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).

Me and My Shadow

The Band of the Fighting Irish is going to Dublin, Ireland, for Notre Dame’s first football game this fall!

That’s the good news. Those, like My Favorite Domer, who early on expressed interest in going, have already acquired their passports and paid their fees.

The bad news is, not everybody can go. With close to 400 members, it’s no wonder. The logistics of transporting them, not to mention the costs, are practically unthinkable, and the incoming freshmen won’t even have learned the marching style or participated in one game.

So how will the directors pick and choose?

Auditions, naturally.

Domer has taken to heart their advice to keep his chops in good working order by practicing. Daily.

After work he gets the ole trumpet out and holes up downstairs, where he runs up and down scales, refreshes his memory on various school songs, and starts learning the new music designed to impress the overseas Irish (and any alumni lucky enough to snag a ticket!).

Practice isn’t a lonely time, though. Far from it.

My trusty Sheltie, it seems, has a phenomenal ear when it comes to music.

Who would have thought??

So when Domer brings out the trumpet, no matter where in the house the Sheltie is, he makes a beeline toward the practice room. And while Domer plays, Sheltie sings.

First, he checks out the instrument:

Gotta make sure everything’s okay, Kid

Then, he throws back his head and attempts a few notes:

I am Sheltie — hear me sing!

Then he pauses to think about it for a few minutes:


Just warming up for the high notes, Mom

And finally, he leans way back and howls away:


Matching your tone, Kid — let’s go higher!

Shetland Sheepdogs originated in Scotland — who knows, perhaps this one hears the wail of the pipes in my son’s horn??

Doesn’t matter. He’s at least doing what he’s supposed to, comforting and encouraging “his kid” in something that could be fraught with nerves and fear — another audition.

At least Domer has already made the first cut on the Going-to-Ireland list. But it’s up to him to keep his spot!

Obviously, the Sheltie can’t go with Domer to his audition several weeks down the road, but I suspect he’ll be there in spirit. And Domer will have a hard time playing a note without hearing his trusty sidekick singing along!

Tell me, Does your dog sing?