By Every Family’s Got One Producer — Kathy Radigan
“So who has had sex today?” the pretty — and a little-too-perky for 10:00 am — tour guide asks.
“And sex with yourself doesn’t count.”
Perhaps a “Sex and the City” bus tour of NYC wasn’t such a great idea for a bonding experience with my 70-year-old mother.
A few weeks earlier, I was given the opportunity to review a company that provided Experience Gifts, and it seemed like the perfect thing to do with my mom.
But now that we were actually on the bus, I had to question my sanity.
When we booked the tour, my Aunt Fran was approaching the final stage of a two-year-battle with breast cancer. My mother had been her sister’s only support and caregiver throughout her illness, and she was burned out. I hated seeing my mom this way and desperately wanted to do something to cheer her up.
Fran loved the idea. The three of us were big fans of the series and had seen both movies together. She was excited for us and looked forward to hearing all about our adventure.
Unfortunately, she lost her battle two weeks before we went on the tour. My mother and I missed her horribly, but we were determined to stick to our plan. We knew it was something Fran would have wanted us to do.
Of course, when I booked the tour, all I thought of was cheering up my mom and making sure it was the week my husband was on vacation, so he could be with the kids while mom and I had some girl time.
I wasn’t thinking about all the sex they had in the city.
My mom and I crack up. We’re adults; we could handle this.
Perky Lindsey pointed out relevant sites from the show as the bus passed them. But it was hard for me not to think about my aunt. It had only been two months ago that the two of us were watching an episode in my mother’s living room.
Fran was weak and lying on the floral couch. I tried my best to act like it was normal for her to be here and not in the house she had lived in for over 50 years.
She had kept her dancers body even in her 70s. But two years of fighting a terminal illness with surgeries and chemo, her once gorgeous form had been ravaged. Thankfully her mind was not dulled by the pain medication. We laughed at the outrageous exploits of Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte.
Fran was a choreographer, director, and teacher. She taught me to eat with chopsticks, stop using the word can’t, and encouraged me to follow my dream of being a performer.
She was the first person I ever knew who was divorced.
As I hit my misunderstood-by-my-parents teen years, my aunt’s house was my refuge. We would sit on her beige sectional, and she’d tell me of some of her dating adventures. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.
I never knew if she thought I sold out when at 23 I left my dream of the stage for the safety of a job that paid the bills. Even though I loved my life as a married, minivan-driving mom to three, I never had the courage to ask her what she thought of the life I chose.
I was brought back to reality when I heard Lindsey’s voice announce our first stop of the day.
We were going to visit an upscale sex shop.
Lindsey explained that we would have about 20 minutes to shop and suggests a few things to buy. We even get a special tour discount.
I have entered the third circle of hell.
My mother and I exchange a look and just crack up.
“Well, I guess I should take pictures for the review.”
Now I have nothing against a store like this. Who knows, If I had been with some girlfriends or Fran, I might have shocked all who know me and even bought something for fun. But with my mom? I don’t think so.
I was extremely relieved to find out that though I could photograph the outside of the store, no photos were allowed inside. Thank the Lord. I was safe.
I didn’t have to go inside a sex shop with my mother.
Done with my picture taking, I turn around and… no mom.
Oh Lord in heaven please tell me my mom did not go in that store. I didn’t realize I actually said those words out loud. But I did.
I smiled at the people on the street who were laughing at me. Then I took a deep breath and started to go into the store.
Then I heard my name.
It was my mother, who was hysterically laughing with a group of women from the tour. They were standing by the bus deciding to forgo the shopping adventure.
My mom and I couldn’t stop laughing. Until we both had the same thought, “we have to call Fran and tell her this.”
Though we never put one toe into that store, this day will now and forever be known as the day I took my mother to a sex shop and lived to tell about it.
This piece was originally published on My Dishwasher’s Possessed!