The Dad Diary
With Covid-19 putting a halt to large gatherings, my mother’s 70th birthday in July was always going to be relatively low key.
We said we would just have a small party at the family home in Breaffy and once her five grandchildren were there, my mother would be happy. Her three children being there also helped but we know where we stand in the order of things!
To make the day, we decided to book a bouncy castle. In theory, it was for the kids but in reality all three generations knocked fun out of it.
In the build up to the weekend, the bouncy castle was used regularly as a carrot for good behaviour so the excitement levels with Frankie and Éamon were off the charts as we headed off to Breaffy.
The bouncy castle we hired had a flat area for jumping around and then had a pretty cool slide you had to climb up to and then go down. It was far from simple to get up and quite a drop down. We all agreed it would be beyond Frankie and Éamon.
In order that they might at least get to experience the slide, I brought them down, one at a time, in my arms. I had visions of doing this again and again which was fine by me.
They loved it and after just a few goes with me, Frankie took off to climb the slide herself and Éamon followed.
And it was literally a climb for Éamon. He was at full stretch going from one step to the next, pulling himself up but was loving it.
Frankie got up to the top first but when she looked down, she realised the extent of the challenge and told us ‘I’m afraid’. We tried to coax her to try it but all entreaties failed.
Her younger brother had no such fears. He finished the climb with a big happy head on him, practically pushed Frankie out of the way and came flying down, roaring laughing as he went.
As soon as he got to the bottom, he was off again, climbing for another go.
Frankie? Well she had just been shamed into it by her younger brother and had no choice but to try it. Down she flew, her face more one of fear than excitement but when she got to the bottom, she realised it wasn’t that bad and quickly got over her fears.
All the cousins were in their element with it, so much so the hardest part was getting them inside long enough to eat a bit of dinner. Even the draw of birthday cake drew a bit of hesitation.
It entertained the kids so much, the adults talked at length about the feasibility of buying a bouncy castle to have permanently. Whether it would be for the kids or the adults is another matter entirely.
In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.
The Dad Diary