If you’ve just picked this up, please hold on a second while I compose myself. Or compose my thoughts on the riddle wrapped up in an enigma stiffed into a Russian doll hidden in a labyrinth on the outer edges of a conundrum that is my young teenage daughter’s brain, and process our latest run-in.
K had asked me the night before to call her a little earlier for school, so she could do her hair. This a lengthy and intricate process that involves hair-straighteners, clips, false starts, sighs and the occasional expletive, which we may or may not choose to ignore. Choose your battles, they say — we seem to be choosing our interventions. Continue reading
So there I was performing what must have looked like some weird CPR procedure as I force-palmed a bunch of newspapers into the already brimming green bin at the side of our house. I looked up and my own heart could have done with some extra ventilation as I spotted my son O loping down the long straight stretch of path that leads to phase one of our housing estate.
The pang in my chest felt as real as any ailment as I watched our 12-year-old, his back to me, long strawberry blond hair glistening and swaying in the low winter sun, all the way to the corner where he turned down the avenue. He was on his way to school, and beyond.
So there I was, lying in my old bed in the family home a few years back and brooding magnificently. My backbone was an amoebic sponge soaking up all higher resolve and positivity. All my early morning gloom was lacking was a Smiths album playing in the background.
Actually, I was just bored. Or so I thought as I began to feel the postcard-blue haze of an unseasonably bright winter’s morning filtering through the closed curtains and my mood lifted. The word golf dropped into my brain and I sprang up from my misery, dressed and washed quickly and was soon in the shed disentangling my old golf clubs and cart from the clutter. Continue reading
One boy and his dog: Bella and O chill after O’s return from school
“Where’s Bella?” asked a sleepy O, pushing his blonde mop back from still-closed eyes, when Mom came in to call him again for school.
Mom didn’t know.
“Get Dad, he knows …”
So, where was I just then … which of my many morning jobs was I engaged in … maybe I was putting on Mom’s egg, and the kettle was nearly boiled for her coffee.
Hah, you see, they don’t know all the stuff work-from-home Dad is doing, especially when they are just getting themselves sorted for school and my wife for her work, until things go wrong, or something ruffles the surface of the morning school day routine in our house. Continue reading
“Walla, Walla, Walla!”
I have no idea where this chant has come from and what it even means. I am just bellowing and bawling it out, as loudly and as far as my nine-year-old voice can reach. My mouth is stretched wide, wide as a cave, and my is neck arched upwards and my vocal cords are burning with the effort. Continue reading
“Get your maulers off me oranges” — Moore Street in the rare old times
My Dad and Dublin never used to get on. As a child, though, I remember the special hatred he reserved for our annual *December 8 family trip up to the smoke.
But here he was now, asleep in my bed in my Rathmines flat after a great night out in town with his old Garda buddies.
I had slept in a camp bed borrowed from a friend. It was early morning and in the gathering light filtering through the curtains I could discern the tousled track of white hair running around his bald head, and the red tip of Dad’s right ear above the blankets.
I actually began writing this at around half five this morning, rising from a horrible night’s — you could hardly call it sleep since I seemed to be awake for most of it — tossing, turning, snorting and worrying. Feeling hopelessly lost.
Things had really got on top me and I went to bed early to try and sleep on through to some kind of miraculous enlightenment, or at least a new perspective that would let me appreciate the light of the new day. Hoping against hope things might somehow be different, better. Continue reading