I am gifted with a family that if I could, I would choose. That said, I’m only including my immediate family in that, seeing as if I could I would boot a few of my extended family members out into a different universe, and then turn them into goats or similar avatars that they couldn’t cause trouble with.
My mother is someone I can confide almost anything in. She’s like a best friend to me, not at all haughty and grown up. She levels with me, talks to me and not at me and in my memory she’s never laid a hand on me that wasn’t placed with the intention of patting me affectionately on the head. We share a love, an obsession, with writing and books and I’m told constantly how amazing she is. I wholeheartedly agree; my mother is an inspirational person. She is selfless yet not saintly; she gives her time to those who deserve it and starves those who don’t of her expertise. She’s someone who can get things done and who gets things done, who organises with instinctual prowess. She’s someone I entrust everything to.
|My mum. Pic by Emma Tobin|
I wrote about her for the Mother of the Year Award, but apparently mothers who bake cookies and spend all day in the gym are valued over mothers who go to work, come home from work, do more work, cook dinner, clean most of the house, present a radio show, coordinates an adult and a young adult writing group and still find time to be interested in your day, what you’re cooking in Home Economics, what you’re thinking of doing for your project and read everything you write. I wouldn’t trade my mother for any other mother in the universe, and any other universes you can think of.
I always describe my dad as ‘the cutest thing ever’ and pretty much since birth, I’ve had him firmly wrapped around my little finger. He kind of pops in and out of my room, sticking his head in the door to notice and compliment my new hair style, ask me what I’m playing on my PlayStation (the answer to which is always Skyrim) and pick up my book and ask if I’ve read this one or that one, and what I thought of it. He knows when to be discreet and fail to notice certain products that I have scattered over my desk or articles of clothing kicked under various pieces of furniture, not quite out of sight. When he notices me lying on the couch in the kitchen, staring blankly into space, he immediately concludes that I must be out of books, which is always the case, and takes me to Whitewater and gets me one.
I asked him to buy me the Game of Thrones book very nicely and he arrived upstairs after Amazon delivered them with the entire collection of them in a pretty set, and when my mam said I could have them after the mocks he acted quite as indignant as me and together we wore her down. He’s just a nice guy, a sweet, caring man who wants the best for me i.e. Trinity, and who will support me whatever I decide to do, unless it’s become a serial killer.
Friends are the family you choose for yourself, and though I’m fairly happy with what nature provided me with in terms of family, my friends are important to me. Not in a, “I have 673 friends on Facebook” kind of way. My circle has always been fairly small, but diverse. I don’t necessarily like who my friends like. If I like someone, I’ll be friends with them regardless of what other people I like think of them.
|Mum and I. Pic by Shane Murphy|
I always try to be the best kind of friend to my friends, and I expect the same treatment in return. Someone who puts me down is not my friend; someone who is honest with me, and true to their own heart, is my friend. I never put my friends, or other people in general, down and I expect the same treatment in return. People are under enough pressure to be this and that without me adding to the load. I never discriminate based on how academically ‘smart’ people are; I like them for who they are and I recognise their talents.
Above all, I never, ever use the ‘I was only joking’ excuse. You either make your joking intention clear before you say something or you are basically saying it with full intention. If you say something unkind about someone, something that you know in your heart will hurt them; you owe them not to pretend that you were joking. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys hurting other people, you had better let them know that, so that they can distance themselves from you without being permanently hurt.
I like to be a good friend and I expect to have good friends, because they are the family that I am choosing, the people that I allow to truly know me and they had better damn well deserve it.