Tag Archives: family

I’ve let things slip

16 Sep

I’ve let thing slip, in too many ways…

In anything, you always need to keep an eye on context and circumstance. Seeing something without keeping these things in mind can easily lead you to over or underreact. My problem is that I usually keep these things too close, so I usually end up underreacting horribly. Something bad happens to someone? well; that’s horrible, I sympathise and understand what you’re going through, respect your position in the grand scheme of things and want to help you get through it… but at the same time there’s probably 3 billion people in the world worse off than you at any given moment. Deal with it, and move on. You’re still alive after all…

This attitude causes me a fair bit of self-aggro because I know I’m leaning too far to one side of the balance. I know this all too well, but often fail to set it right.

keeping all this in mind, it’s safe to say my mother’s had a difficult one. Details aren’t needed, but let’s just say I’m incredibly grateful to have been raised by such a strong woman.

Being an only child of a single parent, and a protective male, I worry about her. I know she’s alright on her own, but still I worry. It’s only natural. Which is why she didn’t tell me anything about her taking a detour home from work, until I got home after a late nights training.

I came in the door to find a football matchday programme sitting on the kitchen table. In my tired state I was confused enough but this was something else entirely. I wondered to myself ‘did ma get me a footy programme on her way past the stadium?” because it simply didn’t occur to me that she would go to a match.

She bounced happily into the room and, with a mischievous grin, told me how she was on her way home from work feeling tired,unappreciated, lonely and just a little bit depressed when she saw the local team was playing a group game for the European league. On the spur of the moment, she decided to see if there were any tickets left, seeing as it was the team she supported with her father as a child and she had nothing to rush home for.

Quite a few things flew through my mind at this point, most of them worries. She went on her own?, what about the crowds? what about her going home at a late hour? what about her health? and, in my flurried state, what about the small but noticeable element of hooliganism?

“I say, you there: come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough, old boy!”

I voiced none of these concerns as she sat bubbling away at the kitchen table. She described how, after asking if there were any tickets left at the ticketdesk, the nice young man gave her a free one that someone had left because they couldn’t make it. Importantly, the person who left the ticket told the attendant to give it away for free and, surprisingly in a world that can grind you down all too easily, the attendant didn’t think to make himself some money and just gave it to my mother; happy days all round.

She then went on to describe, between fits of laughter, how she approached the stewards carrying the few bags of shopping from Tesco’s she had bought just before, and another nice young man jokingly ‘confiscated’ a bag of grapes because “he hadn’t had his dinner yet”, after which she gave him a few oranges to tide him over.

After that, she found a seat in the unreserved area alongside another few people who had obviously gone along on their own. There was, yet another, nice young man who spent the whole match with his head in his hands while biting his nails, who kindly offered to grab her a cup of tea at half time, and an older man just behind her who compared any slick pass by a player to someone of his own generation: “great pass…just like georgie best that was…lovely tap there; reminds me of a young Liam Brady…”

It was great to see her genuinely happy, and even greater to have found out that the fates conspired to make her detour as enjoyable as possible.

I’ve let things slip, in too many ways.

Trying too hard to keep things in context, I’ve forgotten just how bloody hard she’s fought all her life, and what an incredible person she is. This story reminded me of many she had told me during my life but which I’d shamefully forgotten. The time she went with women’s rights activists on the train to Belfast so taht they could buy condoms (which, in Catholic Ireland during the 80’s, were strictly illega, immoral and forbidden)…

…or the time her and a similar group of forward thinking women entered a bar and ordered a round of pints (large glasses of beer; don’t know what the American equivalent-if there is one-  is, sorry) to which the barman replied “women don’t drink Pints, they drink lady drinks”…

well, the gathered outside and settled on a plan.

They returned to the barman and ordered a round of whiskeys (expensive stuff in Ireland during the 80’s recession- and yes, this is not the first recession nor will it be the last). The barman obliged, after making sure they wanted them, and then when the large round of whiskeys were laid out on the bar they informed him that they would only pay for the whiskeys when he served them the pints they had asked for…

and many many other stories she’d told me. Some to inform, some to warn (a sombre confession of my late fathers drug habits when she found out I was going the same way springs to mind) and some just to entertain. I had forgotten most of them, until I was reminded just how exemplary she can be.

But the most inspirational, and unfortunately the easiest forgotten, is the things she did without mention. The things she did, and still does, every day to keep things ticking over. The things that you don’t notice when it’s there, but are painfully absent when they’re gone.

I’ve let things slip, in too many ways
Never again shall I waste the days

I wanted to finish this with John Lennon’s ‘mother’ when I started, but it’s a little bit too sad. I don’t know what I’ll do when she’s gone, and it’s only rarely that I listen to that song because it gives me quite a realistic idea of how I’ll feel. No; instead I’ll post something she’d enjoy (and which reminds me of her bouncing into the house after seeing it live, raving about the lightshow, the wall, the music and the nostalgia).

If this post has gotten you thinking about your own mother and you’d rather contemplate mellow, then look up the Lennon song, if not then put this on full screen and sound…and enjoy. That chorus is just heavenly;)

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