May the road rise up to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall softly on your field.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
There are several Irish Blessings I love and this is probably my favourite. I remember it rocketing around in my head when Bernie set out on his first overseas adventure. Many years later, here it is back again as my precious oldest grandson is heading to Brazil to join his Uncle Bernie for nine months.
On Saturday we went down to Auckland to join in Michael's farewell festivities. He had a great night with his family and friends - and what a lovely bunch of friends they are. After we went back to Leone's they kept us entertained till the early hours.
There was a second reason for the trip. Krystal and Georgia were flying off on Sunday with Jami to spend a few days with Justine and Bill in Tarananki. As Michael flies out on Thursday, Sunday was the day Jami had to say goodbye to her adored big brother - but not before they had one last photo together. How she will miss him. Actually, as I run through my mind, all those who I know will miss him, it adds up to quite a number.
A few minutes later I captured Michael's glance towards Jami, as he got into his car to drive away with his lovely girlfriend, Rose. I think there is emotion lurking there behind those beautiful blue eyes.
I don't know if everyone does this but I imagine other people do it, too. When I think of my loved ones I add my own little pet name for them. Michael has always been, "My Michael, beautiful boy" or "My Michael, my delight". To me he's always been beautiful and delightful. I accept that he's given his mother cause to worry from time to time but, hey, he's a teenager and I don't think any parent of a teenager has it easy. He was born with a lovely nature and has always seemed wise beyond his years, especially when it comes to getting along with people.
And after he'd gone here was Krystal showing Georgia her shots of Michael. But she looks a little too dejected to be interested.
I felt the same. I've waved off my own children as they set off on adventures with a strange mixture of happiness at the thought of the wonders that they might experience and sadness for myself. But never when they were quite so young. This time I have an extra heaviness as I would like to be able to lighten my daughter's sadness but know there is no way I can do that. I know she lets him go willingly and with the knowledge she has raised a wonderful young man. And that she trusts her brother to keep him from harm in a foreign country. Bernie knows he will never be allowed back in the country again if anything happens to her beautiful boy!
Jami and Krystal are 13 now. To think in five years ..... No, I can't go there quite yet.