While I was living in Amsterdam, my mother, Lien, stopped visiting me. It became too strenuous! Her mobility isn't what it has been. Then I moved abroad and I didn't expect her to go that far. If Amsterdam is too far, then so are Norway and the UK! And then fast-forward to last year and I buy my house. And she suddenly she suggested she come and visit! But I would have to come and get her. She can't travel alone anymore! But then the plan got bigger. She lives in some housing project for the 55+, and one of her friends (Mieke) from there was thinking of coming along. And then a friend of Mieke's (Henk) was thinking of it too! And my mother suggested we would tag it along on my visit to the Netherlands. Then I would be travelling between the countries anyway. And that plan was accepted! It was a bit uncertain until a rather late stage whether it would the two ladies from the housing project staying with me, or just my mum, while the two others would travel independently. But it the end it was the latter.
The day before our flight we talked through some last things. Was my mother's bag big enough? Or too big? Would the friend need an adapter plug for the British sockets? Should she bring talcum powder? Are nail scissors allowed?
On the day itself we got ready, and went to the communal room to meet Mieke. But she appeared from some other communal room and said the cab was there. And Henk too. We were on our way!
The cab driver dropped us off. I needed to go and print my boarding card. Mieke had the other boarding cards on her phone. But I was wondering if several people travelling on one phone would work. I don't like boarding cards on phones anyway! So we decided to print them all off. That was a bit of a faff! It took several iterations, but we did it. Then we had to get to security.
My mother took hold of my arm and we went security-wards. Just before we got to the gates and the stairs a lady closed the ribbons. She said it was closed. We had to go to a different terminal! I asked how far that was. Five minutes, she said. I asked how far at my mother's speed. She had a look and opened the ribbon for us. That was nice! So we got to security. And there they might have been forewarned. A bloke appeared that took my mother past the queue. Mieke went with her.
After the security we reconvened. Onwards to the gate! We were flying KLM so we weren't going to a gate that was all too far away. But it was far for my mother! And she can be silly so Mieke coughed once and Lien immediately forgot to focus on staying upright to dig out a bit of chewing gum. She promptly fell over but luckily I was alert and caught her. But we managed to get to the gate without issues. So far, so good!
As Lien and Mieke had booked together they sat together too. I was on my own. It was an uneventful flight. When we arrived I waited for the ladies again so Lien could take my arm again. We got through passport control (the wrong one; my fault), went to the loo, and went through the doors. We were at arrivals!
Mieke and Henk would hire a car there so they had to go to the hire car village. In a way it would have been nice to join them and only part ways when we knew they were sorted, but I was a bit nervous and keen to get my mother to my car. So we only walked them to the bus stop for car rentals and said goodbye there and then. We would see them back towards the end of the trip! They would take Lien home again.
When the others were gone we walked on. And we got to the car! All good! From there it was easy. She was sat in a comfortable chair and all was well! And I would show her the landscape. It's not spectacular at the start but it gets better. It was lovely to show here the general surroundings! And then we got home. We had made it! I showed my mother the house (not yet the top floor or the garden; it had been enough for a day) and plonked her on the couch and plonked wine and nuts down and went to the shop to get some food. Then I cooked her pasta. My mother eating my food in my house! And then us having a glass of wine in the living room! It was very special. And this was only the beginning!