One of the biggest buzzes I get from blogging is when I surprise myself with what I write. I’m mulling over that next post for ages and it’s nearly written before I start. Then my fingers hit the keyboard and all these guerilla words burst in stage left and take over the whole show.
This morning I thought I was going to write about the closing of a beloved cinema in Dublin city but my insurgent digits had other ideas.
The low moaning had started in my son’s room at around 11 last night. He was definitely under the weather, but the turning and groaning did seem to coincide with me checking in on him as he slept.
It was Sunday night, after the mid-term break, and school was around the corner.
Phase two: head bent and a sleepy curtain of blonde hair hanging across his 12-year-old face, he slouched forlornly against our bedroom door around 5am. Waiting to be noticed. My wife beckoned him in and soon the boy who hours earlier was thundering into tackles and ordering his soccer’s team’s defence, was curled up asleep between his mom and dad.
He’s subtle, you see, much more subtle in how he goes about getting his own way than his sassy sister. The remote control never seems far from his reach when there’s a match on the main telly and sure that’s our boy: isn’t it great he is so passionate!. His sister would rather watch Netflix on the computer upstairs anyway.
That’s the 13-year-old who has left home and moved in with her iPhone. She’s still in the house, only she lives in an apartment upstairs, aka her bedroom. She comes out now and again for a food rummage and an argument, maybe shouting at us from half-way down the stairs that we are not listening to her, or reminding us how weird we are not letting her have her phone 24/7 like her friends.
When he has done something wrong, he often says nothing until we have stopped giving out, and we only really recognise the impact of our echoing homilies in how he behaves afterwards.
Maybe it is one of the newer cliches of the age: the silent male child who carries stuff deep and unreachable, and you not so secretly fear, as a dad or parent, he will one day take his upset to the ultimate.
Indeed one of the few stand up shouting matches I have had with our boy was when I tried to get him to open up about a row he had in soccer training with a couple of his team-mates which had ended up with some very tasty tackles flying in. And his coach calling us in.
The row I had with him was not about what had happened, but his anger at my efforts to get him to talk about stuff the didn’t want to talk about.
Ultimately we hoisted him on his own petard this morning: the night before the match he really was not well, all stuffed nose and early bed-time. But Sudafed and a footballing mad boy’s determination to play no matter what are powerful things, and he not only played but played really well.
School was even more important than football, we reasoned now, so if he was able to play a match then he would be able to go to school. Call us if things get too much. He was dressed and out in good time, and no complaints. No word yet from the school.