I remember the time it clicked for me. Walking down the long path that ran along the back my aunt and uncle's house. The path was once a railway line, and so had arched bridges curving over it periodically and large grass verges on either side, which allowed trees to overhang, giving it shelter from the sun. I feel it was lucky that I had been walking along this path because otherwise it might not have happened. Indeed there had been some debate earlier in the day as to the route we should walk. My uncle had suggested a shorter route consisting of a lap around the town – his argument being that a longer route may not leave enough time for the preparation of dinner, or that it may overtire the children and make them hard to manage. He also suggested, on a personal level, that this maybe not be beneficial to his knee, which had been causing him trouble recently after an injury at work. Either way, an overruling from my mother and aunt settled the route and children were rounded up for the walk.
The whole family was out in force that day, all the brothers and sisters. Miraculously my mother had managed to get everyone out in the sunshine. Timothy, the brother just younger than me, had not wanted to come at all, preferring to watch TV or play on the Playstation. And my oldest brother, Robert, had protested to an almost equal degree, wanting to continue browsing the internet and talking to his friends on-line. Even the newest member to our family, Callum, who was now sitting in my mothers arms, had made a fuss – although he did this frequently and seemingly at random, so perhaps this was no surprise.
I would like to imagine my change of spirit happened as we walked over the crest of a hill, or as the sun sank below the clouds for sunset – casting long orange and brown streaks across the sky. But in reality it happened in a mild a moment as any, just as I was walking along that flat train line, watching the leaves shake in the trees at mid day, and my family mull around the width of the path talking and playing. There was nothing particular about the setting for the event, other than that overall it seemed rather pleasant moment and appeared that each member of the family was in something of a good mood.
I remember at the time I turned to my aunt and told her about my change of heart. I could see she understood right away, having witnessed the growth and development of many of my brothers and sisters, and she smiled down at me slyly. She told me that she thought it was a great thing, and that for a large number of people this revelation would never happen. With that she looked up toward my uncle, who was laughing and joking with one of my younger sisters sitting firmly on his shoulders. He was strolling along merrily and with no apparent strain on his knee. My mother and aunt laughed.
A great thing - to choose to be happy, and to not have your mother make the decision for you.