Dad’s Diary

I was working at home when the call came. A shake in the teacher’s voice told me that this was no ordinary playground fall. She said my son had fallen badly while playing football and that “he couldn’t see afterwards” and was complaining of headaches, as well as cuts to his arms and legs. I drove…

Dad’s Diary

I pulled in to the airport drop-off zone with some trepidation. My wife was travelling overseas for an important course. This meant that our breastfed baby had to travel with her too. For nine whole days, I would be alone at home with the three bigger kids. The oldest two would be fine. They would…

Dad’s Diary

Christmas looms large in children’s minds. It is for them a time when the mundane is transformed into the glittering and magical. The Christmas lights strewn across the land are a collective rebellion against the darkness in these, the very darkest days of the year. Since the end of November, during every night-time car journey,…

Dad’s Diary

I am entering the ‘taxi driver’ stage of parenthood. My little customers have busy schedules and must be ferried at the appointed time to brownies, gymnastics, rugby training, soccer training, GAA training, Irish dancing classes, flute lessons, singing lessons, tin whistle lessons, swimming and weekends away, together with sundry playdates, birthday parties and so forth.…

Dad’s Diary

Ten-year-old kids are complex creatures. There is but a short period in life when you fervently believe in Santa, but also can operate a computer proficiently. If there were a Venn diagram with circles entitled, ‘Computer skills’ and ‘Santa Claus’ the age in the intersection would be 10. A 10-year-old is at a remarkable juncture…

Dad’s Diary

It is the finest sort of autumn morning. The sun shines kindly upon the apple trees, their boughs now heavy with fruit. Clusters of ripe apples gleam red against pale blue skies. The leaves of the beech and sycamore are already turning a golden brown. Yet the ash trees stand defiantly green, in a willful…

Dad’s Diary

For much of the past decade, my wife’s medical training has dragged our family around Ireland and Britain. We have moved house 11 times in 10 years, through Cork, Dublin, Surrey and the Isle of Wight. Thankfully, our nomadic existence is at last coming to an end, as we settle back into where we began,…

Dad’s Diary

Most of us still have vivid memories of our first day in school. My mother says she can still see, like yesterday, that morning in the mid-1950s, when she turned to look at her mother as she walked out the door of the classroom, leaving her alone in this new and unfamiliar environment for the…

Dad’s Diary

I’ve been awake since 2.30 this morning, when I was jolted awake to the screams of a five-year-old girl. She’d had a “very bad dream with monsters in it”. Despite hours spent comforting her, she could not easily get back to sleep, and she tossed and turned until dawn. When she at last found slumber,…

Dad’s Diary

This morning, a beautifully decorated envelope arrived at our house in West Cork. Carefully coloured-in birds and flowers surrounded the address, written meticulously carefully in a child’s handwriting. My eight-year-old daughter’s heart soared to find this letter from her very best friend, sent all the way from England. Having disappeared into her bedroom to devour…