THE BEST NEWS OF 2012—MY SON BRUFF’S GRADUATION FROM HIS UNIVERSITY, TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, IRELAND WITH A FIRST CLASS HONOUR’S DEGREE IN HISTORY & POLITICAL SCIENCE—AND TRINITY’S GOLD MEDAL FOR ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE.
I AM VERY PROUD OF THE MONSTER.
Children can be a lot of trouble, but I have always been fond of them—in general—and my own kids in particular. Like most parents, I guess, I have sometimes wondered why. They are high maintenance and they can be decidedly unpleasant in their teenage years—and for some years after that. Then, with luck, they turn into relatively normal and pleasant human beings. Or they may become serial killers. It’s hard to know.
It never occurred to me not to like babies. I was the eldest of 12, so was actively involved in nurturing such small pink things from a very early age. I guess I was four when I started. Thereafter, I put in serious baby time except when I was at boarding school. And I nursed piglets when I stayed at my grandmother’s farm. Piglets were very similar to babies, but they had tails.
Hard to believe that babies turn into hulking young men; or forceful young women—or whatever—with all their associated complications. Sometimes I think life would be much easier if they had remained small and biddable—though are children ever really biddable? I doubt I am the first parent to have such thoughts. As for babies, however sweet they are, they do have their disadvantages. They fall off things, and get into things, and pull the cat’s whiskers—and they have anti-social sleeping habits, and tend to leak a great deal. Still, when buffed up and freshly packaged, they can be very sweet. I rather miss that stage.
I have five children in all. Kira is a performance artist. Christian is a playwright. Shane is a banker. Evie is in the restaurant business. And Bruff (the youngest) has just graduated and landed not just a First Class degree in History and Political Science—not an easy thing to get—but Trinity’s Gold Medal for academic excellence. Trinity is Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland—established by Elizabeth the First in the sixteenth century to try and civilize the Irish (a vain hope). I went there too, though how I ever got a degree is something I have often wondered about.
I’m proud of them all.