Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bon Voyage


For the past four years when it has been time to send Sonny Boy and his girlfriend back to college, the tradition has been that her parents and two siblings have brought her to our house to start the trip.

There in the front yard, we have hugged them and sent them on their five-hour trip to back their university.

Today, we will all meet on that front lawn for the last time and we will say goodbye again. This time, however, it is not a five-hour journey. It will five-day journey as they travel from California to their new life in Virginia where Sonny Boy will attend graduate school.

What a mixture of emotions this event brings to me.

Needless to say, I am so proud of both of them and so happy they have this opportunity. What an adventure they are about to embark upon!

I want to focus on this happiness, but can I also tell you that there will be a huge lump in my throat, and most probably, tears in my eyes as I say goodbye to them?


That is my boy, grown into a man, driving behind the wheel of that truck. That is the boy I have loved for 23 years. He is the boy I vowed to protect, who ran into my arms when I picked him up from kindergarten. He is the boy who went on walks with me, who questioned me, who challenged me, who has always been close to us, both emotionally and geographically.

And with him is the sweet girl he has been dating for six years, who has been a part of our lives and our family. We love her like a daughter. We’ve baked together, traveled together, shopped together, and watched TV together. I am attached to that girl like nobody’s business. This morning, she’ll climb into the truck alongside our eldest son and together they’ll start their journey.


When I taught Sonny Boy to ride a bike, I remember letting go of that seat and cheering him on as he rode away from me. I remember the pride and excitement I felt knowing he was achieving his goals.

I also remember the little dip in my heart knowing that he couldn’t look back and keep his balance too.

As I stood there, alone in that parking lot, I watched as he got smaller and smaller in my field of vision even as he grew in stature and ability.

I feel as though I am back in that parking lot today.


Their truck is packed up. Their route is mapped out. Early this morning our two families will stand on that lawn once again. We’ll all say our goodbyes, and send them on their journey of 2418 miles.

So, all of you out there along their route, watch carefully in the next few days for a little black truck. It’s loaded to the maximum, not just with desks, computers, books and clothing.

It’s carrying a lot of hopes and dreams.

And also a good-sized piece of my heart.


58 comments:

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Aww...sending out (((HUGS))) to you this morning, Betty. Praying their journey will be safe. Thanks for sharing your heart today. Happy Sunday! ☺

Out on the prairie said...

Lovely thoughts and I hope they have a great trip. Hard to ever cut those strings, my babies are still babies.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I don't like "Good Byes" You must be feeling a wee bit lost.

Have a peaceful Sunday.
Yvonne.

Teresa Evangeline said...

BB, This is so nice. "He couldn't look back and keep his balance," is such a telling phrase - one we can all relate to.

It might be exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

Godspeed to Sonny boy and his girl. Another leg of a wonderful journey.

Gigi said...

I'm tearing up right there with you, Betty. Keeping you all in my thoughts.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And there will be a hedge of protection around that little truck!

Marg said...

What a great tribute to your son's life. Well done. Big hugs to you as they leave. Hope they have a super trip. I am sure you will keep us posted. Take care.

Mamma has spoken said...

Oh I so feel your pain! Hugs, thoughts and a few well needed prayers are headed your way right now. Here's looking forward to when they can come home again to visit!

Old Kitty said...

Awwwww BB!!!! What a wrench!! What a moment!! You are one proud sad mum!! Big big hugs to you!! Congratulations on raising a most wonderful man off to start his own life with his soulmate!! Take care
x

Bouncin' Barb said...

My 29 year old son hasn't forgiven me for moving to SC from CT. I tried to tell him that it doesn't matter where I live, I'll always be there for him. I'm sure you will be teary eyed but it's because of you he will blossom and grow in the big world!! Hugs to you BB.

Eva Gallant said...

All baby birds leave the nest eventually, but that doesn't make it any easier on mama bird, does it? Hugs to you and pat yourself on the back. You've raised a bright, strong young man who is embarking on the journey to a successful life!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bossy Betty .. congratulations to both of them for daring to live - that's just great .. and to you and her parents for daring to let go ..

All will be well .. one of those days of laughter and tears .. they always seem to mix .. Cheers Hilary

Caro said...

What a big move, good for them!

jenny_o said...

Well said. My heart goes out to you.

Stephen Tremp said...

These trips can have bittersweet feelings. But change is good as new opportunities await. I'm thinking big thoughts eight now for safe travels.

Brian said...

Sonny Boy will do terrific, but I know it's a sad day so I send you purrs and hugs!

Brian said...

Sonny Boy will do terrific, but I know it's a sad day so I send you purrs and hugs!

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

It's so hard to let them go. And scary too at times.

Nicole said...

WHat a great quote - "I know he couldn't look back and keep his balance."
Profound.

Madi and Mom said...

BB you all have been in my thoughts today...I expect Sonny Boy and his lady are on the road....we wish them a safe trip and send them many blessings for this new phase of their lives.
After my daughter and son in law were married they moved 3 hours away...that doesn't seem so far now.
Big hugs and remember we are here for you,
Hugs C

Tabor said...

Since I live near a number of colleges and universities in Virginia give me a blog comment if you need ANYthing!

ellen abbott said...

I can totally relate. My son called the other day to say that he and his wife have decided to move to Olympia WA, 2500 miles away. I am heartbroken.

Ms. A said...

Being a parent, one hopes to raise their children to be self-sufficient. There's a huge difference between self-sufficient and FAR, FAR away. Bless you Betty and blessings and safe journey to the kids.

(((HUGS)))

Brian Miller said...

i hope their travels go well...and welcome him to my neighborhood when you talk to him...he will be ok mom...and remember i am only an hour away if needed...

The Green Streak said...

Those of us along their route will give them respite and hugs, encouragement and love on their exciting journey.

Ann said...

I'll be thinking of your son and his girlfriend, wishing them a safe journey and a happy new life. I'll also be thinking of you and sending you a hug.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Ahh, not you brought tears to my eyes. None of mine have moved that far from home. Yet. Virginia is a beautiful state.

Laura said...

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs. I have sent both of my kids off before, not knowing if it was permanent or temporary. They both came back eventually. But those good-byes...oh those good-byes are heart-wrenching.

Daisy said...

Betty, tears here and sending you hugs as big as they come. A week from today, I'll be the same place you are today.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I'm covered in goosebumps. This was so emotional. "...knowing he couldn't look back and keep his balance too." What a deeply profound line, Betty.
Hang in there through this bittersweet time.
xoRobyn

Noelle said...

Sending a big hug your way!

Linda said...

Another blogging friend (Deb from What's in My Attic) posted a very similar story today, too. I guess it's a season for goodbyes. This post is beautifully written, and I know you're proud of the kids for going for their goals, even as their leaving tugs at your heart.

SUGAR MOON said...

What a great post. I can definitely relate. Thanks for sharing.

EmptyNester said...

You are right where I was last week when I had to say good bye to Birdie as she headed 20 hours away to Texas for grad school.

I know exactly how you feel.

Theresa Milstein said...

Betty, another bittersweet moment for you.

"I also remember the little dip in my heart knowing that he couldn’t look back and keep his balance too."

I'm going to keep this in mind as my children continue to reach more milestones.

Marlene said...

Boy, you sure know how to make a reader cry, Betty. Big hugs to you. I know the feeling of watching them spread their wings and fly. It's one of those double edged swords...you're so very happy for them and proud of them, and at the same time, so very sad to see them go.

inkpuddle said...

Joining the multitude who appreciate not only this post, but your words:

"I also remember the little dip in my heart knowing that he couldn’t look back and keep his balance too."

And in this way, life is not so very different from riding a bike. Your words are going on my bathroom mirror tonight.

Ami said...

I hope they have a wonderful adventure and that your time apart will just make you all love each other more by the time you're together again.

(((hugs))

Retired English Teacher said...

Letting go of our children is the hardest thing we do. Doing it well is one of the most important things we do. I wish all of you the best as your son starts another new adventure.

faye said...

Such a sweet post..
we will keep good thoughts for
their safe journey.

Happy Homemaker said...

Waaahhhhhhh! Now you've got me crying!!! Great post Betty, I will share your pain soon!

Nat said...

Sad for you Betty, but exciting times ahead for Sonny Boy and his girl.
Hope they have a safe journey!

Susan in the Boonies said...

"You can't look back and keep your balance, too".

There's a metaphor that just cuts like a hot knife through warm buttah, huh?

:hugs:

Pat said...

Oh, gosh, I have such a lump in my throat after reading this! It's so hard to say goodbye, well let's just say "so long" for now! I'm glad your son has a companion so he won't be lonely on his endeavor! Good luck to him! I wish him well! Another chapter of his life!

The Empress said...

Oh, Betty. You're killing me.

How I wish you were on twitter so we could talk more.

Can you do that, sometime, just set up an account?

Takes 2 seconds and it's IMing like you would love.

This post?

Incredible.

I will tweet it out.

Catherine said...

This is breaking my heart ~ I know the day is coming for me when my boy leaves my nest. But how can you not be happy for them as they spread their wings? It is truly the meaning of 'bitter sweet' I think.

Big hugs,
xo Catherine

Pat Tillett said...

Exciting and sad, all at the same time. This was so well written and it really got to me. Good luck to them on their journey. Now you have an excuse to visit the mid-atlantic area (one of my favorite parts of the country).

Donna said...

Sorry to be late...been out of town.
((((HUG))))
I know it hurts....
hughugs

Sush said...

You did it...you brought tears to my eyes as I relived all my children's departure from home. It is a piece of your heart they take with you and it remains that way. Even when they visit I yearn for the good old days when we had all five living under our roof and the roof was jumping and the walls bulging.

Now I enjoy every moment we are all together under whatever roof it may be...

Hugs and here's to safe travels for your loves~

Lin said...

Oh, man--that is one long ways away, isn't it? Ugh. But it is a new adventure for them, which is very exciting--which will help you, I think. When you know they are good, then it makes it easier to let go.

On another plus--I see that Chicago is on the way to Virginia.You can come visit me on your way to see them!! See? It's like a little bonus!!!

:) Hang in there, Betty! It's hard to let them go, but it's also a good thing too. They are gonna be fine.

Slamdunk said...

Great post and best wishes to your son and his gf. We are still in the learning to ride a bike stage, but I know time will fly.

Velvet Over Steel said...

Oh Betty my heart goes out to you!! I actually do know how you feel. My oldest son just finished grad school in May, and left 2 weeks later for a great job and new life in Houston, TX. And he took his dog!!!! I had custody of her for the whole 3 years he was in grad school!! sigh.... He just got his second box today (each of which has a new 'rabbit' chew toy for Ms. Pickles of course and something for the girlfriend too!! :-) I miss all 3 of them so much!! I'm sending you the biggest Virual Hug, Betty!! Hang in there!! ~ Coreen XOXO

ShirleyC said...

Awww...what a sweet post. I do pray they have a safe trip on their new venture.
My son is my rock, and I would be so lost without him around even though I don't see him everyday, but I know he's not far.

Hilary said...

You got my Mom-tears flowing with this one. I know what it's like to say goodbye. There will be many more Hellos to enjoy, though. And what a joy to know that they have one another in this journey. Congrats to your son, his girlfriend and to the two sets of parents who helped sculpt them into the independents they are meant to be. You did well.

Teary hugs to you.

Baby Sister said...

Oh how hard this must have been. I hope they stay safe on their journey!! *hugs*

Leanne said...

Oh, Betty. Tears. Big ones. Flowing down my face. I have a lump in my throat too. You've done good, Betty. I can only pray my daughters end up with 1/2 the courage that Sonny Boy is showing. I'll keep them in my thoughts (I should have offered them an overnight here in Chicago on their way. Maybe on a return visit back home to you!)

Brian (not the cat) said...

I drove that exact route in five days, solo, thirty years ago. Then a couple of months later, I did it again with my friend Bill, this time in four days. One doesn't see much local life from the Interstate, just long stretches of concrete with occasional nice scenery. My best advice is to take a little longer and stop to smell the local roses (among other smells) every so often.

Sara said...

Oh, Betty, why must I read your posts while I'm tired and hormonal? It's not for naught that I wear waterproof mascara :P