My new year begins with a challenge.

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 photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/74576795@N05/6927624731">Waiting on a train......</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>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!

photo credit: Waiting on a train…… via photopin (license)

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36 thoughts on “My new year begins with a challenge.

  1. I love your friend’s story, Tric, particularly that Dad needed only to hear his daughter’s voice to jump into action.
    It’s an exciting time for your son (heart-wrenching for you) and all so inevitable. I was just saying to hubs last night ( as the older kids went gallivanting) that I wish they would all just stay home where I could keep them safe. :/ His response was to remind me of my own gallivantings back in the day and that the kids have a good head on their shoulders. Very pragmatic. But he’d be there for them in a shot too if needed.
    What can we do but keep the phone charged and nearby and hope that the raising sees them through?
    All the best, Tric, for the New Year for you and your family. May the weans use their heads and we keep ours. 🙂

    1. Thank you. I was wailing to myself today wondering how it is that we actually only get our children completely in our lives for such a short time and it’s over before we know it. However I do remember my own time away and have always been grateful to my mum for being so brave as she waved me off.
      I’ve always loved this story of my friend. I think it speaks volumes for a lot of fathers.

  2. You should definitely get your phone ready and maybe even keep your car keys by the door. I’m sure he’ll be fine, but it can’t hurt to be prepared. (I must admit, in the same situation, part of me might secretly by quite pleased if one of my sons missed home so much he wanted to come back.)

    1. I remember leaving Ireland for Australia and my mum was so brave (or maybe glad to be rid of me?). I’m determined to do likewise but I’m not sure I’ll be successful.
      He’s told me a million times that he is not coming back for a visit so I’m fairly sure he’ll barely miss us at all but in my heart I’m insisting he will. We’ll go to visit him I’m sure at some stage, just to remind him we exist.

  3. Love this. There is something about the ability of a daughter to get her Daddy to do anything she wants….sometimes with even just a little whisper.
    Happy New Year!

    1. I agree, despite what they might say before their daughter speaks with them. It’s a great story. I hope you had a good Christmas or holiday? I was delighted to see you in touch.

      1. Christmas was the usual gong show here. I love it for the kids, but am so glad it’s over for me. I miss the blogosphere……and a few of my “fans” have been getting on me to write again. Lovely to read your stories as always. Happy New Year. xx

  4. Sometimes I worry that I’m so busy being brave about people leaving (in my case, a sister going to Australia) that I’m in danger of leading them to believe that I won’t miss them at all!
    Love the story about your friend. And best of luck with wishing your son off. And thank goodness for the staying-in-touch facilities of the internet!

    1. I’m a real cryer and to leave was a huge challenge but my mum not making it any harder was wonderful and I’ll always be grateful. I’d not worry about your sister not knowing, I saw my mums sadness in her eyes. Australia is fantastic, I hope your sister enjoys it half as much as I did.
      As for staying in touch via internet I’m not overly hopeful. He’s not great in that department. I gave out to him once for not texting me when he was away at college. I texted him on a Monday night and again on Wednesday night. He replied on Thursday night, not answering the original question but telling me he was very busy. When he came home I once again gave out to him and he replied accusing me of ‘stalking him!’.
      I have however warned him I’ll ring him regularly if he doesn’t keep in contact. I think that scared him. 🙂

  5. What a wonderful Dad! Yes, as parents, we are always attached to our phones, waiting to be needed. We know it’s better if we’re NOT called, but we’re there, just in case.

  6. Awww. What a cute story and so lovely that the family honored your friend’s need to be home. We raise our kids in our homes with ourselves as mirrors, yet they turn out to be their own people, don’t they? Let your son soar, but of course, keep the phone handy 🙂

  7. It’s easy to ignore a child or be strict with them when you’re hearing their unhappiness or discontent second-hand isn’t it? The minute you hear it for yourself you cave! Interesting story and I wish your boy the very best. xx

    1. Thank you. Yes. It reminded me of my resolve by day years ago not to cave in when they were crying. Great plan until it came to the night and I saw how upset they were.

  8. and go out and milk the cows as needed. i love that the dad responded to his daughter’s voice – that’s like a moth to the flame, irresistible.

    1. I don’t imagine my boy will be overly tearful. I on the other hand am a disaster all day today. He left this morning and I gave an oscar winning goodbye. I have barely stopped crying since!

  9. Two words for ya, Tric: Western Union *Mutley laugh*

    Seriously, besta luck to your baby boy. They’re always their mother’s baby boys, aren’t they. Or is that just the other 98 per cent of Irish Mammies?

    And nice one right in the back of the net against boarding school *crowd cheers ecstatically*

  10. Tric, you remind me of the big day when I bade family and home goodbye to go away to College – the nest was now empty.

    Imagine my startled parent’s faces at tea time that same evening when I re-appeared having got the train home( to Drogheda). I announced: ‘I think I have to take this by degrees.’
    So assume nothing!

  11. Ah, Tric, it takes courage to let them go (Mine went off to faraway Ireland!) but take heart in knowing that they always do come back, at least in their hearts. My “let me go!” child is the one who now lives the closest to us!

    1. Your comment gave me great heart. We really don’t know do we? I didn’t realise yours came here. Today is hopefully the worst day. If so I look forward to tomorrow.

  12. I was so worried when my eldest decided to cross the ocean to go to school at Edinburgh. But I bought her a webcam and we’ve spoken most days since (even though she’s back in the States and now I’m the one living in Scotland.) Now she has a little girl of her own and it’s so much fun to see that it’s her turn to be the one who worries!

    1. It really is a natural progression for them to leave home but wow it’s hard. It must have been so much harder pre internet. I don’t want to even imagine it.

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