Tomorrow is my birthday and there are 2 people without whom I wouldn’t even been here. They have saved my ass on so many levels on so many occasions, so I wanted to dedicate a piece to my parents.

Plus, if I didn’t, there’s no chance my Dad would ever pick me up from the pub again, and taxis work out expensive when you live in Rural Ireland!

My parents are bloody brilliant.  I am not going to pretend we have always had the perfect relationship, we haven’t.  Nor do we never bicker or drive one another crazy most days, we do.  But I can honestly say, Mick and I could not have got through the last few years without them. 

In 2015, literally 12 hours after my Dad retired, they were on a ferry heading over with all of their belongs, to start a new life in Ireland.  I am only child and they wanted to spend their retirement watching their Grandchildren growing up, so you may say it was an easy move, but I know it wasn’t and I couldn’t appreciate them more for doing it, even if I don’t say it often enough.

Saoirse’s Confirmation

Of course, at the age of 43 I’d like to say I never ask them for a loan, but of course do.   I think parents never stop dishing out cash.  Even if it’s not cash, I never leave their house without something, one of my Mum’s handbags, biscuits, my car washed. 

But it’s not their bank of goods I am referring to.  It’s their bank of goodness.  They are here for us financial, practical, emotional and any other ’al’ that ever might come up.  When I was working, they took care of the children, three afternoons a week, so I wouldn’t have to pay over all my wages to a creche.  They would feed them, wash them, clothe them usually out of M&S as my Mum has great taste and a loyalty card. 

Image may contain: 1 person, baby and closeup
Erin has been Nanna’s girl ever since she was tiny (age 10 weeks)

Even though I am no longer working as I am taking Carers Leave, with the raft of appointments I need to attend every week, they still take one or all of the kids at least three afternoons out of seven. 

Always being on hand to collect Patrick early from school on the days he isn’t coping, if I can’t there.   On the day he recently, tried to climb over a wall to abscond from school, I was in the middle of getting my roots done, and just couldn’t leave to collect him, so my Dad did.

The important men in my life

My Dad keeps Patrick busy and active for hours, making wooden toys and tools and doing outdoor jobs to keep his body and brain active.

Most importantly though they love them all, just the way they are and they look after them, when they know we just don’t have the energy do it anymore.  Many times, if Mick isn’t here, I have had to call my Dad to come and collect the girls to get them out of the house if Patrick’s meltdowns get too out of control.  He drops them to my Mum and then comes straight back to stand in front of whatever household object Patrick may be wielding at the time. 

One of the most important things they do for us, is let us have time to ourselves.  A truly vital part of mine and Mick’s life is to have time away from the kids.  Caring for Patrick’s additional needs, whilst also managing Saoirse and Erin’s typical ones, takes its toll and sometimes we just NEED a break.

A Night Out at Dermot and Dave, courtesy of a sleepover with Nanna and Grandad

Once a year, Mick and I pack up and head away somewhere for a few days.  It is quite literally the one way our family and our marriage can survive.  No battery can go on for ever, and sometimes just an overnight charge isn’t quite enough.  So, we relish our trip away wherever it may be.  Knowing that our charges, human and furry, are in safe hands means we can do it without endless worry or guilt. 

Although when we are away, all we do is talk about the children and look for suitable presents to bring back for them.  They say friends are the family you pick for yourself.  I believe that is true, but I’d also pick exactly the same parents again if ever they come up for re-selection.  

“votevalandphil Always my number one.

Nanna and Grandad are even better than Mary Poppins.
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