Within a few months of that phone call announcing our daughter was moving to Ireland to live, we basked in her company one final visit. A dear friend of her husband’s flew them home in a small plane. Picking them up from the airport, my heart filled with joy. Knowing that our time together was limited, we did everything together. All I could think of was the events of this time in her life we would not be present for, it broke my heart just thinking about it. All of my preconceived ideas about being a part of my daughter’s pregnancy and birth were outdated.
The weekend literally flew by too fast. Knowing we wanted to say goodbye we drove them back to the small airport near our home. My husband tried to keep me near the car and accept a simple hug, but I would not have it.
The plane was finally loaded and it was time to give one final hug to our daughter and her husband. As the plane taxied down the runway, an overwhelming sense of loss hit me. It seemed as though I would never see my daughter or grand baby. My thinking clouded; I could not see logic in the situation at all.
Within five minutes, the small plane flew out of sight. Our daughter was leaving to live in the land of my husband’s great-grandfather. The family history was deeply rooted in Ireland. That was just the beginning of the emptiness my heart would feel. Days later, we received the phone call that they had arrived safely in London. She assured me that everything was fine and she would call again once they found a place to live and settle in.
Bandon, County Cork, Ireland
A few weeks later, she called to give us her address. They had chosen a small town in southeastern Ireland called Bandon. This quaint town is in County Cork and near the city of Cork. It is the city with the nearest hospital and airport, which was somewhat of a comfort to this fearful mother.
As the months passed I felt myself growing further apart from my daughter. Knowing it was not right for me to act so immaturely did not help the way I was feeling. Those precious moments I had waited my whole life for were now a preconceived idea of the past.
Jeanette was good at sending pictures of her pregnant state to me via email. Although I saw her it was surreal and just not the same as being able to touch and hug. I suppose only a mother who has been through a child moving so far away could relate.
I had plans for a baby shower for her as the time drew near, but that was not going to be. We had been such friends, more than just mother and daughter. Now it was very hard to let go, try as I might, it just was not working. I felt so left out, so alone. My husband was feeling the same way, he just handled it in a different way. We both were miserable and needed to find a way to deal with our feelings.
No, it is too soon
Late one night we received a phone call from our daughter, she was crying. As any mother would, I asked what was wrong. The sobs became more intense and I could feel the terror in her voice. She was in labor and the baby was on its way, three months too soon.
This was a mother’s worst nightmare, early labor with her daughter’s first child halfway round the world in a foreign country. Every thought went through my mind. Would the doctors and nurses be up to par, know the latest technology? Would my daughter and grand baby be all right? (Can you tell I am not a world traveler, but a country girl?)
It was a very long night and week. Our little granddaughter was born on both her paternal grandmother and maternal great-grandmother’s birth dates.
The first pictures of this small wonder tugged at our heart strings so much that I realized what Billy Crystal had said about being a grandfather was true. There is nothing like the love a grandparent has for a new grandchild; it is deeper than the love of even your own children.
My confidence in the Irish medical staff soon grew stronger. Our little Maebh (pronounced Maeve) Belle received the finest care. It was a very long three months before our little girl grew enough to go home to the parents waiting so anxiously for her. It was then that the heartache really set in. I wanted to be there, touch her and feel her breath on my neck.
Where there is a will there is a way
The desire to see our new grand baby over-rode the lack of money and time to get there. It had been years since we had traveled out of the country, so passports were needed, too. Some way, some how I was going to get to that baby and my daughter.
Weeks after our little Maebh came home from the hospital we received word that an unknown donor had purchased tickets for our family. The gift of a lifetime was presented to us on the condition they remain anonymous, what a humbling experience. Whoever gave our family that gift is thought of and thanked on a daily basis for without their generosity we could not have enjoyed the visit of a lifetime.
My husband had been unemployed for months. The mill had just hired him to start a new job. Thankfully, we had planned this trip before he was hired and his new employer was understanding. They allowed him the time off.
I had only been working at the mortgage company for four months when I submitted my request for a week off. Trying to compose myself and withhold my feelings yet explain what was going on with my daughter, the boss did not really care.
To this day, I believe they were looking for any excuse to let me go, which was fine with me. During those four months, I was researching and planning to start our auto transport business. When she fired me, it was a relief yet I was shocked, too.
A couple weeks later, passports in hand, my son, husband and I boarded a plane headed for the emerald green island called Ireland.
That is another story, as this trip the plane travel alone is a story in itself.
Business owners have family and feelings, too
In our auto transport business, I must pull from life’s lessons every day. Dealing with customers, owner-operators and other business people, you have to keep in mind that they are people, just like you. Everyone is dealing with something every single day, maybe his or her daughter or son just left home. Maybe one of their children is sick, injured or going through something that is affecting their behavior.
Trying to be the very best auto transport business owner you can be, try to think of the other person first. By serving, your clients with a pure motive of real servitude will set you apart from the masses that are just in it for the money. Life lessons are not always easy. If we use them to help others, we grow into the person others want to have association. They will want to do business with us. The business world will be a better place for everyone when we all embrace our uniqueness, maternal and paternal feelings and all.
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Here to Serve,
Carla J Gardiner
Carla J Gardiner is an ex-banker turned entrepreneur who built an auto transport brokerage and dispatch center from the ground up. With half a days training and little else Carla learned the business inside and out the hard way…by doing it. Her passion and purpose lies with the people she works with daily; the client, dispatcher, broker and truck driver. Her frustration within the industry has birthed a new division of her company; one to properly train, encourage and mentor other professionals in auto transport.
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Carla Gardiner is a wife, mom, and grammy. She left the corporate world of banking in 2004 hitting the ground running with Bullseye Auto Transport in 2005. She diversified her business in 2010 adding dispatch services to car-hauler owners/operators. Carla is on a mission to positively impact people's lives she serves with truths untold about living life better; gaining optimal health and healthy weight loss. Carla has written as The Fiery Grandma since 2010 and this title describes her personality perfectly!
There is so much peace and comfort in owning your own business, especially for us mom’s and grandma’s who want to be there for our family… or to take those vacations when they come up! Freedom is precious – it is worth getting the knowledge and investing in ourselves to have this liberty of working from home! Thanks for sharing, Carla… you are a great leader!
Carla, bravo. I admire for what you stand for. You have the experience, integrity and ‘heart’ that the industry is lacking.
That’s pretty amazing. In addition, do I understand that you are going to be showing people how to set themselves up in the auto transport broker business? If it’s set up right and the right level of service is provided, I would imagine it could be an interesting work-from-home business!
Awesome post! It is truly appealing, if one is passionate about the work the individual is doing then there is no scope for it being menial or boring or whatever. A business is where you are the boss and you are the slave, no bossiness stuff.
I learned something new! I had no clue what a “snow bird” was before this. In addition, great tips about budgeting. Sometimes I get my head in so many places; I have to remind myself to get back to basics. After all, I cannot expect God to bless me with more if I do not properly manage what is already in my hand. GREAT ARTICLE!