Welcome, mom!
July 30, 2009 6:58 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a fun, cheap, highly-visible way to welcome my mom when she arrives at the airport and make her first night and day at my new place relaxed and comfortable.


- I live in Poland, she lives in California.
- It'll be around 10:30 at night when we meet.
- She will be crazy jetlagged.
- There will only be her flight arriving at that time of night so the airport will be quite quiet.
- She'll have just had her first Ryanair experience.
- She's pretty low-maintenance and happy to roll with whatever-may-come.
- She's not incapacitated in any way.
- She'll probably want a cigarette or two.
- I live less than 10 minutes from the airport. I'll arrive at the airport by bus and we'll go home via taxi.
- Going out for food is probably not an option - it's not a very big city, and things shut early. She eats everything.
- I speak Polish, she doesn't.
- I cook pretty well and will be home for the entire day before she arrives.

Actual questions:

1) How should I welcome her when she first sees me? A huge sign? A bunch of flowers? A bunch of balloons would be tricky on the bus, as would a non-foldable/rolled sign.

2) What foods are great when you first land and you've been eating airport food for twenty hours? What should I have in the house for her? A big salad? A roast chicken? A few bottles of wine? Candles?

Shower me with your ideas: how did the people meeting you at the airport make you feel great? What was your first night like at their place?
posted by mdonley to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
A big smile, a big hug, and a big, "I love you, Mom!"
posted by xingcat at 7:02 AM on July 30, 2009

You might find some ideas here.
posted by KathyK at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2009

I love coming home to soup. Big pot of soup ready on the stove. Get some nice sourdough bread. Yummy and nourishing and not too heavy if she feels like napping soon after eating.

Hope you have a nice time!
posted by Tapioca at 7:25 AM on July 30, 2009

The thing you can almost never get while traveling is good, fresh vegetables. Have some of that with your comfort food - it will make her feel better, not only that night, but healthy food will help her enjoy her trip more :) Older people have to care about this kind of thing more, too, whether they say so or not.

Also, flowers are very nice, but if you take whatever steps are necessary to get her from the airport to your place as quickly and easily as possible -- bonus.

Massage ASAP? Super bonus.
posted by amtho at 7:41 AM on July 30, 2009

My mom once welcomed me at the airport with a "Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands" sign, but that might just be our weird sense of humor.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:48 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Put together a small welcome kit that she can use when she gets to your house. Get a small basket, fill it with a bottle of water, rolled up towel and wash cloth, little bar of soap, toothbrush, (any other toiletries you think she could use), and a map of the city. I'd say throw in a local magazine but if she can't speak Polish that may not work.
posted by jmmpangaea at 7:59 AM on July 30, 2009

- She'll probably want a cigarette or two.

She will definitely want a cigarette or two. Whatever else you do, scout out the quickest way to get her to someplace she can light up. Bring some matches in case she forgot and they took her lighter from her.
posted by trip and a half at 8:01 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I met my parents at the Paris airport with a bottle of orange juice and a bag of croissants and carried as much of their luggage as possible. Long flights leave you dehydrated, tired, and cranky. A good bed with clean sheets and good curtains in the room - unless she wants to deal with her jet lag immediately - and a shower are probably the best things in the world you can offer.

A non-helium balloon on a stick/umbrella would be highly transportable.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:10 AM on July 30, 2009

Oh, and my favorite welcome ever after a longass international flight was when my friends showed up to meet me wearing funny costumes. The success of that of course would depend on you and your mom's senses of humor and your comfort level with that idea.
posted by trip and a half at 8:17 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

First of all, this is very thoughtful of you. Well done!

Second, the brain fog created by transatlantic flights can be pretty overwhelming. Shepherding her to a taxi is a great idea. I would also arrange things so that she doesn't need to make any decisions about anything until she's had a good long sleep. I'd stock some food you know she likes, for both dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. jmmpangaea's welcome kit is a really good idea, so she doesn't have to dig through luggage the first night.

Welcome signs are lovely and heartwarming, but don't give her anything she'd have to carry.
posted by Eumachia L F at 8:22 AM on July 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

She'll arrive dehydrated, I'd have a drink of her favorite whatever handy when you come to get her. I always want something non-carbonated and cold but juice is usually a good option. I always LOVE to have a beer when I get to where I'm going, glass of wine may serve the same purpose here.

I'd skip the flowers/balloons and have a nice amusing sign saying something sweet "Welcome MOM I'm so glad you're here!" or something. Have her sit/smoke while you get her bags, if at all possible. Have her carry the minimum possible and don't do too much tour guiding on the way back to the apartment. I'd have her bed made up with a little basket of toiletries as jmmpangaea suggests. She may be all wired from the trip, she may just want to collapse. Have a plan for some very low-key together time (eating some food while talking about your day, not "Oh hey so what do you want to do tomorrow?"). I'd have some local tasty stuff, both sustenance (soup sounds good) as well as some snacks/treats for the morning. If she is a coffee drinker, get some of the nicest coffee you can get (this was my biggest challenge in Romania when my Mom came to visit) and have it making for her when she's starting to get up in the morning.

She may just want to get someplace where there aren't people around, even you her beloved son, so give her an option to head off to bathroom/bed early maybe leave a magazine or book that might be interesting in the room where she's sleeping. I hope you have a nice visit.
posted by jessamyn at 8:43 AM on July 30, 2009

As a smoker - definitely scout out a quick exit, and a good spot with a bench if you can find one. I need a cup of coffee or a soda to wash down that awful first cigarette after a long break, so maybe you could take a cold can or a thermos flask with you. If you want to be truly excellent, equip yourself with a lighter and a pack of your mother's brand - just in case the worst has happened (Run Out At Last Stopover Horror)

I always feel dreadfully sticky and bleh after a long flight, and don't want to sit down to eat or talk or do anything until I've had a hot shower, so maybe you could prepare that for her? Everything laid on, and a nice robe, even a clean pair of PJ's, so that she doesn't have to even think about opening a suitcase. You probably know or can find out a few details, like what shampoo/conditioner, brand of toothpaste, face creams she uses, and surprise her. And then, the soup and fresh bread that has been suggested sounds great.

I would focus on having an AWESOME breakfast the next morning (when hopefully she's been able to sleep), rather than a fancy spread that night.

My most successful airport greeting was in costume, (I met a flatmate returning home from an arduous journey dressed as a kinky chauffeur; fishnets, tall boots, hotpants and cap. This is probably not appropriate for your situation), the effort was appreciated hugely, but be aware that you may have to wait a long time in costume for a delayed flight, and people don't have much else to look at in airports.

Give yourself heaps of time to get there via bus.
I wouldn't take flowers to the airport, but a nice bunch waiting in her room would be lovely!
posted by Catch at 3:17 PM on July 30, 2009

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