Last week I held the official launch of my book ‘Bedtime Stories for Mothers and Others’. It was an event I had always dreamed of in my own small way, and it did not disappoint.
Having the opportunity to talk to people about something that I am so passionate about and proud of was a really special experience.
Having my family and close friend around me was really important, but as I looked around the shop and saw so many faces of people I knew, it gave me great joy and pride to realise that I had achieved so many really important connections in my life.
When I say connections, I don’t mean that in a business networking kind of way, but I mean that I had made a human connection with so many different people. That is something that I value greatly and to see it come to life with all of the people there to support me and the messages I have received since launching the book, was more important to me than I ever realised.
I began journaling last year and this year I invested in a book for writing goals. The book I chose was recommended by Coach Karen Brow, it is called My Shining Year Goal Workbook. I have to be honest was a little sceptical when it arrived and there are some bits that I do find a little naff, but nothing is perfect and I have chosen the sections I want to complete, which is about 85% of it.
One of the things I found helpful in setting my own goals was choosing a word that would be my word of 2020 and how I would go about achieving my goals. The word I chose was connect.
Language has always been fascinating to me and its use can evoke so many varied emotions and meanings to each of us. To me the word ‘connect’ will hopefully lead me to a lot of positive experiences in 2020 and beyond,
I want to truly connect with my son Patrick who is Autistic. For many years he didn’t seem that different in any obvious ways, but every day I see how differently he experiences the world and how difficult that can be for him.
I want to connect with Patrick in the way in which his brain functions and the way in which he experiences the world. Doing this will hopefully bring us closer together and make me more patient with his challenging behaviour, because challenging behaviour are always a way of communicating – I just need to listen harder.
I want to connect with my daughter Saoirse as she grows from child to adolescent. I want to connect with how she is feeling, how she is learning and how her sense of herself continues to develop,
I want to connect with my little girl Erin, spending more time playing with her, exploring her fun world and the way she shares her beautiful personality and joyful outlook on the world.
I want to connect with friends that I don’t see often enough, Lindsay, Sam, Joy, Kathryn to name a few. This can be lunch, a call or a message but any connection is positive.
I want to connect with people I don’t know. Connecting through my writing, I want to speak to them through the pages of my books and blog. To let them know they are heard, that they matter and that they are valued.
Maybe most importantly of all, I want to connect more with myself. This year I am committing to a year of self-care. That doesn’t mean going to the spa or eating a full pack of kit-kats in one sitting – although I won’t say no to either. Connecting with and caring for yourself, is about understanding what is working in your life and creating as many opportunities to make that happen, big or small.
I also made another really special connection this week, one that I hope will blossom. I met one of my Heroes, Paula Kerr. I had met Paula briefly at an event last year and we have had many long, animated phone conversations and messages, but I got to meet her properly this week.
Apparently, we shouldn’t meet our heroes for fear that they may disappoint us or not live up to our expectations. That was utterly false on this occasion. Paula did not disappoint. With so so much going on her own life, she sat and listened to my woes and came up with lots of workable solutions, so graciously and compassionately. In short, she rocks and if I wasn’t married to Mick, I may have actually proposed to her!
I am currently working on a children’s book about disabilities, that will feature 2 of her 3 sons, George and Isaac. All 3 boys suffer from the terminal disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The book will be sold in aid of Join Our Boys Trust to raise money for research and a new home for the family as the 3 boys are now wheelchair users and their mobility reduces daily. You can donate or find our more information below:
To close, I encourage you all to do something today to connect. It doesn’t matter with who or with what, but connect, it’s one of the healthiest and most satisfying things you will ever do.