Mammy Byrne’s New Chair

comments 5

I’ve been missing in action over the last few weeks. It’s been really hectic in the Shiel’s house. I’ve returned to college to pursue a post grad and there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I actually miss writing the blogs though and find myself thinking that certain events in my day to day life would be prefect to write about! Having spent the weekend in the company of my sister and her lovely family I’ve lots of ideas and inspiration for todays  post. However, I have been warned that the events of the weekend are not to appear in print for at least eighteen months. So I’m relying on my memory which is completely biased for todays instalment.

Every day in the Byrne household was much the same as the last, give or take a minor detail or three. Most mornings mum got up before the crack of dawn and cleaned the house before myself and my big sister surfaced. I was never any good at getting out of bed on a school mornings so, morning calls always consisted of lots of shouting. It was usually my name followed by “I’m warning you, if you’re not up in five minutes I’ll kill you”. Of course being killed was much preferable to going to school! Dad would be getting ready to head to Dublin and would try coaxing me along. Both Mum and Dad’s efforts where never very successful and there was always tears and tantrums before I was pushed out the door to catch the bus. So God alone knows what the chain of events where that kicked of the row between me and mammy this particular day.

If morning time was fraught with tears, homework time was no better. Homework had to be done before I was allowed out to play. I’d sit at the kitchen table and start of in fairly good spirits. Mammy Byrne would be pottering about doing a few bits and pieces in the house and chatting to me periodically. Great, happy out! Until I’d hit a problem. No matter what solution Mammy Byrne would suggest it wouldn’t be right. “It wasn’t the way the teacher did”. There would be much huffing, and puffing. Lots of crying and whinging until I’d start to shout and yes more often than not scream. I know, not my proudest moment. Mammy Byrne would threaten to throw the books in the fire which was always glowing when we arrived home from school. The threats would be followed by her actually grabbing the books from the table and marching to the fire. This was usually the sign for me to calm down and apologise.

I obviously missed the hint this day and kept arguing with Mammy Byrne. Seemingly, I always had to have the last word. Well on the day in question Mammy Byrne decided that I was going to have no more words, first or last. I was taken by the arm and dragged up the stairs. Mammy Byrne was way ahead of her time, time out in my bedroom was what was needed. Well, that’s what would have happened had I shut up talking back. Instead by the time we got to the room Mammy Byrne had a brilliant new idea, there would be no more words if she got the pillow that lay neatly on my bed and placed it on my head!

Luckily for me, and Mammy Byrne, my sis arrived home and bounded up the stairs to see what was going on. There she found Mammy Byrne perched comfortably on a pillow on my head. I think her exact words where “she’s not worth going to jail for!!!! Get of her quick”.

My mum called over last Thursday and I was asking her what had driven her to put a pillow on my head, her answer was “oh Karen, you always HAD to have the last word, ALWAYS, but don’t feel bad I was talking to a guy today whose mother did the same to him. She ended up having to get psychiatric help. At least you never pushed me over the edge, close to it at times, but never over it!”




The Author

I'm living on the Leitrim border with my lovely husband and two terrific kids. It's the little piece of heaven that I dreamed of growing up. I work in Adult Education by day and during my free time I read, write, knit, plant and bake not always in that order. I blog about life, love, family and everything in between. Pull up a chair and have a browse while you're here. All the best, Karen


  1. laura says

    Well written Karen I enjoyed the read more please, the schooling clearly worked on the English written …..


  2. A great solution for those who insist on having the last word. I only wish that I had the gumption to do what Mammy Byrne to some dearly loved ones!


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