Learner Dad: 'My life has been a failure because I didn’t end up as Ryan Giggs'

It’s time to strike back at the Scouser empire – my son is getting a Manchester United jersey this weekend.
Learner Dad: 'My life has been a failure because I didn’t end up as Ryan Giggs'

Ryan Giggs celebrates after scoring at Old Trafford, Manchester, in 2004. Picture: Paul Barker Getty Images

NEVER  go for a daddy-daughter day when you’re both trying to shake off a virus. (Not THAT virus, relax.) The eight-year-old and I went for cycle down the Marina last Saturday and shared a lemon granita on the pier in Blackrock. 

So far, so amazing. Then we headed to Dunnes to do some shopping. Half way there I realised I’d left my cycling helmet on the roof of the car, and now it was gone. This made me cranky. 

Then we got to Dunnes. For some reason, my wife had told me to buy one item of clothing each for the kids. This is a trap, because my wife has a special face she reserves for when I arrive home with clothes for the kids. 

So, now I’m in the kids' clothes section, tired and cranky because I’m post-viral and lost my helmet, with a tired and cranky post-viral girl who suddenly doesn’t like pink. 

We arrived home 30 minutes later, with no new clothes and ready for a daddy-daughter divorce. We spent the rest of the evening saying sorry to each other and having little hugs, so it was all worthwhile. 

I suppose what I’m really trying to say here is if you find a blue cycling helmet down around Páirc Uí Chaoimh, any chance you could give me a shout?

United we stand: 

I brought the six year old to his first soccer training the other night, on the main pitch in Musgrave Park. I envied him playing out in front of the big stand. I’ve been a failed soccer star since the age of seven  – I still think my life has been a failure because I didn’t end up as Ryan Giggs. 

Two things struck me watching him chasing after the ball with the other six year olds. The first is that the people who coach under-seven soccer (or any sport) must be on very strong tranquillisers. 

Either that or they’re actual living saints, particularly the way they cope with a six year old randomly pealing off one pack of kids chasing a ball to join the pack of seven year olds chasing a ball in the game next door. There were kids all over the shop by the end. And they were happy. 

My guy’s first words coming off the pitch were, ‘Can I come again next week?’ Yes, he can.

The following day , people across Cork wore red for Marymount Hospice and to commemorate the GAA double in 1990. My son came home and said most people were in Liverpool jerseys. That’s funny and sad. 

It’s time to strike back at the Scouser empire – my son is getting a Manchester United jersey this weekend. Hopefully, he’ll take to it like me, and in 40 years' time, he’ll view himself as a failure because he didn’t end up like Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood. That’s the dream anyway.

The afterlife: 

The walk up Tory Top Road (it should be called Tory Top Hill) is getting easier every morning. The kids are more awake than they were a year ago, maybe because they had five months off school, so the walk to school that used to take 20 minutes now takes 10. But because they’re more awake now, it’s chatter all the way. 

This morning my eight year old asked if her two grandads are playing cards together up in heaven. Her six-year-old brother jumped in to point out that she doesn’t believe in heaven, and then they started talking about guardian angels. I let them at it. 

My wife and I had noticed during lockdown that our two kids were retreating a bit from us to have private chats on the trampoline. I’d always assumed they were discussing whose turn it was to go inside and ask for a fun-sized Wispa. Now I learn they were getting stuck into the meaning of life as well.

 I love the way their relationship is skating along. But it also makes me think about what they’ll be saying about me behind my back when I’m old and refusing to take my medication. Maybe I’m just getting maudlin with the evenings closing in.

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