I had my mom to myself for 8 years, then my brother was born. I didn’t realize how much I would need her as an adult. Not just after my embolism, but as a friend. However, everywhere we go, everything we do, there is always someone with us. I enjoy their company, or I wouldn’t participate; however, sometimes we just need alone time with Mom. I don’t want to be one of those people who regret not getting to spend that precious time with their mom after she’s gone.
I love road trips, so when the opportunity came for one, I was excited. Never mind that it was to my heart city. The magical, beautiful, amazing city of New Orleans. It’s the one place I feel alive, and I have to admit, a bit of déjà vu. It’s funny how well I know the French Quarter, even though I’ve only been here three times. That’s a story for another time though.
For years, my siblings and I grew up with Anne Rice. We got our mom hooked on her stories as well. Kohni and I planned to attend the Vampire Lestat Ball since she was Elementary. We’d sit around describing our dresses, planning what to do in New Orleans that Anne wrote about in her books. We hoped that someone would put together an Anne Rice tour of the city.
When I was presented with the opportunity to not only come back to New Orleans, but to attend the ball, I begged Kohni to come with me. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get away. She really wanted to come, but being away from a 3 year old and an 8 month old for a little over a week was just not feasible. I called Mom and told her to mark her calendar for Halloween week, because we would be in New Orleans. She had no idea what in the hell I was talking about. So, I sent her a copy of the tickets to the ball. She went silent. That in and of itself was enough. HAHA!
We left Fort Worth on Wednesday, October 27th, and headed for Lake Charles, Louisiana. The GPS took us a strange route, but it was awesome. I’ve only ever gone through Houston. Even people IN Houston hate driving in Houston! This route took us through Hunstville, TX, and through the country. There were many quaint little towns, and we drove through an Indian Reservation. Texas is so huge, that it’s nearly impossible to see all of it, and as a native Texan, I saw parts of the state that I didn’t even know existed. We had so much fun laughing at the silly names of places. Just outside of Hunstville, TX there was a little place called Hootie Loo’s Catfish. It was such a funny name we got the giggles, and decided it’s probably the best catfish in the world.
We were in my car, and I like to do the driving. It’s just my thing. However, I was getting tired to the point of thinking I was going to fall asleep, so I let Mom drive. Like I said, I do the driving, so this was a big deal. However, once we got on the road, I relaxed so much. So, Mom ended up doing the majority of the driving. I’d drive in the cities along the way, but otherwise, I was digging propping my feet on the dash, and chillin’.
Normally, when Mom rides in the car with me at the helm, she’s pressing her fake brakes, holding on the door, telling me to “watch that car” that is a mile away. On this trip, the only time I had to get on to her was in New Orleans. I told her before we got here, that she had to promise not to stomp a hole in the floorboard, break my window with her palm, or gasp, because that shit makes me more nervous than traffic itself. She did good for the most part.
When you get to Lake Charles from Texas, you cross a steep bridge that goes of Lake Prien. I’m not generally a fan of heights, but Mom is terrified. I’d warned her many times about it, fully expecting her to over her head or at the very least, close her eyes. She did So GOOD though! She not only kept her eyes open, but she recorded the bridge crossing. She was excited about it! I was giggling at her, and yet, so very proud. It was like watching someone conquer their biggest fear. Now, I’m not saying she wouldn’t pee her pants at the top of Mt. Rainier, or something. At least in Lake Charles, she conquered that one!
My best friend’s grandmother, whom we call MoMo, lives in Lake Charles. While Mom and I were there, I HAD to go visit her. She’s such a sweet southern lady. We took her a little gift. It was an angel that my Granny had started making before she passed on, and Mom finished. Momo loved it, because her dress was green, which is Momo’s favorite color. She asked how I knew that, so I reminded her that she told me that the last time I had visited her. She was surprised that I remembered. I can’t remember names, dates, what I ate yesterday, but I can remember stuff like that. Hehe
We stopped in Baton Rouge, after Mom started saying “BATon ROUge” a dozen times in a terrible Cajun accent, and my eyes started crossing. I knew where a Starbucks was, so we stopped. I got my coffee, took a potty break, then I drove us into New Orleans. Mom was so excited she was almost giddy! It was the cutest thing ever! Last year, I got to fulfill my New Orleans bucket list, for the most part, so seeing Mom get to fulfill hers has been so fulfilling in itself. She’s like a kid on Christmas!
I missed my sister at the Ball, but I’m glad it was Mom who joined me. It’s been a special time, and I’m so blessed to have been able to share the experience and memories with my mom.