As you may know, we've four kids, or "junior shepherds" as we call them. This week when we needed some help at a Mayo Food networking event in Castlebar, the only shepherd available to help out was my baby shepherd. Junior shepherds # 1 and # 2 were working, and Junior shepherd # 3 had gone to Dublin to worship Harry Styles. That left junior shepherd # 4 - my baby, who had escaped all recent Velvet Cloud-related events using the "doing the junior cert" excuse. So much to his disgust, he had to attend. Given that this was probably his first public Velvet Cloud experience since he was 12 years old, he didn't do too bad, judge for yourself from the photo !
Here in the West and in lots of places around the country, there is a wonderful youth development organisation called Foroige. All the junior shepherds have been members over the years. They get to meet every week, socialise in a safe supervised environment and get involved in community projects. Every year (covid permitting) a Foroige Ball is organised for the teenagers. Last night 500 teenagers from all over Mayo, gathered in Westport dressed in their formal finery. This was the first time my baby shepherd has worn a suit since his holy communion! Seeing him all dressed up, no longer a baby, I was hit with more than one wave of serious nostalgia. Of course, I think he looked very handsome, and as you can see he was made to pose for lots of family photos!