And so it begins. The struggles of raising a teenager are heart wrenching, frustrating, and just simply aging me. But we press on day to day with love in our hearts. It seems we receive the brunt of their anger and are the main target when they have bad days and sometimes I get tired of being seen as mostly the bad guy. As luck and fortune would have it, my daughter and I were graced with a 24 hour, epic getaway for just the two of us. It was something we both really needed. Life seems to have disconnected us as of late, so this was a chance to hopefully bond and give our mother-daughter relationship that much needed boost.
Written by Marlene Lochkrin
VICTORIA WEEKEND GETAWAY
We woke up to a gorgeous autumn day. The sun was shining and the air was crisp. My daughter, Anika, not knowing much of the plans made or understanding the luxury awaiting her, hopped in my car.
We headed off to downtown Vancouver where I surprised her as we both stood staring at the Helijet. This totally blew her mind. She was laughing nervously yet excited by the idea of such an adventure.
Off we went sitting side by side, in this 10 passenger helicopter. I had forgotten my earplugs but didn’t think it would be that loud. Wow, was I wrong! I rummaged through my bag, desperately seeking anything to help. I saw a pack of gum and thought, “I wonder”. I jammed pieces of gum in each ear. It worked like a charm! It was hilarious and so began our girls trip in high spirits and big smiles.
The views were spectacular! The sky started off a picture perfect blue but we were slowly enveloped into a pillow of dense fog. As we flew into Victoria’s harbour, the fog soon became pea-soup thick. The pilot was taking no chances and so we had to detour to Victoria’s main airport. Soon we were safe on the ground and about to hit it running with all that we had planned for the next 24 hours!
ROYAL BC MUSEUM
EGYPT HERE WE COME! After a 49 minute ride, our cab dropped us off at the Royal BC Museum. We were scheduled to meet our tour guide, Katie, at the front doors. We ran in with full excitement and adrenaline pumping. I threw my suitcase to the security crew who gladly offered to hold it.
Katie was super friendly and escorted us to the entrance of the Egyptian exhibit! This was right up Anika’s alley. For a young lady, she sure loves her history. I guess all those times watching the History Channel instead of cartoons paid off!
At 3:15 pm, our second tour guide, a curator by the name of Alesia, brought us to ‘The Basement’ for a special tour. This got Anika’s imagination revving. Alesia possessed a wealth of knowledge and Anika received it welcomingly. It’s interesting to witness your kid becoming an adult. I enjoyed being the observer as I hung back and let the two of them chat.
The tour was eye opening for the both of us. We saw what few people get to with our special subterranean excursion. Unfortunately, it was time to go. Goodbye Egypt and hello high tea!
THE FAIRMONT EMPRESS
We ran again in pure excitement to check into Victoria’s grandest hotel. Built between 1904 and 1908, it’s a marvel of local Canadian history. Our jaws dropped upon entering and kept dropping as we walked further. The best part was our room! Anika was nervously joyful and giddy like a kid should be. The somber teen angst melted from her. She became that goofy, happy preteen daughter I remember well.
I managed to get a few pictures of our immaculate room before she broke into a Home Alone movie moment. There was jumping and running everywhere. This was awesome! We were happy.
HIGH TEA WITH A CAPITAL T
High Tea! What is that?! Neither of us knew. What we did know was that we had five minutes to throw our dresses on, comb our hair, and get downstairs to the parlour room.
As we entered this grand space, we were awestruck by the architecture. The enormous pillars, high ceilings and sparkling chandeliers were all engaging as the sounds of the grand piano welcomed us. The entire scene heightened our senses, indelibly etching memories for us that we will cherish all of our days.
We were treated like royalty. Anika was even greeted with a Happy Birthday. Wow! She was glowing and kept repeating, “Pinch me.” We were seated by a large fireplace in high back leather chairs.
As we melted into these chairs of luxury, we spent 90 minutes overindulging on sweet and savoury treats and tea. This was decadent and we were feeling very spoiled. The service was impeccable. I highly recommend treating yourself to this Victorian ritual that only the British could have invented.
We walked back to our room rubbing our tummies, swearing off food forever! The pool seemed like a good idea to help digest the 3 tiered tray of delectable delights that we had just engulfed. We found slippers in our room and marched through the hotel lobby in them. It was pretty funny. It warmed my heart to see Anika laughing and saying, “We are not fancy enough folk for this!”
We wandered the hallways, feeling like elite guests in our fancy slippers. After a few wrong turns and wrong floors, we found the level to where the pool was waiting for us. Of course, Anika’s bathing suit broke in the changing room which sent her into a teenage spin! Luckily I managed to find a way to fix it. Phew!
This was not just a pool but an opulent, high end recreation centre. I filmed Anika’s reaction upon entering so we could watch it again later. To see her so impressed with our luxury hotel experience was such a welcome change from her more recent teenage demeanour. The room was massive with high ceilings and stonewalls. The hot tub was beautiful and there was a grotto that beckoned us to spend time being close and comfortable with each other. We were in Heaven!
THANKS AGAIN HELIJET!
Later that evening and the morning after included a few more adventures, including our delayed trip home due to more fog. This resulted in us spending extra time at the Helijet lounge where we were offered a comfy atmosphere to relax in as we were further spoiled with delicious eats and a lovely glass of BC Pinot Noir for myself.
We ended back in Vancouver all smiles and with a twinkle in each other’s eyes. We came back a closer mother and daughter, cherishing this time together. We both knew the trip wasn’t going to last forever, but the memories will. Till next time…
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: So what were some of your favourite moments on this weekend excursion?
MARLENE – I would say funnily enough, that for me, our time at the pool stands out as a very special moment we had together. Who would have thought a pool could be so therapeutic? We had zero distractions as we just floated around for well over an hour. Anika asked me a lot of questions about my childhood life which opened up an amazing dialogue about where she’s at right now.
ANIKA – Definitely the High Tea. This was my favourite because everything tasted so good and I wished I could just take it all home with me. There was this huge tea menu. The tea was offered to us in a glass case with so many different kinds that we could choose from. You usually choose two teas per serving. I chose this blue tea that everyone was recommending. It tasted like marshmallows. There was also a three layered tray that was served to us from the bottom to the top. On the bottom, there were scones. In the middle were savoury choices, like cucumber sandwiches and a tasty shrimp and sauce, and on the top is where all the sweets were. It was all so delicious. I had one of each.
MARLENE – Another special memory took place in our room at bedtime. We had twin queen sized beds but of course, after a short stretch under her own covers, Anika crawled into my bed and we cuddled the whole night through. What more could a mom ask for? I had my little girl back in my arms, even if just for this one night.
ANIKA – Our room, it was insane! Actually, every single room in this place was like, am I really here? Everything was so big. There were like these huge beds and the bathroom was huge too. There was even candy waiting for me when we arrived!
MARLENE & ANIKA – There were some funny moments too. Like when we went back to the room and discovered our previously strewn clothes had been folded and our beds remade. The hilarious part was that this actually included the folding of our underwear. We were absolutely humiliated but eventually laughed so hard, thinking about what the poor cleaning service had just done! As we laughed together, we had a magical moment where Anika and I felt like mother, daughter and friends.
MARLENE – Then there was a different type of bonding moment on the Helijet. It happened twenty minutes into our helicopter ride to Victoria. We both became hypnotized and then slightly panicky as we witnessed ominous clouds up ahead. Anika grabbed her phone and began writing me messages as we couldn’t talk due to the engine noise. I responded by writing pure, dark humour. Anika stared back at me with her eyes bugged out. We both laughed and I was happy she got my humour. In that moment, we held hands, laughing as we ventured into dark skies, but with light hearts.
ANIKA – At the museum. It was really cool going behind the scenes and seeing everything. It’s really interesting how a place like that operates and to see all the different things they have worked on already, or are currently working on. It was just so cool to see. They had these skeletons that they were assembling and wine glasses with red wax to look like wine. They also had all these Halloween themed things they hadn’t even put out yet and we got to see them before the public did! That’s because we were invited to visit the 14th floor which is actually the 13th floor. Here we got to see a lot of things that were preserved. They had all these locusts in a jar. There’s like tons of them and these things are like, terrifying.
The Egypt exhibit was also super cool. We went into this huge pyramid structure and then we found out that they had actually built it by hand! They made molds and then constructed them and it was huge. Like this enormous pyramid we could walk through. They told us about their many interesting artifacts from Egypt and about other upcoming things too and how they work. Also, how they ship them from one museum to another, and then another. They also explained how they were expecting new stuff that hadn’t even left it’s indigenous home yet which was cool to learn about. My favourite part of this exhibit was probably how they actually had the layouts from what these people had actually lived in. They even had real coffins on site but they had no mummies inside. They explained their reasons for this was because respecting people and their cultures was very important to the museum.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: Now that your first story is said and done, what else can we look forward to in future stories?
MARLENE: The closeness that I needed with my daughter is what really drew me into this and I’m excited to keep sharing more of these experiences with other moms and daughters. I love the name of my column, In My Daughter’s Eyes. It’s like a very treasurable saying. It’s a very kind and soft way for me to balance the departure of a mother’s hold on her daughter with her getting older. It just sorts of brings back a childhood warm feeling for me. There’s a selfishness to this and a giving part to this. The part where I get to do something with my daughter of course is the selfish part because I need to find those tender loving moments that I’m just not getting anymore and then there’s the part where I say, God, I hope my daughter is getting a feeling from this too. Maybe not quite as much as I am today. The reflection might linger when she’s in her 20’s or 30’s. When she reflects back and says, oh yeah, my mom and I did this and we had so much fun and we laughed together.
There is a third part to this that I felt when I was wrapping up my time with Anika last weekend. All moms have to do this with their kids – and dads too. i know that everybody can’t do it on the same level that we’re doing it on. Maybe you can save up for an annual special outing of some sort. Even if you just go out for the afternoon on a mom-daughter or mother-son or father-daughter or son date and surprise them by partaking in something they love to do. Just share in their world. Choosing something that’s important to them and sharing it without any interruptions will go a long way and possibly result in them inviting you back into their personal space. I hope these stories remind parents of how important these moments are – and that I might inspire other mothers and even dads, to think about this because life gets too busy. As you read my stories here and what I’m doing with my own daughter and the connections we are creating together, you’ll see that I’m not that different from any of you and neither are our needs – to also stay connected with our coming-of-age kids.
ANIKA: Just generally being with my mom and having these adventures. I mean, it’s just so cool to kind of connect with her in this way. It was nice having this time with just the two of us.
A MESSAGE FROM ANIKA FOR HER PEERS
ANIKA: The reason I chose to visit a museum with my Mom for our first adventure together is because I love history and culture. When I think about what culture means to me, it doesn’t just make up who you are as a person but also it is kind of part of your identity. If you don’t have a culture then you don’t have much of a past. Culture isn’t really much anymore. Culture is now just regurgitated. You see one thing and you’re just like, Wow, that’s so cool. I’m going to do that. And then you see other people – tons of people, and you are like, okay, so they’re wearing that, or they’re wearing that. Before you know it, everyone is wearing the same thing… Culture can mean your ethnicity. It can also mean your own original style. But that’s just kind of my opinion. I would just say, don’t copy whatever you think is trendy. Just be yourself.
THANK YOU AGAIN TO HELIJET, ROYAL BC MUSEUM AND FAIRMONT EMPRESS FOR HOSTING US WITH YOUR AMAZING GENEROSITY AND HOSPITALITY TO CREATE THIS STORY!!!
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