My son is passing many early milestones but there’s one that’s for me to reflect on | Séamas O'Reilly

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I find it difficult to look astatine my boy and ideate what it’s for illustration to beryllium his age. This is chiefly owed to nan insoluble problem of memory. I clasp a vaporous grasp connected my early childhood, small much than a vague timeline of day parties, summertime holidays and random interactions successful superior school, mostly from eras truthful indeterminate they could beryllium from immoderate twelvemonth earlier I turned 10.

His life is besides truthful different from excavation I’m not judge if transposing my ain puerility connected to his would beryllium overmuch use. At his age, my full life had been lived pinch my monolithic family connected Derry’s agrarian border, a spot he only knows arsenic a benignant of pleasant agrarian taxable parkland that’s been bully capable to fto his grandad unrecorded connected tract full-time.

My son, by contrast, is increasing up successful 2024 London, subsumed wrong a afloat connected online age, sharing his clip pinch 1 related alternatively of 10. He’s acquainted capable pinch hummus and pomegranate seeds to mention to them by sanction arsenic he refuses them from his plate, whereas I was 16 earlier I encountered a curry that was not listed arsenic ‘curry’ connected a menu.

When he hears friends chat to their parents successful Urdu, Polish and Igbo, I retrieve that I was considered rather nan exotic because excavation were from Fermanagh. It is imaginable he has ne'er tasted, nor moreover heard nan word ‘potato bread’ successful his life. It is definite he’s ne'er heard ‘bomb scare’.

The logic this is each coming backmost to maine now is that he’s passed a milestone. It is 3 weeks earlier his sixth birthday, which intends my boy is now precisely nan property I was erstwhile my mother died successful 1991. My representation of that clip is, understandably, etched successful acheronian marble and it gives maine a dart of symptom to spot that arena successful his context.

I look astatine this small, silly and benignant small red-headed personification and, though he whitethorn beryllium much startled by cows and acquainted pinch quinoa than I ever was, I suddenly spot myself each excessively easily. A boy excessively young to comprehend nan finality and scary of death. A boy truthful guiltless he plays Uno pinch each his cards face-up, nary matter really galore times we show him not to.

His ain explorations astir nan granny he’s ne'er met are infrequent sometimes sympathetic, and often charmingly inept. A few months ago, he posited a mentation that each humans died erstwhile they turned 100, to which we mildly replied that astir group died a small earlier than that. ‘Oh yeah, for illustration your mummy!’ he remembered aloud pinch a breezy smile, invoking my mother’s decease arsenic cheerfully arsenic you mightiness shout, ‘Marinus van der Lubbe!’ astatine a pub quiz.

He couldn’t understand why we laughed truthful much, and I evidently won’t beryllium mentioning this peculiar milestone to him either. It’s for maine to bespeak on, arsenic I console myself that we are each happy and healthy, and nan worst of each worlds seems very acold away. It is simply a beautiful evening and a crippled of Uno is connected nan horizon. I won’t spell easy connected him – immoderate things he must study for himself – but I mightiness conscionable make him immoderate murphy bread.

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