To Alison on your first day at school





Alison at eighteen months


To my beautiful daughter, Alison,


It’s ten past nine on Monday, 29 August 2016 and you have been in bed just over an hour. Since then, I’ve spent the time running around like the proverbial blue-arsed fly trying to make sure I’ve everything ready for tomorrow morning. Another big milestone in your life.

Your very first day of primary school.

I marvel at myself for how I can sit here and type that sentence so dry-eyed and straight faced, my thoughts still coherent enough to write this blog proclaiming my undying and never-ending love for you. I should be in a heap in a corner somewhere, sifting through your baby photos, pining for the years I will never have again with you.

But I’m not (Don’t worry though, mummy isn’t some sort of insensitive bitch, promise honey). Not yet, anyway. As nervous as I am, I’m also really excited about it

I don’t know if you know it, but there was a time when I didn’t think I was good enough for you. There was a time when I believed you would be happier without me, that I wasn’t a good parent. And then you started to walk, to talk, to count, to recognise your colours and shapes, to sing little songs over and over again. Things that I taught you. You kept mummy going in the darkest days; you were the light, your butterfly kisses the fuel of my strength.

You are so beautiful, inside and out; don’t let anyone tell you outside. You are so kind, gentle and loving that any one of your classmates would be lucky to have you as a friend. You’re also a bit of a messer, so I’m anticipating a lot of notes home over the next few years. I think auntie Alex is in there somewhere!


Alison, as you may know, mummy spends every night in her office, trying to  write the best novel ever written (okay, a little pretentious, but who’s judging? Let me enjoy my delusions in peace). Mummy often gets frustrated, thinking she is going about things the wrong way, and sometimes wonders if she should’ve stayed at her job. But then, Alison, I look at you – the stunning, clever girl that you are – and I know that I will never regret the extra time I had with you. Sure, some days were crap (especially when it was raining or mummy was PMSing), and others were fabulous (when the sun shone), but they were memories made together that I will eternally treasure. Thank you so much.

Honey, when the time comes I want you to follow your dreams, no matter how far-fetched they seem. I want you to be always happy in who you are and not to be afraid to be yourself, no matter what. Fitting in is overrated – take it from someone who never did (and never really wanted to, either). Don’t ever be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

My daughter, my little girl, my only one – have a fab time at primary school. You’re going to Scoil Mhuire, which used to be my favourite place in the world. It was there I became who I am and developed a sense of myself  as a person. School taught me that I would always have to fight to be recognised as equal, but that the fight would invariably be worth it. School taught me that in order to be trusted and respected that I would have to respect others. Most of all, the fabulous teachers there encouraged me to write which has been my sole ambition since I was a small girl like you.

And as I say to you every night, thank you for being my daughter. I am so lucky to have you. I love you princess. Just please-stop growing up, okay? If for no other reason, just so that you will always fit in the hollow below my ribcage xxxxxxWIN_20151128_192444