Today is a day I have been dreading. It’s the day I say “goodbye” with tears in my eyes but a heart bursting with pride. My eldest son is going to work for six months on a cruise as a singer and performer.
He is 24 years old and has left home before, but like a boomerang he keeps coming back!
He spent a year living in Guildford when at college, but it is not far from where we live so he often popped home for a meal, to bring his dirty washing or to see friends. He wasn’t great with phone calls home, he is a boy after all, and we obviously didn’t get him to watch the film ET enough, but we still saw him regularly.
He left home last Christmas for Panto season, but that was short and sweet, unlike him who is extremely tall, inwardly sensitive, but with an outward persona that likes to appear ‘hard’. ( The fanatical football supporter shouting obscenities doesn’t always match with the powerful opera singing young man. It may cause inner battles, but we love them both.)
We went up to see him as Prince Charming in Grantham and he came home in the middle for Christmas. When he left then, I was emotional as it was up North and seemed far away, but Panto was weeks not months and up north is at least the UK, not the Mediterranean!
Six months abroad at sea seems a different kettle of fish, and I’m inwardly struggling big time with the thought of months!
It is half a year of not seeing him, of not giving him a kIss or hug, of not having a proper chat, of not hearing him sing and of trying not to worry how he is. He can’t pop home when he feels like it and we can’t pop over to see him when we feel like it.
It is of course six months of less mess, less expense, less washing, less towels hanging over the bannister and less disappearing crockery! I should be jumping for joy, but as a mum you get irritated, will occasionally ‘nag’, but put up with it, because deep down you love just having them around.
Why do I worry when at aged 24 he is old enough to look after himself?
I worry because he has a kidney condition he likes to ignore, I worry because common sense does not always come naturally to him, I worry because he can sleep through the loudest alarm, I worry because he hasn’t been too well recently, I worry because he Is a deep and sensitive soul and because of what a headteacher once told me she thought he might do at aged 6, (yes headteacher, that ill informed comment has stayed and worried ME for all of his life even though I spoke to medics at the time who said his behaviour was perfectly natural due to circumstances at the time.) I worry that he does not always look after himself properly and I worry because I am his mum and I love him with all my heart.
I know that for him it will be a wonderful experience doing what he does best. He will get to see the world and earn good money. He will be independent, be able to pay back some huge debts including ones to us and get himself back on track. It will be a fresh start which he needs and he will gain confidence in performing and singing to bigger and more exclusive audiences. The cruise ship he is on is a six star boat and one we could never afford even at friends and family prices.
‘I know I must be strong’ says me with tears rolling down my cheeks, there are plenty of people who go for longer without seeing partners and children for so many reasons not always positive, and six months in a lifetime is nothing, but why oh why does motherhood make one such an emotional wreck?
A friend who’s daughter has gone away for a similar time says she was the same as me when she went away, but says time goes quicker than you think. I don’t however, want to wish my life away!
The blessing of modern daly life is the wonderful world of technology, which despite its faults, means we can at least FaceTime, Skype and message him through social media. Maybe we will even find enough money to meet up in Barcelona in the Summer when he is docked.
As I wave him off goodbye and wish him lots of luck and love I want him to know how very proud we are of him and his talent. I know he is apprehensive, but hope he will be happy and experience many wonderful new adventures as he goes on his next career journey.
Just remember homesick or not those surely unforgettable words of ET ” Phone Home!”
It’s happening again tears in my eyes and a heart bursting with pride . . .
Honestly Fiona xxx