This is the routine. John gets dropped off at school, ten minutes before the bell, enough time for a quick game of football, which is the most important thing in his life. I walk on along the main road to the top of the village with my girls to call on my Mother. I do hope she has her happy head on today, makes me a cup of tea, and spoils her granddaughters for a wee while.
Some days this works well, some times we argue, and some days I don’t even get in the door. These variations in her tolerance levels depend on what gossip she’s heard about me during the week. I’ve been known to smoke in the street, forgotten to give John his packed lunch, or tried to sneak in late to Mass on Sunday. This last offence being mortally sinful in her eyes, on a par with armed robbery or assault. Mam and I have what is very trendily called a fragile relationship, a bit like a cracked mirror, ready to fall out the frame on any day.