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Sinead Ryan : To most Irish mammies, their sons will always be about eight years old

Niall Horan

Well, there's hope for mammies everywhere, including this one.

You give them life, feed and nurture them, send them to school, pick up after them, stand on endless sidelines cheering them, taxi them around, watch in dismay as the entire week's shopping disappears at midnight on Tuesday and a sliced pan you bought this morning is gone by lunchtime, put up with the thumping music and the experimental bands in the garage and all the time you hope you're getting it right, and not making a complete hames of turning them into thoughtful, happy young men.

I'm still hoping. I have a thoughtful, happy young man so you'd imagine I'd know by now, but no matter what age they are, mammies will worry.

You can marry them off, watch them become fathers and still you wring your hands with concern.

SUCCESSFUL

Well, one mother definitely got it spot on. Her son has become one of the richest, most successful, most adored young men in the world - all at the tender age of 21. And Niall Horan doesn't even do presents for mammy by half, he even paid off her mortgage.

I do hope my own son is reading this.

One Direction is estimated to have earned €97m in the last four years and still seems to be going from strength to strength.

Most of all, its boyband members, and especially our own Niall, seem to be smart, pleasant, grounded lads.

Well done Mrs Horan. Any chance you could show the rest of us how you did it?

I've no doubt though, that she still worries about her baby all alone in that big old London. Is he eating properly? Is he being worked too hard? And what kind of floozies are prancing about him, leading him into all sorts. Sure you couldn't be up to them.

Does she still make daily calls to him? Does she worry if she doesn't hear from him? With the jet-setting, millionaire lifestyle of a pop sensation, is he still her little boy? Yes, yes and oh, yes.

And if Niall thinks that'll change any time soon, he has another think coming. Sons are always, in your head, around eight and a half years old.

They may be big strapping blokes with a wife and children of their own, but none of that matters. Long after you see your daughters off to their adult lives, their careers and families, you retain some hope that your son mightn't want to leave you.

The 'Irish Mammy' isn't just a myth and most of us, myself included, who had brothers vowed over and over not to treat our own sons the way our mothers did, but we fail, miserably.

Despite your best intentions they become more spoiled than the girls and somehow less capable in the big wide world.

But I can't get into all that now - I have to make his school lunch for tomorrow.


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