There are days of burgeoning luminosity. When all is clear, calm and focused. And there are days when something small tips off something a little bigger and there’s a battle to get back on solid ground. As a parent and guide it is incumbent upon me to have a little foresight. Some powers to forestall the dominoes days. To reclaim, mid-stumble, the calm. As a parent I have, it seems, no such powers. The family grows organically, through clear days as well as through the murky ones. Who’s to say which days are really better? Perhaps we all learn a little more about resilience as we navigate the falls and swim through the mud.

There are days when I feel a gnawing indigestion-style impatience to catapult us along. Days that feel numbered, as inevitably they are, and that there is just so much to do. I must forge ahead, forge ahead, forge ahead. Get us to that other realm, that safe place, wherever that is. It’s up to me, I know it is, but I just don’t quite know how. There is so much to be written and somewhere deep in me I feel that this is the key to the safe place. But sitting writing quietly in a corner for no monetary reward takes a bit of a leap of faith. Submitting work unsolicited will take another. So far I have put myself out there not a jot. I have approached not a soul. I’ve been told that I should be ‘hustling’. That I have ‘a lot in my shop window’ to show-case. That I’m to cold-call editors to meet for a coffee. That it takes about three months and 50 cups of coffee to land a deal. Not coffee by myself in Starbucks you understand. Coffee talking about myself. Offering my wares. Hustling.

I am so far removed from a ‘hustling’ type of gal it’s not funny. I would have to be hypnotised to hustle. That or be otherwise drugged. I’m old school and a bit of a perfectionist. I think if I work hard enough the quality will speak for itself. I will be sought after without having to open my mouth. Which isn’t going to get us anywhere in this era. I’ve been tasked with setting up Linked In and Twitter profiles. There have been requests to Link in with me (no idea why) and I ought to be following people and commenting on Twitter. Which seems like a massive distraction from real work to me. But the gnawing feeling of needing to catapult us along will not be served by my old school self. I’m going to have to become a little bit American. How does this sound?
Hi, I’m Dr Ellen – an award winning sociologist, researcher, editor and writer. I’m available for freelance work – feel free to fight amongst yourselves for my services. Looking forward to hearing from you.

There are days when I trust that all will be well. Days when I revel in moments of pure joy with the kids. These are the days when the kids are showing me, mindfulness masters that they are, just how to be, right here, right now. All of the senses in their fresh bodies fully engaged in the present moment. I hand marque 3 a plate of buttered toast and hard boiled eggs – from corn fed free range hens apparently – shelled, halved and sprinkled with cracked black pepper. I’m moving on to the next thing – someone has requested orange juice – when he calls me back.
‘Thank-you so much, this looks amazing’. He is smiling and looking at the array. I stop. I haven’t my lenses in yet and it’s all a bit of a blur. I go over to him and look at the plate. I’ve prepared it but I haven’t seen it. I can see it now. The deep yellow yolk flecked with black fragments, a smidgeon of mayo and encased in white. The promise of melting buttered toast to enhance the flavour. He feels the texture of the egg, then bites into it and his smile broadens.
‘It is absolutely delicious, thank-you’.
‘I know’ – I can taste it too – ‘you’re welcome’. You’re welcome doesn’t quite cut it though. Maybe I should be thanking him.

There are days such as today. When age knocks rudely on the top of your head. When you think that an elusive soft leather marine blue biker’s jacket is just the ticket to stall the onwards marching. But then you find yourself dancing slowly in the kitchen with your eldest child to Finbarr Furey singing live on the radio. ‘I love you as I loved you, when you were sweet, when you were sweet sixteen’. Today it is your birthday. A day when it dawns on you that all is well. That you are already in your safe place.


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