A Parent’s Time of Bittersweet

Photo shows Daíre with his teacher Máire Browne, his school bag & his bike(!) on his last day in Scoil San Phroinsias. Notice his whiteshirt that is covered with personal messages from his classmates, a lovely tradition now common in Irish schools.

As a parent I have experienced over the last few month’s extreme emotions, those of great sadness and those of great joy.
On June 26th, my youngest son Dáire left his primary school for the very last time, thus bringing to an end an unbroken family connection with Scoil san  Phroinsias in Galway city that went back to June 1996 when my oldest son Shane started his education there.
When I collected Daire on that June day I shed a few tears not just because I was a proud parent, but because  I realised that, for me, it was also the end of an era. 

I loved that school so much, the commitment of its teachers; the joy and enthusiasm of its pupils; the colour and variety of projects on display in the classrooms; the great array of concerts, fests, sports days and fund-raising that were held in and on behalf of the school. It is a fine institution with a strong learning, respect and discipline ethos. Scoil san  Phroinsias was and is the hub of the local neighbourhood; it is what binds us together as a community.

But on a personal level there is void inside me that will not be filled for a very long time. For I enjoyed so much being a father of a young child. I enjoyed walking up to school in the morning, holding my child’s hand, talking to him about his friends and his class, sharing a joke or two with other parents as I waved him goodbye from the school gate.  Now I know that I will never experience those feelings again, ever.

On a professional level, I work as a university Education Science, Technology and Heritage Outreach Officer. My main area of activity is in schools. So I would always bounce ideas and projects off my sons that I was working on, get their opinions, before I would roll them out into the classrooms. Over the years, I have learnt so much from my children. They (along with Cepta) were my mentors, my advisors, my confidantes. I am so lucky to have such great kids.
In June, Shane completed his last undergraduate examination at NUI Galway.
On Monday, Daíre  started his first day in post-primary school.
Life goes on and so must I. New challenges await.
Still, I always treasure happy memories of the boys’ childhood days.
On behalf of Cepta and myself, thank you so much Shane, Daire and Scoil San Phrioinsias.

Dáire's last school lunch pack

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