Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bon Voyage, Mon Fils!

My youngest son just returned home from his sophomore year at Notre Dame on Sunday. And last night (after having him home for a whole day and a half or so--just enough time to fix him one specially requested home-cooked dinner, including his favorite gourmet dish: Stovetop stuffing and chicken casserole), my husband and I dropped him off at the airport, where he got on board a flight to Paris to spend the next six weeks doing a university-sponsored internship.

I am not good at good-byes.  (Understatement of the century, there.)

See the evidence of this is in Exhibit A, the first photo I had my husband snap of me with my baby boy shortly before he left me to go through the security line.
Keep it together, Mom.  Keep it together.  (I wonder if you can tell from the picture that I've been crying?)

But before you judge me, didn't any of you see the movie Taken?  Don't you know what happens to naive young Americans when they're unleashed, sans parents, on the streets of Paris?

Of course, my son is not a flighty teenaged girl, like Liam Neeson's screen daughter in that nail-biter of a film.  He's a 6'2", fit, Army-strong young man of 20, and he was more mature at 10 than I've ever been in my life.  He'll be just fine.  (He will, and I know that--despite the tears.)  But boy, am I going to miss that kid.

I had to try to pull myself together, stop thinking of all the things that could go wrong (What if he loses his passport?!  What if someone picks his pocket or steals his iPhone?!  What if he's allergic to something we aren't aware of--remember those bananas?!), and be happy for him.  What a unique opportunity this is for him!  What fun he's going to have!  This was no time for tears!

I wanted another picture--one where it didn't look like I was saying my last good-byes before my son was sent to the guillotine.  So I give you Exhibit B.  (Much better, don't you agree?)
My husband was able to go through security with our boy--using his airline employee I.D.--and walk with him to his gate.  I waited on the outside, watching and waving until I couldn't see them anymore.  (Then I proceeded to soak through a wad of tissues.)  When my husband met me afterward, he said our son was concerned about me and asked him, "Is Mom going to be okay?"  My poor kids: it's like they're the parents these days and I'm the child!

On our way home from the airport, I clicked on the Facebook icon on my iPhone, and I was tickled to see my son had already taken what he called "an obnoxious tourist-style selfie" on the airplane and posted it.  That made me smile.  When we got home, I absent-mindedly turned on the T.V. and scrolled through the guide, and--I kid you not here--Taken was on T.V.!  How ironic.

Last night was a rough one for this mommy.  But this morning, my husband and I awoke to the comforting "bloop-blooping" sounds of text messages coming through on our iPhones, and we got the word that our son had landed, met up with his host and the other interns, and they were all at the market.  It looks like he's already settling right in, living la vie francaise.

He'll be fine, he will (although he'll miss my exquisite home-cooking--I don't think French cuisine relies heavily on Stovetop stuffing).  And hopefully I'll be fine, too.


  1. 6 weeks will fly by, I'm sure! :)

    1. I know...and he's going to have a great time! I really am happy he got this great opportunity.

  2. It's hard to let them go even when we know it's for a good reason. But they come back :)

    1. I know, and thank goodness!

      I'm just trying to adjust to the reality that even my baby will soon be totally on his own. It wasn't that long ago that it was hard for me to even imagine that day would ever come!