Dad’s Diary

The kids are now in the final term of a very strange school year. My youngest, who is in senior infants, has had most of her school career disrupted by the pandemic. The older kids can learn remotely more easily, and could even stay in touch with their classmates online. The sense of isolation was…

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Dad’s Diary

My two-year-old has now spent most of her life under coronavirus restrictions. Of course, she doesn’t understand the bigger picture, but she does know that, at times, the Government stops the older children from going to school and her from going to her beloved childminder. She knows that sometimes we are not allowed go to…

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Dad’s Diary

After the drear of an Irish winter, the first few sunny spring days seem almost miraculous. As the gloom wore on, month after month, it seemed that never again would we rest easy in the sunshine. The Irish climate makes moments of luxuriating comfortably in nature rare, and therefore precious. Yet all of a sudden,…

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Dad’s Diary

Children have an amazing ability to escape into the present moment, far more easily than we adults do. Since my mother died, the children have spent plenty of time lost in sorrow and reminiscence, and enough time crying. Yet in just a few minutes, they can switch from being immersed in heartfelt sadness over a…

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Dad’s Diary

The world is a poorer place. My beautiful mother Anne has died. She had been in hospital for an operation and sadly contracted coronavirus in there. For the first week of the illness, we held out hope, since she remained cheerful and vibrant as ever. Yet we knew that a grim moment of truth was…

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Dad’s Diary

Parents often protect their children from worry, through the simple expedient of not telling them about worrying things. There’s certainly no need to worry small children about crimes such as murder, for example. Yet we do tell them about dangers of traffic, as the worrying knowledge that cars can hurt of kill you encourages them…

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Dad’s Diary

This has been the longest January in recorded history. The month began about ten years ago, as I watched as Big Ben ominously ticked down the seconds to 2021 with my wife and our two oldest kids. Instead of our usual cheerful New Year’s gathering of friends and family, it was just the four of…

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Dad’s Diary

What is rare, becomes precious. During an Irish January, sunlight is perhaps the most precious commodity in all of nature. On this icy morning, it shines low and golden across frosty fields. Its light touches the soil, awakening snowdrops from their winter sleep. The sun causes stirs of life within the trees limbs, as furled…

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Dad’s Diary

I’ve always loved New Year’s Eve. The clock ticks past a threshold in time, and we are suddenly gifted a new beginning. The old year is gone and a new one is born. Anything seems possible in the dawn of a new year. As 2021 comes into being, we leave a strange year behind us.…

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Dad’s Diary

Our childhood Christmases are too few. Before the age of three, children know too little to truly appreciate Christmas. After the age of 11, or so, they know too much, as they veer recklessly towards their teenage years. This means that we have perhaps eight pristinely innocent childhood Christmases. We parents must do what we…

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