given out, again, but she had no other option than to pick herself up, wipe the tears that were streaming down her flustered cheeks and continue making supper.
It wasn’t long before we were forced to leave our townhouse after the rental cost went up. Mom found a little illegal basement suite on Scott Road down by the train tracks for us to call home-sweet-home.
The suite contained a hot plate for a stove and tiny countertop convection oven for cooking, but she always made the most amazing gourmet meals in that kitchen. In fact, she made our new home and life feel like an exciting adventure.
Honestly, I grew up feeling like any other child on the block, except I couldn’t shake the guilt from watching her work so hard and give so tirelessly.
But at 7, I didn’t have a whole lot to offer except for making her little books, cards and songs that were a surefire way to make her smile.
I vowed that one day I’d spoil her rotten. This past weekend I finally got my chance.
It was extremely tough leaving my own two girls, especially since the flu bug had struck our household earlier that week, but my wonderful and supportive husband kicked me out the door. He knew how much this mother-daughter getaway meant to me. I also had my mother-in-law on standby to help us out.
“There’s never going to be a good time to go,” he said. “You’re going to regret it if you don’t go.”
He was right.
If there’s one thing I learned in my 35 years on this planet, it’s that life will always get in the way if you let it. Illnesses strike, cars break down, dogs get sick, dishwashers leak and the guilt monster that most of us moms battle will rear its ugly head.
But you know what? Sometimes, you just have to take that small window of opportunity and get away when you have the chance.
If I had succumbed to my ‘mom guilt,’ I would never have watched my own mother light up like a Christmas tree when she saw the beautiful view of Victoria’s harbour from our room. We also wouldn’t have snuggled close under an umbrella while hunting for eclectic treasures at second-hand shops, or shared some incredible dining experiences without watching her get up to wait on everyone else for a change.
If you’re thinking about finally taking that girls’ getaway or mother-daughter trip, do everything in your power to make that happen – even if it’s just a night away, somewhere close.
I felt so loved and appreciated when I arrived home from my whole family – our two dogs included.
“Mom we missed you so much,” said my girls, who wouldn’t leave my side last night on the couch.
I told them all about our three magical nights in downtown Victoria and vowed that one day, when they’re older, the three of us would go on a mother-daughter getaway of our very own.