Watching and waiting


The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

We promised Éamon he could have a bouncy castle for his birthday party. I’ll be filing that one under Mistakes.
Why? Because, dear readers, promising a soon-to-be-four-year-old boy he can have a bouncy castle for his birthday party makes one very silly assumption: that the Achill weather will be compliant.
Of course, we did try to say ‘You can have it if the weather is good’, but try telling Éamon he’s not allowed have his bouncy castle because it’s raining – you will see his heart break before your eyes.
His birthday, September 3, fell on a Saturday, so it was all systems go to have the party on his actual birthday – a rare treat.
Except… all week, the forecast was for heavy rain Saturday and Sunday.
We left it until the Thursday, and still no sign of improvement, so the party was deferred.
Plan B was we would have a nice family fun day on his birthday, maybe go to the swimming pool and have a nice lunch, open presents and have the bigger party another day.
Saturday arrives, and guess what? Not a drop of rain. None on the Sunday either. It was the third weekend in a row where rain was forecast but didn’t come. Typical.
So we tentatively made plans for the following Saturday. Of course, the early forecast wasn’t good either, but we were at the stage where we were treating forecasts with contempt.
By the time Thursday came, Saturday was looking perfect, but heavy rain forecast for Sunday morning had us fearful the deluge might come forward a few hours.
But no point wondering afterwards, so we went ahead. Because we’re in Achill, you can only book a bouncy castle for a weekend, not a single day, so it arrived on the Friday.
Éamon was beyond excited when two men came in a van to put it up.
“It has parrots on the top!” he exclaimed as the jungle-themed castle inflated.
Himself, Frankie and Séimí knocked some fun out of it that evening alone, while us parents figured we might have had a bounce or two as well.
The party the following day went a dream. It was suncream weather with not a drop of rain. Éamon had a ball with his friends playing, and the adults were enjoying themselves too.
Sunday arrived and none of the torrential rain forecast arrived in Achill, so the kids got the full weekend out of it.
Next year we will be making no promises. Quite the opposite, we will tell him there’s no bouncy castles available, and if the weather Gods smile, we will let him have a surprise.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.