Joy and Mom and I have taken some fun trips together through the years. Some to go on doctor visits. some to go visiting friends, some just for shopping. But, whatever the reason, we could always have fun times together. We would laugh, and be silly, and eat, and look for shoes, and explore new shops, and laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Now Joy and Mom never have enjoyed ‘junking’ or antique shops…they always liked that pretty, prissy stuff. And, they would wait patiently for me to ‘run in’ and see if there was some treasure sitting there with my name on it. I’m certain there were many things that were meant for me that I never got to see!
Oh well…didn’t need any of it!

Mom liked to go into shops and just leisurely go up and down the aisles. She used to say, “I just want to go by myself, with my own buggy, and no one rushing me.” And, Joy and I would let her do that. And, she loved to Christmas shop. Just a few weeks ago, I told her that Joy and I were getting ready to take her on a little trip. I asked her where she wanted to go. I said we would not go too far. In recent years she has not wanted to go very far from home. She has always loved Atlanta. She loved to go with me to Market, and she had several favorite shops she liked to visit. But, no, she didn’t want to go to Atlanta. “Too busy”, she said. She would like to go to Birmingham. Oh, she had some fav shops there, too. She loved White Flowers Gallery, and At Home and Harmony Landing in Homewood. She loved Smith and Hawken, and Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware, and Coldwater Creek and Talbots, and The Cheesecake Factory and PFChangs at the Summit. The last time we went we ate at a Panera Bread at the Summit for breakfast, and she enjoyed the beautiful view from our table. She enjoyed visiting the Galleria in Hoover. She used to love The Mole Hole that was there, and Bombay Company, and of course, Cindy’s Cinnamon Rolls. And, Hobby Lobby. And, a special shoe store in Hoover Unique Feet, that was one of the few places that could fit her feet. She would go and sit and try on shoes for and hour or two. And, several little gift shops in that area. And World Market.
And, others I’ll think of later.

As we travelled on our last trip we made together, we talked of many things. We were travelling to Birmingham to see her doctor for a follow up visit. We were planning things for Lori’s wedding, and things for my house, and she was planning ways she wanted to redo her living room. We discussed friends and people we had known. We talked of our church, and thoroughly dissected each grandchild’s life and things they needed to do to make it better. We always had the best ideas for everyone…as if they wanted or needed our input!

I turned to Mom at one point, and asked her if she could take a trip to anywhere in the world…where would it be. Now Mom and Pop did much travelling together in years past. They have been to Japan, Africa, Greece, the Holy Lands, Hawaii, Alaska, Guatemala, Peru, Belize, Honduras, Russia, and all across the US. She said, “I have always wanted to tour through North Carolina. (That’s her home state.)
I would love to visit all those places that I heard people talking about when I was growing up. I would like to go to some of the small towns, and to the coast, and back to Wilmington.” (Her parents lived there for a while.) Joy chose New England and I chose Hawaii.

We decided then and there, on I65, between Troy and Montgomery, that we would take that trip. We would wait for it to get a little cooler…and closer to the time the leaves would begin changing color. She said that it was really the only place she really would like to go. She decided that we would stop first and spend a few days with her sisters and brother before moving along on our journey.

And, that was our plans. And, that was our desire. Joy and I were looking forward to making that trip, too. We spent many summers in NC and had such fond memories of sweet times spent with relatives there. We were looking forward to discovering places with Mom. We knew there would be lots of ‘Fancy Nancy’ shops to peruse. And I knew there would be antique shops for me to sift through. They could just find them a bench and sit a spell! And we knew that when things would get silly and she would try to act ‘tough’…she would shake her finger at us and tell us to “behave!” And, she knew good and well we would not stop until it was all played out!

Instead, Mom went on a different journey. A much better journey. To the ultimate vacation destination! Heaven…where cool breezes blow, and the sky is bluer than blue and the clouds are as white as cotton, and the streets are shiny gold. And the sun…why! there is no need for sun there…God, Himself, is the Light. She is not having to sit down and rest a while as she explores the beauty there. And, she is not having to stay within close range of a restroom at all times. Her fingers are not twisted from arthritis, so she can do all she wants to do. Her hips are not aching anymore, so she is able to walk and talk with family and friends and with God.

Oh, I’m sure she is enjoying this trip far better than the one we would have taken her on. But, I’m still a little sad that we did not get to go on our little ‘girl’s trip’. I know we would have had as much fun as we always did. Now, instead of exploring the places she missed in NC…she is seeing the glory of Heaven! And, she can just be our tour guide when we arrive!