emigrant · Parenting

Far-From-Fair-Weather Friends

“Have you read ‘I Found My Tribe?’ I ask my friend. “No, is it good?”. I pour water from the kettle into my whiskey. “A bit flowery for me but an interesting read. She’s a very strong woman”, I say of the author Ruth Fitzmaurice. I turn round and lean on the kitchen counter. “I’ll give you mine”, I add. She thanks me and tops up her glass of white wine.

The last time we chatted it was about ‘Asking For It‘, by Lousie O’Neill, which we’ve both read. We didn’t go into possible parallels with the rugby case in the papers.  I thought of mentioning it. She may well have too. But we didn’t. I don’t know why, thinking about it now.
Another friend joins us. The three of us share a laugh at the text on my mug (“le mug d’une maman parfait”), considering the fact that it is filled with hot whiskey.  “You’re disguising your drinking from your children. Surely that makes it totally true”. You can always rely on good friends to out a good spin on a situation.
Speaking of situations, we get on to talking about the snow just as the fourth and final of our party arrives. The kids love the snow. Work is cancelled or being done from home. The shops are out of bread in Dublin 6 but in Dublin 8 they’re not. The avocados and the tonic are sold out over there though. One city, different priorities. We coo over photos of children in the snow, making snowballs and planning to build an igloo . They are all in bed now, jaded from the exertion, thrills and cold. One husband stocked up on gin and creme eggs. That gets smirks and eye rolls. Chocolate is good for a crisis, we grant him that.
Talk turns to the big snow of ’82. It is one of the stories my parents often regaled us with as children. Four under fives including my one week old sister under the sole care of my mother while my father was hiking through snow drifts in north country Dublin trying to get home from work. He didn’t. Not that night anyway. Too much snow. Too dark. He appeared the next day, on foot. How many 30 year old fathers of four would chance that now? How many young mothers would sit at home with a newborn, two toddlers and a junior infant,  little or no idea of where her husband was or if he’d make it home. Keep calm, keep warm, keep the fire going.
Inside I am jealous of the current crisis, the stockpiling of food, the comparing of stories, the days off and the snow day excitement. I give in and type “So jealous. We’ve no snow here” into our What’s App chat. With these ladies, my best friends for over 20 years, distance doesn’t matter. A chat and a catch up does.
Cheers girls. Enjoy that snow.

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