The Funniest Thing She Had Ever Heard Gráinne

A View of O'Connell Street (detail). George Petrie © National Gallery of Ireland

One day I was taking my darling mother to Galway for a weekend away. Galway was always one of my mother’s favourite places, as that's where we would spend our annual family summer holidays. My aunt had a hotel there, and we still have lots of relatives in the area.

It was a beautiful day as we drove along from Donegal. We were chatting, singing and listening to Daniel O’Donnell: the usual aspects of any relatively long car journey. At one point, my mother looked at me and said, ‘We're great friends, aren't we?’ I responded with the usual, ‘Of course we are, Darling.’

‘We know each other a long time, don't we?’

‘Of course we do Darling; sure I know you since the day I was born!’ was my reply. Well, she looked at me with real intensity, as if I was stupid.

‘What are you talking about?’ she said, in disgust.

‘Well, it's like this, Darling,’ I said, ‘You are my mother, I'm your daughter, and I used to be inside you!’

She looked at me, hard; then burst out laughing – a real hearty laugh. She laughed and laughed and looked at me and said, ‘You are losing it. You've gone crazy!'

I wanted to cry and scream at the realisation that, in that moment, my gorgeous, wonderful, adorable mother – who had always told us that she loved us with all her heart, soul, body and kidneys – had no idea who I was. But I didn't cry. I started to laugh, too, because I realised that, to her, this was the funniest thing she had ever heard. What was the point in making it any more than that? Live for the funny moments: you never know where or when you'll find them.