My sister commented recently that she wished her childhood had been as colourful as mine. It made me think. I remember growing up wishing I was as cool and popular as my older sister. Raised in the same house by the same parents we managed to grow into two very different people each with their own depiction of exactly how certain events unfolded.
I often sit and watch my two tiny terrors and marvel at how different they both are. A teacher once commented that it was hard to believe that they were reared in the same house. It is true that they are two very unique individuals however running through their core is something that binds them together which I hope remains strong throughout their lives.
I’m not exactly sure how my memories seem more colourful than my lovely sisters. It may be a side effect of being a little melodramatic. As I watch my 10-year-old have a crisis about the way her fringe sits I get flash backs to school mornings when I would be up before the crack of dawn to wash and blow dry my hair so that it would sit in a perfect ponytail. I cringe when I remember the tears and tantrums that would result in a stray hair daring to misbehave!
While there was a part of me that longed to run away and live in a camper van travelling the world there was another part that needed order and structure, a socket for the hairdryer, that always won out.
So instead of joining a kibbutz I moved to Leitrim. Where me and my obsession with having things neat, tidy and ordered lived happily ever after. Well, almost.
In my other life, before I became a mum, I loved to have things matching. This little preoccupation ran as far as my underwear drawer. Just like it is imperative that I hang the washing on the line with pegs that are identical in shape and colour it was essential that my underwear matched each morning. After all, you never know when you might get hit by a bus!
As you can probably tell I had very little to worry about way back then. However, that proverbial bus can strike, trust me, I know.
The morning I returned to work after my honeymoon, I woke late and got into a real panic. I grabbed the nearest clothes to hand and rushed out the door not even thinking of the matching rule! Silly me.
I filled the car to the brim with petrol and took of over the lovely windy roads from Longford to Athlone. Delighted that it was summer and there would be no school runs to contend with. Soon I was stuck behind a white transit; ‘not to worry’, I thought, ‘straight stretch ahead’.
As I neared the straight stretch I began to overtake and all went well until the front wheel clipped the grass verge as I pulled back in. Next thing I knew I was being flung about as my car flipped over and skidded up the road. Eventually it came to a stop, and all I could think was how mortified I was as the guy in the transit made his way over to get me out of the car which was spewing petrol all over the road.
Guards, ambulance and my lovely husband of four weeks were called as I sat in the passenger seat of the transit van praying for the ground to open up and swallow me.
It seemed like an eternity before my lovely husband arrived and I’m sure if he had been five minutes sooner I could have persuaded him to just take me home. However, the ambulance appeared at the same time.
I was strapped to one of those backboards, a brace was placed about my neck and my head was taped to the stretcher. I was whisked into the back of the ambulance and really expected the works. Sirens and lots of speed.
Not a hope, because I may have sustained a back injury we took it really slow. I didn’t get my E.R moment.
On arrival I was met by a team of doctors and nurses all expecting horrific injuries after hearing the details of the crash. Sure, there wasn’t a scratch to be seen.
After a cursory examination they suggested taking of my trousers to examine my legs. And this my friends is where it all went pear-shaped.
I suddenly remembered that in my rush to get to work I had put on the first knickers that had come to hand and my instant reaction was to tell the lovely doctors and nurses that there would be no way they would be taking my trousers off today.
The ambulance nurse tried to be the voice of reason, explaining to the rest of the staff that I was in shock, maybe if they left me for a few moments I would calm down and comply. Little did she know.
All would have been well if it had not been for the fact that when my x-rays where checked the following week a fracture was found on my spine.
The lesson I learnt? To ruthlessly clear out my underwear drawer on a monthly basis!