I just spent five glorious days – unhurried and relaxed – with my son, first in Oxford and then in London. It was a dream come true. Since he began studies in Oxford in the fall of 2012, I thought often of visiting that city of “dreaming spires” and just spending time there with my dear son.
Then last year, our company announced that the upcoming incentive trip would be a European Cruise starting in the English port city of Southampton, to Belgium, France and then back to England. Oxford was one of the land tours offered! It seemed unbelievable!
Together with a bunch of team mates, I worked to qualify for this Cruise. And I did! We all did. Many of us brought our family members along. I invited my brother. We decided to extend our stay in England to visit my son Nicky. After a superb time on the cruise, my brother and I found ourselves on a bus to Oxford. We were both excited at the prospect of seeing Nicky and Oxford!
We fell in love with Oxford the minute we got there and we loved every bit of our time there. The three of us enjoyed hearty breakfasts in the market, a long walk down the Thames with two pub stops. Cold beers and hot, delicious pub food. We basked in the unusually warm and sunny spring weather and took lingering strolls through the many colleges of Oxford. We spent time sitting on the grounds of the University and stopped to listen to the renowned Christ Church College choir. We chatted over slow dinners.
Then we spent another three days in London. The last two, I was alone with Nicky. I was just a wee bit anxious as the two of us hadn’t planned what we were going to do in those two days.
I thought we might feel lost without my brother. And I realized I have not spent extended alone time like this with my son for the longest time.
As it turned out, we had a GREAT time. We ate at Borough Market, visited the National Gallery, and ate in Chinatown. After dinner, I shopped at T J Max with Nicky, first time ever my son and I shopped together for clothes!
We talked easily, mooched around naturally; we were relaxed and happy. It felt like I was being with a treasured friend. Sunday happened to be Mother’s Day. We had breakfast, went to the British Museum, had my favourite cream tea at Bea’s of Bloomsbury. Nicky bought me a simple lunch from Harrod’s Food Hall before we went for Even Song at Westminster Abbey. It was a beautiful service and we both enjoyed it. We squeezed in some time at Primark where Nicky bought me a small present before I headed for Heathrow. I felt like I had just experienced one of the best days of my life as a mother. I felt SO blest.
As I sat in the plane, I thought about the time I had with Nicky. I don’t for a moment take that for granted. I felt very grateful for all the time I had taken to be with him when he was a wee boy and then later as a teenager, when I had stopped working to focus on my MLM business.
I recall vividly my angst and struggle as I was preparing to leave my well-paid and fulfilling job at the peak of my career to pursue the somewhat uncertain and unglamourous path of a network marketer. But I remembered that one of the compelling reasons was to have time with my son before he grew up and left the home for National Service and then University.
Looking back, I really cherish the time spent with my son when he was in his teens. At that time, I didn’t expect him to be doing his degree overseas.
Time. Not just quality but quantity. Lots of it and lots to spare. Being there when the son wants to talk. Being there in the mornings before school and last thing in the evening. Being there at meal times and to put meals on the table. Time helped to nurture a healthy mother-son relationship. I feel like we are also good friends.
Time. That thing which most people say they don’t have. If I didn’t have time for my boy while he was young, then when he and I have time, we may not know how to spend time together. Time is that essence which many think they would have more of some day. And some day, they would spend it with their loved ones.
It took that trip to Oxford and London for me to appreciate deeply the wisdom of my decision to step out of the demands of my full time job and step into the flexibility of a MLM business career. I am so grateful.