After saying goodbye on Sunday to my childhood friends, Zoe and Lorna, the following day we said another goodbye to Ciarán, Barry’s childhood friend, who now lives with his beautiful wife and children in Chicago. We hope you had a safe journey and thank you for coming all the way over to see us. My mother in law, Joan, made the observation that Ciarán, who was Barry’s best man overlapped his visit with Zoe, who was my bridesmaid. We all came together once more as we shared an evening out in the Ballymore Inn.
On Tuesday we were back at the Ballymore Inn again (thanks to Georgina and Barry for making our meal extra special. The boys loved the kitchen tour :)). We were there following a very unique and special occasion. We decided only a few days ago that it would be a beautiful moment shared between brothers if both Oisin and Cillian were baptised. Before our lives turned along this incredible road, Barry and I had decided to allow our children to decide for themselves if they wished to be baptised. Going through this experience makes one think a lot about religion and spirituality. We feel very connected on so many levels with our friends and our family right now and we know that it means a lot for Barry’s mother and father to see their grandchildren baptised. So without going into it all too much we simply decided to organise this spiritual event for the boys to share together and to try and do so on the day that my mum and dad came over from England to visit. That gave us 2 days to plan and book it in but it all came together wonderfully. Yvonne and Bren, we are thrilled you accepted your role as God Parents, you have both been around us in body, heart and spirit during this experience. Whilst my sister, Lisa and her family and Barry’s older brother, Niall and his family were not physically present we know you were with us in spirit. Lisa and Andy, we love that you think of the boys as “Yorkshire Shamrocks.” Izzy and Niall, thank you for the powerfully written poem, which I have included at the end of this blog. Msgr. Wilson, you were unflappable from start to finish. Throughout the boys chattering, cracker munching and general bounciness, throughout the various CD players we were trying to get working, throughout our unusual choices of kids songs, you remained still and present. I was touched by your mention of Viktor Frankl, “Man’s Search for Meaning”. As a psychologist, I have drawn from his work many times over the years to help others who experienced deep suffering and loss. His message inspires me still as I too must find meaning in our present suffering. There were humorous points too, like when Cilly took a little too well to putting the water on his head during his baptism and kept taking the beautiful ornamental shell to pour more and more water on his locks. Msgr. Wilson commented he had never seen a boy so into baptism as Cilly! As for Oisin, well he simply took it all in, as he always does when he is in church. For some time now, Oisin has himself chosen to go with Granny and Grandad to mass whenever we are up to visit Ballymore. He never gets restless like other boys might. He always sits so calmly, looking at the beautiful stained glass windows, observing the ritual of the communion, taking in the words spoken, receiving a blessing. Although only 3 years old, his draw to faith, or whatever it is that resonates within him, is enough for us to know baptism is right for him and is a gift to share with his brother. If we needed any more reassurance than that we got it when we walked in the church. Fluttering around the ceiling was, for the third time in just three weeks, a beautiful Red Admiral butterfly. Father Wilson commented that he had never seen one in the Church until that moment. Bren was outside just before the ceremony and through the rain he saw a full rainbow shining above. I may have had uncertainty many times along my path, but experiences like this leave me with no question that we are so much more than our physical bodies. We are all truly incredible, compassionate beings.
After the emotions of the day before, we spent today quietly. Oisin did his favourite activity of playing with his cars, Cilly with his horses. We had family visits from Tipperary (Conor and Aidan – Thank you Conor and Loretto for your gifts and for Márie’s home cooking donation) and Bren’s friend dropped by with two gorgeous hand made super hero cushions (thank you, Fiona). Teresa and her 2 adorable grandchildren popped in with a couple of goldfish for the boys. What a very thoughtful gesture. Originally, Cilly had given one fish the name “Small” and so Oisin decided his fish was going to be named, “Little.” However, Cilly took offense that his brother was copying him by calling his fish “Little” so now the boys are trying to think of new names!!! Yup, these boys are typical brothers with their typical brother squabbles and possessiveness. How we love them.
I leave you with the poem Izzy sent us, which was read so beautifully by Yvonne at the baptism of Cilly and Oisin, our Yorkshire Shamrocks……
AN AFRICAN ELEGY
We are the miracles that God made
To taste the bitter fruit of Time.
We are precious.
And one day our suffering
Will turn into the wonders of the earth.
There are things that burn me now
Which turn golden when I am happy.
Do you see the mystery of our pain?
That we bear poverty
And are able to sing and dream sweet things
And that we never curse the air when it is warm
Or the fruit when it tastes so good
Or the lights that bounce gently on the waters?
We bless things even in our pain.
We bless them in silence.
That is why our music is so sweet.
It makes the air remember.
There are secret miracles at work
That only Time will bring forth.
I too have heard the dead singing.
And they tell me that
This life is good
They tell me to live it gently
With fire, and always with hope.
There is wonder here
And there is surprise
In everything the unseen moves.
The ocean is full of songs.
The sky is not an enemy.
Destiny is our friend.