Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


All That Waiting

Fred is sitting up in a sun drenched bed playing with an old tool box of mine, looking very industrious as he takes out the screwdrivers testing them against each other. Beside him his mother is lapping up the winter rays of this early morning sun, reading her kindle and enjoying the peace. After a tough couple of days socializing in Dublin she needs the rest and Fred needs to be close to his Mum. They may fight like cats and dogs but he misses her when she goes away, as Lisa does her precious Fred.

This is the end of what has been a full week. Fred had bad confusion on Tuesday night and we kept him home from school Wednesday morning. It was day twenty and we thought it better to be safe than sorry. He slept a lot of the morning, though he came on the journey to drop Lisa to work. In the early afternoon he fell asleep, had a couple of frontal lobes before a full seizure broke through about 4pm. All was fine; he cuddled into me and was in a deep sleep by the time Lisa came home about 5.15pm. He woke about 7pm, had some dinner and came to bed with me about 10pm. All evening Lisa and I were watching him, waiting for the second seizure but none happened. When he was slipping off to sleep I fully expected its arrival but no, he slept soundly. All day Thursday I waited for it but no sign and Fred was dispatched back to school Friday morning, much to his displeasure. He had a great time though, despite his misgivings and the weekend arrived without a hitch.

That seems to be the way with Fred and his epilepsy. When you least expect it he gets an awful kicking and the times you know something is going to happen he gets away lightly. Each time, no matter what the severity, Fred will bounce back, come through smiling and get on with his life. Though he has been tired and has slept a lot it was great to get him back at school on Friday, finishing the week as f nothing had happened.

On Sunday last Fred had asked to go to the Grand Hotel for lunch. The two of us had been there before and he wanted to show the ladies of the house its splendour. We parked outside and Fred led the way in, pushing open the well polished front doors and through to the bar. Though it was packed we found two tables free and pushed them both together. Fred in his element waited for the waitress to come back after she gave us the menus. There really wasn’t a need for the menu as Fred knew exactly what he wanted...

“Ah excuse me,” he said when she came back with her order pad.

The waitress readied her pencil.

“I’ll have a ham, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwich on white bread, please,” not forgetting his manners when ordering. For a drink he had a hot chocolate.

We ate our fill, drank our drinks and had a lovely old time of it. Afterwards the ladies left us to finish up and pay while they went to browse with the other Sunday shoppers. Fred and I decided not to be outdone and went over to Eason’s for a peek at the magazines and to the trade-in store that sells all things electrical. He loves looking at the DVDs in there, hiding the ones he doesn’t already have when I tell him we’re not buying. The idea is to come back another time and buy up the hidden ones, that time when he eventually wears me down with his pestering. All week he asked me if we were going to the “phone shop” as he called it, getting the same answer each time...”not today.” This morning he announced that we were going back this afternoon, another battle looms.

Waiting isn’t one of Fred’s favourite occupations; usually he’ll huff and sigh until either one of us gives in or threatens the end of the world if he doesn’t stop asking. So it is with Christmas. Fred just can’t get over the amount of days he has to wait or the length of time it will take for Santa to arrive. Every morning we mark the days on the calendar, at least that way he has something quantifiable to see but the waiting is still beyond his ken...

“I’m sick of all this waiting,” he said one day, followed by, “why is Santa taking so long? Hasn’t he made my presents already?”

Can’t argue with those questions really but waiting for Christmas is the highlight of Christmas, especially as a kid. When we collected Ruby from school Tuesday afternoon we gave her friend Sarah a lift home too. Fred is mad about Sarah and was delighted to see her get into the car. On top of seeing her she was also carrying her Christmas wreaths and candles which she’s selling to parents, teachers and friends. Seeing all the Christmas stuff was doubly exciting and Fred couldn’t get over Sarah having it all. If she wasn’t the best thing since sliced bread already she certainly was for him on Tuesday evening. Christmas for Fred seemed at little bit more real as if it had arrived or at least wasn’t that far away anymore.

That morning though Christmas had been the last thing on his mind. Coming down the stairs for breakfast Fred still had his eyes half-closed and knocked over one of his mother’s glass cabinets in the hallway. Lisa in the kitchen, rushed out to see what the commotion was and once she saw Fred was ok but her cabinet was on its face the fuck sakes began. As I lifted it the door fell off; though the glass wasn’t broken the hinges had cracked the wood. Fred tried to make it up to his mother but it was one of those events he was better off just leaving go, there wasn’t any coming back from that happening, not immediately. No amount of saying ‘but I love you’ was going to save him, not on that one.

Luckily I was able to fix it, amazing what some superglue from Small Benner’s the Mall Tralee will achieve in a few minutes. Though I did put the hinges on the wrong way around at first, all came together eventually and the cabinet was back in situ by early evening.

Now it is Sunday lunchtime. The low winter sun is still shining and Fred wants a trip to the beach. Not a bad way to finish the first weekend in December with Christmas less than twenty days away.

All that waiting will soon come to an end for Fred.

Santa better not let him down.




Posted by John Verling

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