Colum Mooney as a fireman for Halloween.April Drew

Halloween has come and gone. It was a strange one this year.

The adults may not have enjoyed it so much but the trick-or-treaters certainly made the most of throwing snowballs at each other over the weekend while picking up candy from neighbors on the way.

Our 11-month-old, Colum, was beyond fascinated by the first (and unexpected) snowfall of the season on Saturday. He kept arching his hands towards the sky and giggling when this foreign white powdery stuff landed on him. It was a pleasure to share this moment with him.

And on Monday (Halloween), dressed as a fireman, Colum was far more interested in the hard snow on the ground than he was with the scary witches and carved pumpkins.

There really isn’t much to report this week. Colum’s granny (my husband’s mom Mary) is due to arrive on Friday.  We are excited for her to see her grandson.  She was last here for his christening in February.

The plans for moving home next May are falling into place nicely, mainly in the shopping department where we have been picking up bits and pieces for the house we don’t have in Ireland. Macy’s had a great sale on this past weekend and John was in a generous mood.

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Unfortunately my brother Gavin, my only sibling, was in a car accident back at home on Sunday night. He is a Garda (police officer) in Killaloe, Co. Clare and was on duty when it happened. I’m still not clear of the details, but getting a text from my mother late into the night was frightening. Thankfully he is fine. He did break a bone in his spine and is unable to go back to work for at least three months, has to wear a back brace for the same duration and can’t drive for the immediate future but he is alive and in great form.

The outcome could have been a lot worse. As he joked to me, “My job can be back breaking work sometimes.”

Like anyone who has received these kind of messages from 3,000 miles away (and in some cases the news is a lot worse) a feeling of overwhelming guilt sets in and then a sadness that you are helpless from so far away. I guess in our situation it makes it a little easier to know that in six months we will be back home with family.

A friend of mine who was recently married has been mulling over having children or not. She loves children but is very concerned that she isn’t “cut out for motherhood.”

I’ve explained to her over and over again the joy Colum brings to our family and the endless hours of happiness I personally receive every day from just being around him.  I love being a mother more than anything in the world, and I love a lot of things, so I know for a fact my friend would be a great mother because she too has so much love to give. However, her concerns aren’t so much if she will enjoy it or love a new addition. It’s another concern.

“April, you know how clumsy I am. What if I make silly mistakes that are detrimental to a baby?” she recently shared.

I laughed because I had the same reservations while I was pregnant. “If I can have a child and do a relatively good job then you can too,” I replied.

And here is why. Anyone that knows me would certainly compare me to the movie character Bridget Jones in the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary.

These are just some examples of the endless list of things I’ve done and in most cases said in the past that were downright embarrassing.

The most recent situation is one involving losing my undergarments in public. Yes, you read correctly. This I partially blame on my mother and here is why.

When I was young I would see my mother putting on a second pair of knickers over her tights (panty hose) to keep them up and in place. Because of my expanding belly (I’m now five and a half months pregnant) it’s very difficult for me to keep up tights.
 
And last week, wanting to wear a dress that still fit, I had a flashback of Liz (my mother) putting on an extra pair of underwear to secure her tights. And so I did the same.

I went about my duties for the day. Once or twice I still had to pull up my tights, making me reconsider if this additional piece of underwear was doing its job at all. It wasn’t until I got out of my car, Colum in one hand, that I realized it wasn’t!

As I took a step backwards I began to trip, nearly losing the grip I had on my son. Thank god the car broke my fall. The reason I tripped?

The additional undergarment had fallen right below my knees for the world to see. Oh lord god, the embarrassment!

There was a family across the road who moments earlier I had politely saluted. There I was in broad daylight attempting to pull back up my underwear before they caught a glimpse of my intimates (while still holding Colum in my arms).

Come to think of it that same family didn’t darken our door on Halloween. Maybe that’s why!

This isn’t the first clothing malfunction I’ve had and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
One of my first jobs in New York was in a local office. One fine spring morning I was strutting my stuff down the Bronx River Road on my way to work. I was wearing a shirt and a tight knee length skirt.

I was a little freaked out by the amount of cars that pulled over to wolf whistle or make unpleasant comments. When I arrived at the office I was quickly made aware why I was receiving so much unnecessary attention that morning.

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The slit on my skit had torn all the way up my skirt and basically left nothing to the imagination for passing traffic as I confidently strutted down the road. It took me a few weeks to get over that one!

Following the office job I worked for a year or so in a local restaurant. I was clearly not made for waitressing but enjoyed every minute of it.

One afternoon I thought I’d made a grim discovery though. Our boss made a wonderful rice pudding every day, but on one particular occasion I stumbled across something that I thought was a danger to the customers.

As I was scooping out the pudding for a customer I saw this rather large piece of what I thought was rubber. I quickly removed it, destroying the pie in the process and brought it to the attention of the owner.

“Look what I found in the rice pudding, a piece of rubber,” I quietly told him in a concerned manner out of the earshot of customers.

I unveiled the “rubber” from a piece of tissue and the response I got wasn’t one I expected. The owner fell back against the wall in a fit of laughter.

“April,” he said between breaths, “that’s a cinnamon stick to give the pudding flavor.”
And as the jobs came and went, so did the clumsy acts.

A few years ago while on an assignment for the Irish Voice I was sent down to city hall to report on the first ever official joint visit to New York by then First Minister of Northern Ireland Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. Such an historic visit brought a lot of media attention with it.

I was sitting next to a man with a reporter’s notebook and pen from Northern Ireland, a lovely gentleman. We were chatting about New York and the sights for a while.


Then entered the ministers and out of my mouth came, “Ah he really is so cute isn’t he, look at those cheeks.” This was said referencing Ian Paisley.

My neighbor laughed and didn’t agree or disagree with me. Speeches started and I began taking notes.

When it came to Paisley’s turn to speak he firstly thanked his son for all his hard work and dedication.

When the applause began I quickly realized that the man I assumed was a reporter to my right was Ian Paisley Junior. Needless to say I didn’t open my mouth to him for the rest of the time.

A few months later Bono was in town at the UN I was sent over to report from the scene and was lucky enough to get a short interview with the U2 front man.

I began asking him all about his charity work, when half way through his emotive explanation of world poverty I felt the need to reach out, rub his arm and tell him what a great lad he was.

As I moved my hand up and down his right arm, which made embarrassing squeaky noises because of his leather jacket, out of my mouth came “You’re a great man Bono, you really are.”

It only took me a split second to realize what I was doing/saying and I quickly made my exit. I’m sure Bono needed to hear how great a job he was doing from a Kerry woman living in New York! Oh I still cringe when I think of it.

And all these embarrassing stories are just the tip of the iceberg my friends.

So the moral of the story, I guess, is if someone clumsy like me can get it together and raise a child (and hopefully a second one in February) and do a pretty good job then my friend can too.

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