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Special bond between parent and child acknowledged for Mother’s day

Mary McGinty reflects and reminisces on parental support given in both childhood and adulthood and the joy that it brings.

I was a daddy’s girl, no doubt about it. I’m not proud to admit that, unlike other children who were told by their mothers that their misdemeanours would be reported to their fathers, I was the one issuing the warning. More than a few times, she later told me, I’d announce with indignation: “I’m telling Daddy when he gets home.”

What a brat. To my mum’s credit she never held it against me.

Everyone knows how girls and their fathers often have a special attachment. I believe my deep bond with my dad was consolidated in my first few weeks and months.

My mum was taking a wee while to recover from a difficult birth so he would do the night feeds, pacing the floor with a colicky baby.

He had brought mother and baby home from Irvine Central on Christmas Eve just as the worst winter in almost 150 years was about to take hold.

After the rigours of childbirth, and what was to turn out to be a severe winter, my mum was content to stay inside.

Frozen nappies

With the new mother recovering at home, days later he carried me to the Baptismal font at which he too had been christened.

All through those early months of the winter of 1963 when he came home from work he would bring in the nappies which had frozen solid on the washing line and when he went to bed he knew he would be up again before long.

My mum used to tell me he kept the coal fire burning all night and he would sing to me until I settled.

When our first little grandson was just days old I found myself singing too-ral-loo-la-rool-la, hush now, don’t you cry.

I hadn’t heard or thought of that song, An Irish Lullaby, in a long time.

As I sang it to our little Benedict I remembered it was one of the songs my dad would sing to me throughout my childhood.

Mother’s love

When my dad died while I was still in my twenties, my mum and I learned to forge a new path without him, each relying heavily on the other.

She wasn’t the sort of mother to put on a load of washing for me or take out the ironing board and do the week’s ironing. Her support was more of the emotional variety.

She was at her best sitting at the kitchen table with a pot of tea and a slice of lemon drizzle, finding a solution to whatever dilemma was troubling me that day.

She was fairness itself and she had the gift of being able to see both sides of the problem, unless it involved one of her grandchildren in which case she was firmly in their camp.

When she died, sad as I was, I was confident God had called her at the right moment and I was consoled at the thought of her reuniting with my dad.

Still, the loss was keenly felt and the place she occupied in our home and our hearts can never be filled.

My prayer for Mother’s Day is for all of us whose mothers have gone on ahead.

May they be rejoicing in the Kingdom of Heaven. I pray too for those mothers and their children who are estranged or who have difficult relationships, for mothers who have had to endure the death of a child, and for those who have had an abortion and are living with pain and regret.

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