Dear Conor, Iarla, Liam and Brendan,
My lovely, lovely boys. I am going to take this opportunity to put pen to paper and give you a few words of advice. I know this will go in one ear and out of the other as it did mine when I was growing up but it is true what they say; your mother knows best. It might all seem like a complete conspiracy theory and appear that everything is a huge attempt to spoil your fun and make your life a misery. Not so. It is just a human mother’s effort to preserve you and your precious life, your ego, heart and soul. Plus her own life, heart and soul because I never believed it either, but that is exactly what your kids are. Stop rolling your eyes and pay attention, this is important stuff. Please, please, I beg of you all, never, ever get into a car with loads of your mates. Especially if it is late at night and one or more of them have been drinking. Someone else is always just a phone call away. Call a friend or a parent and they will come to collect you.
Never start smoking. I am not naïve enough to think that you’ll probably give it a try but leave it at that. Let your friends think, do and say what they want; they are your lungs, it is your health and your money. Would you set fire to a ten euro note? No. Course not. But that’s exactly what you will be doing if you start smoking. You will smell. You will taste awful. Your fingers will be yellow and so will your teeth. Don’t be yellow, learn to say no.
Have a drink. Have many. But know when you’ve had enough. Have a good time but know when to stop. Learn from that first hang over from hell. I realise that this is possibly the piece of advice that will be ignored first and for the longest time. I may not be happy about it but I accept it. Just know I will not tolerate excuses if stupid things are done under the influence of drink. That includes the above regarding cars and alcohol.
Please give drugs a wide berth. If I have to be told something I would prefer to hear that you get rip roaring drunk every weekend and smoke like chimneys, than hear you experimented with drugs. This is not a licence, however, to get rip roaring drunk at the weekends and smoke like chimneys!
Remain happy, healthy and confident. These are three basic human rights and if you have those, you can work from there. Enjoy school, enjoy the experience of learning and hopefully you might continue on to college. Be confident in yourselves, expect others to treat you with respect and have the ability to speak out if this doesn’t happen. I in turn, as your mother, hope to do my job properly and instill this confidence in you.
Try to find a job you like and are good at. Hopefully by the time you are out in the working world, things will have improved. Travel before settling down. Don’t allow your first relationship to run for more than a year. (It’s as I suspected. I am a mother in law from hell in training.)
I fear you all getting hurt, both physically and emotionally. I fear you falling foul to the good things in life, so much so that you won’t know when to stop. I fear you not having a good time.
Know the difference between right and wrong and accept the consequences of both. Value family, especially each other. Remember, some things hurt more, much more than cars and girls. Have respect for others and yourselves and the confidence and ability to take a stand for what you believe in.
Laugh at yourself but don’t stand for anyone else laughing at you. And last but by absolutely no means least. Practice safe sex. I wouldn’t mind being a grandmother someday, but I would like to be well into my 60’s when and if that happens because that means you will all be well into your 20’s, heading towards your third decade. I know you know everything and I’m talking through my hat again, but if one thing is going to curtail your good times, it will be a mini you. But, with a bit of luck you will, one day, find yourself holding a tiny, helpless newborn being. Listen up now. For here it is. The Holy Grail. The insight into how to survive the early days of life with a new baby. If she, the mother of your child, asks you, dear sons of mine, to stand on your head in a corner, juggle two ten pin bowling balls and read the golden pages from back to front. Don’t ask any questions. Just do it!
Eat your greens!
Oh yes, and wear sunscreen. You each have half of my genes, remember? That means crisping up like a rasher at the first hint of sun.
I am, today, tomorrow and always, here for you all. I might shout, rant and rage if I hear something I don’t like but that doesn’t mean I won’t love you any less. My bark might be worse than my bite but I have a pretty loud bark.
Life is good lads, life is good. Some people believe that we are here for a good time and not for a long one. That may be true but please don’t be obnoxious and act like it.
Your loving and long suffering mother. I love you all.