A debt to pay
Diary of a home bird
AS I welcomed my latest niece into the world recently so to did I kiss goodbye to the good times. It’s well documented that I’ve been preparing myself for the latest bundle of joy to steal the limelight, but on top of having to deal with my parents’ affections being re-directed, now I have to cope with no longer being looked after by the trusty ‘Big Sis’. Ailish’s hands are full with her beautiful daughter Saran.
In my 25, ahem, I mean twenty-something years, the big sis has ensured that I was well looked after. Whether it was a secret kept, more than the odd few euro lodged into the bank account or even a trip to Australia, she has looked after everything.
Now, the tables have turned and I’m currently crossing off nights on the festive calendar with ‘babysitting’ instead of the familiar ‘boozing’ reminder, by way of repayment. I have a lot of repaying to do to make up for all the awkward moments my poor sis endured with a little ‘angel’ nine years her junior hanging off her.
Unlike other teenagers her age who could enjoy watching a movie undisturbed with friends or a boyfriend, my sis had me running into the sitting room with a pair of tights on my head pretending I was robbing her and her boyfriend. And while her college housemates were getting ready for a night on the tiles, my sister was asking a ten year old me whether I wanted to go see ‘Titanic’ or ‘Home Alone 3’ in the cinema.
I was always brought along regardless of the occasion whether it was a girly shopping trip to Galway or a meeting of friends on a sunny afternoon. Thinking of two such occasions I tagged along to, I get the feeling I’ll be on nappy changing duty for quite awhile to make up for the grief.
On a shopping trip my sister and cousin Sineád were embarking on to Galway, I, as always tagged along. All three years of me. While my sister and cousin perused the latest fashions of the era, probably body tops, lumber-jack shirts and clogs, I decided to go for a wander around Corbett Court (as it was known at the time). After realising I was out of my depth in the crowds I burst into tears and wandered to a help desk telling a lady ‘I can’t find Ailish’. Minutes later Ailish and my cousin arrived at the kiosk after they heard the mortifying announcement over the shopping centre intercom.
Another day, again accompanying my sister and cousin Sineád, to a nearby village so my cousin could exchange some awkward conversation and share a bottle of coke and some crisps with her childhood boyfriend, I decided there wasn’t enough drama in the day.
We thumbed out to The Neale, (it was the done thing at the time) but while Ailish and Sineád attempted to flag down a car, a bored Ciara went playing with grass and cut herself. Cue tears. To the delight of my com-padres though, the scene of two people trying to abate a child in distress worked in getting a lift from a neighbour. Nursing a sore hand I was content sipping my coke at our destination, Mellotte’s, until I managed to spill it all over my dungarees and whined to my sister to bring me home.
Did I mention I once threw her beloved twin deck radio against a wall?
Oh yes, I reckon I’m in line for lots of sleepless nights and nappy changing this Christmas.
In her fortnightly Diary of a Home Bird column, Ciara Galvin reveals the trials and tribulations of a twenty-something year old still living with her parents.