We've been at a civil partnership at the end of Southend Pier, the longest "pleasure pier" in the world. You danced until 11 at night. The ceremony was beautiful. The mothers walked the two men down the aisle, and one of the fathers, an elderly naval guy in full military regalia gave a reading from Hamlet through his tears. "To thine own self be true".
I feel lucky to live in a part of the world where people are free to choose and marry their partners of whatever gender. It's far from the case in many other countries.
It wasn't all serious - there was Pimms by the beach, free bar all night, an appearance from some Star Wars fellas, and strobe light dancing 'til all hours. "Somebody" needed a nap half way through though....I could count on one hand how many times you have slept like that on my lap, including when you were a tiny baby so I enjoyed it immensely. Pimms in one hand, a sea view and a gorgeous girl cuddled in my arms. Ahh.
Then Daddy and I went to a wedding in Dublin for the weekend- of a friend of mine that I met in Australia who got me through my first difficult year in London.
It felt odd to be back in Dublin. It was familiar, yet I felt I was viewing it through different eyes. I have changed, and life has changed so much since I lived there for the two years before and after my 30th birthday. I was very discontented then. Despite the fact I had a fair few friends there, and went out all the time, I felt lonely and isolated. I was free floating and always on the lookout. Unsettled and dissatisfied. I didn't feel like a real person somehow, like an outsider. I lived in the tiniest bedroom ever in my friends' tiniest flat ever. I was largely single then, and only ever meeting unsatisfactory men. It seemed to be the curse of Dublin - none of my circle of friends seemed to be able to meet anyone serious. It shouldn't have been the be all and end all, but despite full independent lives, it was really important to me, to all of us. It was impossible and mysterious and dispiriting. Also house prices were out of control , it being the time of the Celtic Tiger, before the big bust. I liked Dublin itself though and spent a lot of time cycling around exploring, and going to the sea.
All of this spurred me onto my move to London of course, which ultimately led to meeting Daddy, moving to our house by the sea, and having you. Anyway, being there made me think about how much better my life is now, although I'm still restless. I feel so sorry for the me who lived in Dublin back then. She should have believed in herself more. I wished I could go back and tell her not to worry, enjoy the moment and it would all be ok. Tell her to stop fixating on what was missing in her life and focus on what she had. But on reflection I'm glad I can't tell her. Are discontent and restlessness all bad? Things weren't right in my life then. I wouldn't be where I am now if the unhappiness and dissatisfaction and yearning for more hadn't made me break through the fear barrier and move to London alone. Change the things you can and accept the things you can't.
Then again I have no way of knowing whether my life in Dublin would have changed for the better if all that discontent had led simply to a change in attitude rather than change of place. I might have changed direction, moved to the sea there, taken up hillwalking, met someone less shallow, away from my previous stomping grounds. Bloom where you are. No matter where you are or where you go, you are always with yourself. That won't change. Who knows? It seems probable at least that my life could not have remained the same.
Where am I going with all this? Only to say there's no right path, is there? It's not about finding the answer, tying off lose ends, settling in and then starting to live your "real life". Even those who plan their whole life, who seem to have the answers, may find that the path could twist away from them. There is only a morass of feelings and circumstances, mysteries ahead and choices to be made. Over and over. And through it all, there is always you, no choice will change that. All I know is my particular "morass" led me here for the moment, and it's working out fine.
Getting back to our trip, you stayed in Cork on your own with Nanna Marie while we were in Dublin, and we all stayed together in Aunty Ger's for a few nights. You had lots of people to read books to you, and play, and you had sleepovers with your cousin Sarah, which was brilliant. We saw all the Irish family, and you loved running around in the rare sun. We'll definitely go back to Cork at some stage during my three weeks summer holidays. Ireland is amazing when the sun shines.
Love Mam x