As I help my son pack up to leave home until September, I am reminded of a story a friend of mine told me. She is from a large, very close, farming family. Her parents worked extraordinarily hard, as did she and her siblings when they were not at school. Being a typical Irish family of the time, there was only the year between each child, so they grew up very much in each others pockets, sharing clothes, school books and beds.
The time came for my friend to leave the local junior school and the decision was made to send her to boarding school. It was quite a distance away and to say my friend was not impressed was no exaggeration. Kitting her out in uniform, books etc, not to mention finding the fees, was very expensive but her parents managed to find the money and off she went.
My buddy is a very easy, outgoing person, but even after a week she still showed no sign of settling into boarding school life. Each night she would ring and beg her mother to take her home. As he was busy milking the cows, her father kept missing her calls, but was firm when he heard how upset she was, insisting she would settle, ‘Give her time’, he’d say.
One evening, as had become her habit, my tearful friend rang but perhaps accidentally on purpose, her mother failed to hear the phone. Her father picked it up and upon hearing his voice my friend launched into a major wailing attack, which may or may not have included the words, ‘Please Daddy, take me home’.
The call lasted only a few minutes. Having hung up, he picked up the car keys and without major conversation left. Arriving at the boarding school he met with the head nun and explained to her that he was taking his daughter home. Despite the fact it was late evening they packed up and left. A week later she was enrolled in the local school and by all accounts lived happily ever after.
I’m not sure my whistling, humming, excited son is showing any sign at all of reluctance to leave his family tomorrow, but as I remember my friends story I’ll take no chances. I’ll be keeping my phone close, just in case!