Tag Archives: love

A portrait

It’s a tap on the shoulder from impermanence to say, eh, sorry, love, but you haven’t got all day. Sheesh. I know that, on your way, I’ve seen the grey hairs, the little wrinkles that he promises me he loves still. The signs to let me know that on awakening from what seems a ten-year slumber while washing the dishes and changing nappies; I’ve awoken and suddenly I’ve grown older. While sleep-depreived and breastfeeding, spoon feeding and toilet training, I had little time for watching the world or really taking as much notice as I would have liked.

While I was measuring the little steps, their height on my pantry wall, their ability to reach the biscuit shelf, everything else was getting a little bit older too. You’re right, impermanence, time does not wait for any man or woman. Just show yourself out will you?

They’re older now, in fact, they’re all away, at their Nana’s, two nights away and I believe I just heard silence, real silence. There it is again. No sound. No screaming or pushing, laughing, ‘I’m hungry-ing’, no falling, nobody has let the cats in or out, nobody has slammed a door. There is just me and my tap, tap, tapping and head space and oh my, do I have a lot to catch up on.

And empty, the house reminds me of a frame of a beautiful picture, I mean, it’s a very fine frame, a collector’s item really, regardless of the battered edges that lend it a somewhat fine aged contour. But it is an empty picture nonetheless without the three main characters in the picture’s portrait. The little beautiful creatures who take up the foreground of the painting of our lives here. And here, listen to me, me with time on my hands, to tidy in peace, sit still, watch uninterrupted television, to read a book, feed a calf and I’m sitting here thinking of them.

Time without children is time to recuperate, time to recover from the exhaustion of always being somebody’s, some three bodies mother. Where does time go? She’s off to the garden, with a beer and a little music and a bit of appreciation for the finest things in this life.

In gratitude of my beautiful portrait.






A difficult day is one where your little boy arrives home from school and his eyes are not shining. It’s even more difficult when it happens a few days in a row. For one reason or another, he finds writing really difficult and it is breaking his little heart. A little heart that I have held precious until he took it out into the world, un-mommyed.

Instinct alone was not directing me on this one. I had used up my resources, my tough lines, soft kisses, big hugs, go get em’s and so had to reach for the big guns at homework time.

‘I can’t do it. I give up.’ he cries thoroughly unused to not succeeding, not believing that he is brilliant (mea culpa). Here, I realize I ignored the hundred and one articles available at a click on how to praise appropriately but forgetting myself daily, I tell him how fantastic he is. To me, anyways. Ridiculously, in that little ‘give up’, I see wasted opportunity, a graduation not attended, potential not achieved, in other words, hysteria of a mother on seeing her first born down-trodden.

Hysteria aside, I reach for the most fantastic weapon us modern mothers have in the face of our child’s adversity; knowledge. Like his mother, this son of mine is a dreamer, an idealist and a believer (though he still has a good excuse at six to assume such roles, me not so much). When your mom has told you a thousand times that you’re doing great, you’re fine out, you can do it and there is still doubt, there must be another voice to tell a six year old boy to keep going.

So thankfully, there’s youtube.

For no longer was it me telling him but some more brilliant others. Winston Churchill in warbling chinny Queen’s English told him to ‘Never, never, never, give up.’

JFK told him that when he chose to go to the Moon, he did so not because things are easy but because they are hard. 

And good old Albert Einstein, well he discovered atoms (I think) and some equation that mommy doesn’t really understand but he didn’t like school and found writing very difficult. Very difficult, indeed. ‘See, just like you.’

For a boy who loves soldiers, space exploration and scientists (!), who better to tell him that the windy road ahead can be navigated than these, his new heros. His hearing those words for the first time, I heard them too. And thanked those heros for the words of hope that continue to keep on giving.  Today, they brought the sparkle to a little boy in Kerry finding the homework tough.

And to the mommy who will try anything (and more than likely too much) to keep him going.

Do you come here often?

You have some hope of wooing a farmer (or avoiding one) if you are a country girl but little if your reference for all things country is the memory of Glenroe of a Sunday night. We thought ye were funny you country folk, a bit gray and crusty looking but oh so quaint. Look where that train of thought got me; right into the milking parlour.

So, picture it. You’re trying to impress him. And you’re a high pitched city girl telling him that everything is so funny and cute and horrified and amazed at the same time that the cows are lifting their tails and he is oh so brave and amazing that he instinctively knows when to shift away from that shower of cow dung. Dreamy.

Little did that farmer’s wife in waiting know that inwardly he was wishing me out of the parlour because I had the poor cows nervous and raising-the-tail-ish. The poor girls. There’s oohing and aahing at the sound of the machine, the sight of the milk buckets, the clusters, even the dip. Swoon, the milking apron. Aw, the calf house, the straw, the ration trough. Ouch the calving jack.

Cringing at the memory of me a wide eyed city girl walking into a milking parlour to keep him company. Wishing myself in hindsight out from under his feet. You, in your flowery wellies, he’ll say, well you knew what you were letting yourself in for. Well Holy God, how could I have known? He had me at ‘Let the cows out.’

Yours in mucky love.

There’s more on love and farming in Hearthill in this week’s Irish Country Living …. http://www.farmersjournal.ie/views-on-farming-at-valentine-s-from-a-city-girl-174774/

On Father’s Day

All things being equal, I can’t let this beautiful sun set without mentioning the father of the house. I will however, knowing my farmer, save his readily available blushes and won’t gush too much about him. Instead, I’ll tell you that we took our newest son on our camino to Sallies today in the blissful sunshine and he was beaming.

Nothing fazes the man, not hormonal wife nor beast, not impending silage cut or cross toddler. He is our constant when the rest of us are melting down at various stages of the post-partum day.  When we’re crying, roaring for milk, cursing at stitches, fighting over toys; he remains calm. He helps us recover, in his calmness, taking a walk (a first for our youngest) and so led us gently into familiar surroundings, walking out around the farm, our home. He carried our young baby who is not overly fond of his pram, cajoled a toddler to keep going on his bike and soothed a wife who is sore and war weary.  That the day might come when he might get some rest! Yes, he is our constant; We are safe with him, he is home.

For my Dad and yours. And then, for our farmer.