I write honestly about the harder bits in life. It’s very easy to allow those to consume you and only ever look at the bad things going on around you and feel life is crappy. The week before Christmas I stumbled when I was letting out horses out of their stable and landed flat on my back in a huge pile of horse poo!
As I pulled myself out of the poo, I thought to myself, oh well this will be good material for my next book. Every cloud has a silver lining, but there are also days with no clouds at all, just clear blue skies.
Here are my top ten blue sky moments of the last decade.
- The birth of my little ray of sunshine, Erin Sofia Lily Hayden. The day my family was complete. The arrival of my baby girl was without doubt the absolute highlight of my decade.
- There were many fabulous babies born in the last decade. To avoid missing anyone out, I am going to name only the ones born to my closest friends and family, but every new little person in the world this decade was worth celebrating. Ella, Oisin, Riley, Flynn, Henry, Layla, Harry, Dylan, John, Alannah.
- Launching my Blog and publishing my Book. Apparently, we all have at least one book in us. I am very proud of my first effort ‘Bedtime Stories for Mothers and Others: Volume One; The Ten Year Challenge’ Apologies for the typos, but it makes it more authentic. I am working on volume 2 and I am delighted to have the draft of my first children’s book written, to raise funds for www.joinourboys.org in 2020.
- Setting up youth clubs. I worked for Foroige in 2015 and had the opportunity to facilitate a summer camp for teens with Autism. I was very nervous of doing the wrong thing and causing anxiety or a meltdown. I did neither, but I did have an amazing week and then began volunteering at a newly formed youth club, which evolved into 1 adult social club and 2 further youth clubs for tweens and teens. I know this is going to sound so cheesy and trite, but it has changed my life for the better. When Patrick received his Autism diagnosis, I knew I had nothing to fear. I knew it was not the end of our world. I knew this because of all of the Autistic people I already knew. I have decided to take a year off from running the clubs to commit more time and headspace to my family life, but I feel immensely proud of what we all achieved as a club. I know I made a positive difference to each member and they each made a positive difference to me
- Trip to NYC for my 40th Birthday. This is my favourite city and I have been lucky enough to visit many times, having spent a summer nearby as a camp counsellor. But I’d never visited with Mick. I loved every second of it, especially going to see the NY Nicks play and would go again tomorrow.
- Learning to play tennis. I’ve always enjoyed tennis, but took lessons this year and have started playing regularly. It’s a great stress reliever, great fun and I’ve met lovely people. I’m really looking forward to a break in the rain, so we can start up again.
- Metallica at Slane Castle. Metallica is Mick’s favourite band and I bought him tickets being a dutiful wife, but I loved every second of the gig, even though my feet and ears were a little sore the next day!
- Munich Beer Festival. Another 40th Birthday trip, this time Mick’s. This was a brilliant weekend. The Germans really know how to have a party!
- The Santa Experience in Clonard Court. In 2013 to celebrate Erin’s first Christmas we all went along to meet Santa at the Clanard Court hotel in Kildare. It was absolutely magical, especially as a lovely friend told me to ask for the room next to the Elf’s bedroom. We found out why, when we pulled back the curtains in our room to find 2 real live reindeer outside our window.
- Discovering Achill Island. This is my happy place! I go every year and I just feel calm when I am there. My house is filled with picture and photographs from there and so is my head. When I finally kick the bucket, I want to be cremated. I heard recently that you can have your ashes turned into a firework. I love fireworks and I want my ashes to be a firework that my family set off over Keel Beach on Achill Island. My family then have to get together there once a year to mark my memory.
The last 10 years have been filled with truly awful moments, that I hope we can forget. But is was also filled with many memorable moments that are imprinted on my brain for all the right reasons. As the decade comes to an end it is those I want at the forefront of my mind, so I can move forward to the next one feeling positive. I am damn sure it won’t be perfect, but life never is!
Happy New Year and sending you best wishes that the good days outweigh the bad.