Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


A November Saturday

It’s a dirty day. The rain is bucketing down; the clouds are dark and heavy. Without a doubt winter is here and the jackets are on again. Going out this morning with Fred the sun was shining, by the time we were coming home the skies were opening and we hadn’t been out that long.

Taking Fred with me at the weekends is something I should do every week. At times I just leave him be, enjoying the break from school and whiling away his day. Then come Sunday evening I always regret that he hasn’t done much, evidenced by his slowness from not being challenged. Fred’s life is challenging, he has many hurdles to overcome, but his brain needs to be challenged too, that is the other side of the coin. So when I said after breakfast that he was to come out with me his first reaction was to say no, or “no, thanks,” as our polite boy puts it. Other weeks I would have said ok but this time I insisted. After a shower and a change of clothes Fred was waiting with a shopping bag, happy to be going out. The two of us set off, leaving Lisa at home; our Ruby had gone to Cork at 7am, school stuff not shopping...

Fred and I drove over to Super-Valu. Inside he set off on his own, something I am getting confident of letting him do, only checking on him every five minutes. When he did come back to me he had some scented Christmas candles in the bag,

“You can’t be taking stuff off the shelves,” I said.

“But I didn’t take it off the shelves my Dad,” he pleaded, “they were on the table over there.”

It took a few minutes of explaining that it doesn’t go down well to pack your bag before paying for goods but he got there in the end. We kept on shopping until Fred found a display of DVDs and spent the rest of the time shifting through them. As a reward for doing good work, he had to pack the bags at the checkout and carry them to the car, he was allowed one that hadn’t already got at home. Since we got back he’s been watching it, happy that his Daddy is happy and not onto him to do something.

All this comes at what I think has been Fred’s first full week at school for a while. Between seizures, illness and school holidays I think it may be his first this term. It was a good week for him; he did his work, did his activities and came out yesterday afternoon with a smile on his face. It was Friday, the weekend was here and no homework, the perfect day really.

Little by little Fred’s schoolwork is improving. Despite setbacks due to days off I can see his writing reading and maths getting better, still behind others of his age group but that can’t concern us now. What is important is for him to catch up, get the basics right so he can move on. At times it feels like pulling teeth but those days are getting fewer; he is making progress. At night now he reads some of his books on his own, not stopping over words he knows but pushing on, getting to the end of a sentence. It may only be a paragraph here and there but it’s an improvement.

During the week Sam Maguire paid a visit to the school and Fred got a lovely photo of himself with the cup. Fred had no knowledge of what the cup was for just that it was a ‘massive trophy the football team won.’ A good way of putting it I suppose.

For the rest of the weekend Fred will take it easy. There is no point in going out, the weather just won’t let up. A call has been put out for Jaden to come over but that doesn’t look likely now.

Fred is happy cuddling his Mum, his Mum is happy to be cuddling him while the rain falls.

A typical November Saturday really.


Posted by John Verling

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