Splish Splash

Here is a post I forgot to publish about Eabha:


“My tummy is full of butterflies…I’m so nervous!!”…Her tension was visible from a distance as she waited her turn in the relay….her fellow classmates willing them all to win. 4 girls swimming their hearts out. As I watched them from the gallery I felt a joy for life that had slowly been extinguished over time resurrect again as if from the ashes. The group huddle…the nervous dance and singing of chants…the waves to their families….it felt like the Olympics..a rite of passage. It easy to become complacent with old age and dismiss new experiences with a “Been there…done that!!”….Do you remember that feeling of the new…a overwhelming sense of fear of the unexpected.

Èabha has always had that fear of the unknown…a worried look of pained expression before the leap followed by a smile of relief at her conquest. This was very evident at the swimming gala last thursday but she always comes up trumps. There have been moments when there will be a get out clause. Her escape hatch phrase will always be “I have a pain in my tummy…..”…said with a whimpering voice that wasn’t there seconds before but with an expression of someone who has mistakenly stepped into the most quickening of quick sands. The expectation from her will be that you must grab a ladder…if not a ladder a piece of rope…if not a rope..there must be a branch to hand….for Gods sake you must find some other bodies to aid you….but at all costs get me out of the “QUICKSAND”!!

The vision of her slowly sinking unable to move her limbs…powerless and dependent on you to make that split decision to aid her in her moment of need. This happened on one occasion when my wife dropped her at a party for one of her many acquaintances from her short life so far.. ..the circumstances were not to her satisfaction…just as Niamh was exiting the housing estate of the birthday girl, she got a call from the mother of the child with Èabha in the background shouting out the codeword “QUICKSAND”….Sometimes the codeword must be ignored and it is imperative to carry on through the desert without her!! It can get to the stage where the codeword is used for any dodgy encounter that she feels may interfere with her day. The majority of the time the fear is swallowed with a gulp of air and she bounds away with gusto….


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