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.
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
“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.
Maybe I was being a bit Daddy Cool. That might be it?
There I was, walking my 12-year old daughter and my 11-year-old son down to the bus stop to meet the school bus. We were in good time, the sun was shining bright on one of those pet winter days, and I just felt good. With my kids, a bounding Bella pulling on her lead all set for a good walk on the North Beach afterwards.
Life was beautiful. Continue reading
St Patrick’s Park, Dublin … where the soft drift of mellow voices wafts over me.
Summer girls in summer dresses and young men rippling with confidence and expectation. They are the ones I mostly notice anyway on this rare sun-splashed day in Dublin city as I revisit old haunts and take in new delights.
An unhurried man in my inconspicuous fifties, I am invisible to these youthful creatures as I stroll up the broad O’Connell Street boulevard. Continue reading
Don’t you just love those moments when the dark clouds you thought were there to stay just roll back and your whole world lights up?
It’s like someone, somewhere, has turned up the dimmer switch and everything, everywhere, is brighter, clearer, kinder. Lighter.
There you were, lying face up on your bed in your overcast room with your troubled eyes closed but fluttering. Pandering to the voices of doubt in your head, picking at your faults and poking at all your failings. Dulled and disillusioned.
Your eyelids feel it first, the intense burst of light that has tranafigured the rectangular window frame. The burnished walls no longer enclose you and the whole room is aglow. Mr Bright Side is here — and he’s me!