Mothers’ Day was spent sitting at the side of a swimming pool, watching one son win a well-earned bronze medal in backstroke, just reward for recent enthusiasm and hard work, whilst his younger brother swam a valiant 400m with his goggles in his mouth. You’ll probably realise that the mouth is not the ideal location for a pair of goggles, but they dislodged when he dived in and that’s where they ended up. He could have stopped and got out, as 400m is a lot of lengths, but he carried on almost as though nothing had happened in a creditable time, all things considered. They collected more metalwork with their teammates after some exciting relay swims. All in all, not a bad Mothers’ Day.
And by coincidence – because it was a long, long day – I happened to finish my current reading matter on poolside. Reading matter for Mothers’ Day. “Mothers and Sons”, a collection of short stories by Colm Toibin, has been sitting by my bedside for over a year. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get around to reading this as I always enjoy the clarity of Toibin’s writing and, sure enough, once I was into it I couldn’t put it down. The stories were all very different but they tweaked a few emotional heartstrings and the predominantly Irish setting nudged out a childhood memory or two. I have to say that they’re not mother and son stories to lift the spirit and gladden the heart, but a good short story most certainly needs a twist in the tail. If you enjoy short stories, I can surely recommend this, although not necessarily for Mothers’ Day!