Bon Voyage

Okay, this is a serious question: How does a mom-of-one deal with her son flying off to foreign soil and being out of touch for five days??

Yep, you guessed it — Domer’s on his way to Dublin, Ireland, for the Notre Dame v. Navy football game on Saturday, Sept. 1.

I’m ecstatic for him. He’s never been outside of the U.S., and being of Irish descent means this is a trip back to the motherland, of sorts.

But he’s going to be gone for FIVE DAYS!

“Ireland isn’t the end of the world,” he told me before he left. “We’ll be fine.”

But can’t you at least call or text me, to let me know you’ve arrived, I asked.

“International calls and texts are expensive,” he said.

Then how about e-mailing me when you get to the hotel, I suggested. If you get time.

“If I get time,” he agreed. “We’re going to be pretty busy, and our schedule is full.”

I know, I know. Just try.

Here’s the thing. I haven’t been a helicopter mom. Really.

I haven’t “smothercated” him with suggestions. Or advice.

I’ve done my best to ground him in the basics and gradually step aside so he can take tentative steps away. On his own path. Toward his own future.

But I’m just not ready to turn him loose completely. Is any mother ever ready for that?

My own mom would love having her “baby biddies” nearby, and we’ve been “adults” for a couple of decades now.

Domer’s 21. Legally an adult. He’s also got a sensible, level head on his shoulders.

And he’s thrilled at being selected to represent his university like this, playing his horn and cheering for his team.

The Irish are “coming home” to Ireland!

This is BIG. A never-before occurrence.

So I’ll do the only thing I know to do — put him in the hand of a loving God and pray Bon Voyage.

Or, in Irish, Go dté tú slán (May you go safely).

29 thoughts on “Bon Voyage

  1. How awesome for him! I’m not the one to ask about how you handle him being away for five days….I haven’t even released my kids for sleepovers with friends 🙂

    All you can do is trust in everything you have have instilled in him and pray for his safety…or find the hotel he’s at and call him every night when it’s bedtime so you’ll know he’ll be there!

    • I’m glad we’re past the sleepover-stage, Janna. Fortunately, Domer didn’t get into that when he was your sons’ ages, so without reciprocity, he didn’t have to go to other houses! And since they’re bunking the Band six to a room, I dare not call him, especially at bedtime!! Thanks for the suggestion, though.

  2. I’ve done my best to ground him in the basics and gradually step aside so he can take tentative steps away. On his own path. Toward his own future.

    How exciting! It sounds like the future is now!

    You’re a loving mom who has raised a young man of excellent character and that young man is telling you he’s ready.

    Trust in those things.

    I know it’s hard, boy, do I know, but you can do this. . .and so can he.
    Watch the sunrise and/or the sunset. Make some jewelry. Go for a walk/hike/jog/bike ride/all of the above. Work on a jigsaw puzzle. Bake some bread. Call a friend. Take a bubble bath. Turn the music up and dance. Treat yourself to a movie or a play or a concert. Make some lasagna (it’s an all day event and after you eat it you’ll want to sleep — so that’s 1/5th of your time knocked out right there!). . . .

    Hang in there!

    • Words of Wisdom from a mom who’s trod this path before me — I can’t begin to thank you for the suggestions! Fortunately I’m up to my ears in a major Web project right now, so keeping busy won’t be a problem. It’s the nights that are rough — you know, when my writer’s imagination starts working overtime! Too bad I haven’t found a way to “busy” myself night and day!!

        • 3 a.m., huh? Well, that’s not my best time slot. I tend to be a morning person now that I’m out of college and working. How about you going for it, though? I’ll be eager for your report — and perhaps I can get you to ship me a sample???

  3. You’ve taught him how to be independent and responsive to life. Now, it’s time for him to go practice those skills. It never hurts us “big people” to practice them, either. 😉

    • You are SOOOO right! “Big people” need to practice those skills, too. Somehow, it was easier being the one who left, rather than the one left behind! Nevertheless, I keep reminding myself it’s not like he’s alone, nor is he a little kid who needs to hold my hand to cross streets. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. YAY YAY YAY. Happy Dance. I did not want to ask…
    How would I handle it? I would insist on a phone call, e-mail, or text. I’m not a helicopter Mom..I love, support and pay for my kids adventures…I have always said, “GO, HAVE FUN, and I need to hear from you a couple of times.” And I make sure my kid knows….It’s not a good idea to tick off your sponsor. Something every business major needs to learn. It’s not only checking in–it’s also about sharing the excitement and fun. Nobody cared more that he made it on this trip than you did. . .or would have lived his disappointment more deeply if it hadn’t happened….
    A phone call saying he is safe, sound, having a great time and wished you were their (ok skip that part) takes too much time? REALLY? So does providing him with the changed internet key the next time he is in town….Just sayin’
    ♥ You’ll be fine. However that is not the point, in my opinion.

  5. Thanks for sharing in my (and Domer’s) happy dance! The “mom” in me wants to do exactly as you suggest — insist on being contacted, somehow, some way, at any time. But I know he’ll contact me when/if he can. And for sure, he’ll wear my ears out with descriptions afterward! I’ll be fine — I have plenty to occupy my mind and time — but there’s a great big hole in my heart, knowing he’s so far away and so long out of reach! It’s too bad university bands don’t want or need parent chaperones, haha!

    • So long out of reach? Five days? My goodness! When I left to work in Liberia, my folks and I knew it would be a once a month phone call, sent by HAM radio and patched through by someone in the States. There was no internet. There weren’t even computers. Mail was sent the old fashioned way, and took two weeks to get to Liberia. Then, it waited in Monrovia until someone drove down, picked it up and brought it back up country. I was gone for four years.

      I feel very strongly about this partly because my mother never was able to turn loose. When she was 90 and I was 60 or so, she was so insistent that I not go on a vacation she stopped speaking to me. If I didn’t always call her when I did go away, even overnight, there was hell to pay.

      The result? I loved my mother, cared for her in her own home for 15 years and grieved when she died. But when I went on my first trip after her death? I was so glad I finally was free of the tether. Just sayin’.

  6. There’s nothing quite like the voice of experience when it comes to presenting another point of view. Thanks for sharing your story. My parents, too, were “tetherers,” and no way would they have permitted either of us kids to work four years in Liberia. Somehow, some way, they’d have put a stop to it — even if it necessitated calling our boss and getting us fired. I’m serious.
    So I know what it’s like to be smothered. Perhaps that’s one reason I never wanted my son to go through that. Still, ever since he’s been away at college, he’s touched base every few days at least (text, e-mail, call, etc.), and being out of contact this long is hard. Of course, it’s easier nowadays than in the past, what with instant communication and all!

  7. Oh Deb, you’ve captured the essence of a Mom sending her babe out into the world. You’ve given him the roots he needs to fly with his own wings. What an exhilarating, scary and healthy thing. As bittersweet as it is, it will get easier. What a fantastic opportunity for him but I truly understand how you feel- you’ll be happy to see the whites of his eyes when he returns home. Wishing Domer a safe and memorable journey and you, the peace of knowing you’ve done your job!

    • What sweet, sensitive thoughts, Kathy — thank you! I expect this will be a most memorable trip for him, especially as he gets to enjoy it with his friends. For me? Well, let’s just say I’m handling it as best as possible. It gets easier, huh? Sure hope so!

  8. Very cool. He’s with the band, they’ll all look after one another and come back with great stories. It’s so hard when you can’t get it right from him when it happens, isn’t it?

    • It’s a bit like coming into a movie theater when the credits are rolling! If I could’ve found a way to smuggle myself onto the plane, I’d be there as the action unfolds!

  9. Take a deep breath and imagine him having all kinds of safe fun, great experiences and stepping into the man he’s becoming. He’ll be just fine, Mom, he’ll be just fine. So will you.

  10. Okay, my daughter is also 21 and went abroad alone for the first time this summer, spending 6 weeks in Barcelona. A 9 hour time difference, making it very hard to communicate. You can communicate for free, cell phone to cell phone, via Skype. You can also talk for free via computers or computer to cell. You can also email. In other words, there are ways to communicate without costing anything. So remind him that you’re his mother and mothers worry no matter what. I would also tell him, 30 seconds for one email, to let you know he arrived, is not optional. After raising him for all these years, 30 seconds won’t hurt anyone and will mean all the world to you.

    As for going away to Ireland, well, it’s only 5 days. It’ll be over before you know it! 🙂

    • You’re right, Monica. I hadn’t realized your daughter is Domer’s age, though I knew she was in Spain this summer. One of Domer’s former roommates was in Greece one semester last year; another was in Singapore. Their parents — and you! — handled their kids’ absence, so that gives me hope. And it’s not like I won’t get to see him on TV during the game (if I can pick him out, haha!)

  11. What an outstanding, rich opportunity for him, Deb.
    As a mama, I understand how difficult it is. I remember the first time my son
    went away. He was just going 6 hours away!
    I was freaked out. I didn’t know what to do. I grabbed his hand and just PRAYED))))

    Love to you, Dear. can’t wait to hear about his trip. I LOVE the Irish & the Brits!

  12. Debbie, what a wonderful opportunity for Domer! Think of the memories he’ll have! Oh, the excitement to go abroad on your first trip! And what an honor to have been chosen by his university. I think all mothers can relate to your feelings of angst, my friend. It’s normal for us to feel this way. The Son flew solo for the first time when he was 17. Ironically, we were in the States at the time and he was flying to Europe to spend Christmas with his friends. I felt the same way you did. We did manage to keep in touch via telephone and email but there were days when I didn’t hear a peep from him. On those days, it was hard to fall asleep when night came. And again, I did what you did. I entrusted God with his care and prayed to his guardian angel so he would be kept safe. You can imagine my relief when he finally made it home! I hope Domer had a wonderful time on his trip! 🙂

    • He absolutely did, Bella! Thanks for empathizing with me — I know your son had a wonderful time, too. Seventeen — so young, but at least you heard from him now and then. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t believe in God and Domer’s guardian angel!!

  13. Pingback: Traveling Abroad (One) — May, 2013 | Musings by an ND Domer's Mom

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