This week’s lunar and solar peregrinations were a carefully planned overture to our daughter, Caoimhe’s 40th birthday today. The finale will take place in the South side of Glasgow this evening with a magnificent constellation of friends attending.
All very different from the morning of 21st March in Western Province, Zambia, 40 years ago where Liz and I were teaching in Kaoma Secondary School. About 3.00 am, my wife went to the bathroom and when she returned to bed, she told me that the waters had burst. I replied that I hadn’t heard it, assuming in my Irish man way, that she was referring to the continuing water supply problems that we had long endured at the school. Truth revealed, I collected a pick-up truck from the Capuchin Mission and we set out for the hospital in Luampa ; it was some 40 miles distant , 9 miles of strip tar and the rest a desert bush track. We arrived at 5.30 and Caoimhe Anna was born just after six o’clock. The delivery room was partitioned from a post natal ward and when she first cried, the women next door spontaneously applauded her arrival. Birth is a life changing and deeply emotional event for all parents but Liz and I felt somehow unique in that environment. Caoimhe was the first European child to have born there in four years and, as we left the hospital, the other mothers formed a guard of honour and wished us well in a variety of languages.
All of our children are special to us; we are proud of each one of them and admire their individual accomplishments and the values they espouse. A superlative achiever, Caoimhe has led the way and it is gratifying to see the strong bond which exists between all of our children. It is more than we could have dreamed of on a vivid morning in an African, bush hospital some 40 years ago.
Neill and Fiona join with Liz and me in wishing Caoimhe a very happy 40th Birthday; long life, good health and family happiness to her, Carl and Joe.