My daughter is in Australia doing a semester abroad.  At the beginning, she called every day, crying about how miserable she was and how she had made a mistake.

“Come home then,” I said after a month when I couldn’t take it anymore. “We’ll book a flight and you’ll just withdraw tomorrow.”

That snapper her out of it.  The next day she called her advisor, booked a couple of tours with money she had saved, and made some new friends.

Now instead of crying, I hear something different.

“Gotta go, Mom,”  she’ll say when I call  “Mav’s here.”

Mav is the guy she met the same week she decided to make the best of it.  They’ve been inseparable since then.  And I’d much rather see her happy than sad.  Even though it rips a piece of my heart that she doesn’t “need” me as much.

Today she was flying to Darwin to get on a tour of the outback.  I talked to her while she was looking for her bus for the tour.

“Mav’s calling.  Talk to you Tuesday,”  she said.  Click.  And she was gone.    

“Love you.  Have fun.  Take pictures,” I texted and silently said a prayer for her safety.

I relaxed on my deck and started reading my book.  Ping.  Why is she texting?  She should be on the bus.  Uh oh.

“They messed up.  No one came and picked me up.  They said I never had a booking.”

“What do you mean?” I said into the phone when she picked up.  “What’s going on?  That’s terrible!!!”

She was crying and breathing heavily.  “Now I’m stuck in Darwin for 5 days.  I don’t want to be here.  This sucks.  I don’t know what to do!”

I took a deep breath.  She needs me to be calm.  “Call the people who booked it.  You will get them and they will fix this.”  

It’s hours later and we are still waiting to see what they can do.  It was a computer glitch and the tour she thought she was on was full.   She had confirmed it just yesterday but somehow the Darwin part of the tour did not get notified.

“Travelling isn’t always easy,” she said.

“But it sure makes you stronger,” I told her.  “You make sure they fix this.  You are strong and powerful and can make sure they make it right by you.”

“OK, mom,”  she said.  “Thanks for being there for me.  I would have felt so alone if you hadn’t been there.”

“No problem,” I said. “I love you madly and forever.”

“Same,”  she said.

While I hate that she’s having an issue over there, it sort of puts back the piece of my heart that had ripped knowing that my (big) little girl still needs me.


  • Hilary Arnow Burns

    Hilary Arnow Burns, Creating Life in the Present Moment

    Graduated from Wharton Business School, Hilary pursued a career in management consulting, ending up on Wall Street during the 1989 crash. "It was certainly exciting," she says about her time at Drexel Burnham Lambert. From there she found her way to many entrepreneurial ventures, ending up as a District Sales Coordinator at AFLAC. She has always loved to entertain, empower and acknowledge people and does so through her writing and speaking. She specializes in memoir and poems which tell a person's unique gifts and story.   She has published her first book, "The Second Piece of French Toast," available on Her website: GettingRealwithHilary connects you to her YouTube channel and blog.