Being in the extraordinary situation of home alone minus partner and child, I've just had the best time running around all my favourite blogs and saying hello. Astonishing to have the simple gift of time, and space around that time, to do what I want to do.
That's not to say that I don't feel strange. I do. Surprisingly, even though I lived a solitary life for years and years, now that I do have two lifelong 'attachments', so to speak, downtime alone is quite frankly odd.
An amputee sits before you. In fact, it's a wonder I can type at all, what with so many severed limbs. How do they happen, these for-better-or-worse-bonds, so watertight no amount of therapy, distance or even death can dissolve? Here I am, in Kent, and there they are, in Cork, and yet there is a strong, palpable line running straight from here to there between us.
Two memories come to answer me. Both beat with love. The first - Anna-mouse's entrance, literally days after the comic "Water, water!" moment with which I woke the Bim (who went to fetch me a glass) - the prelude to my weekend in labour. They laid her on my belly and with her characteristic, thoughtful gaze she stared up at me, blinking. There and then it was sealed: I was hers forever, let alone she mine.
And the precursor to that - the last moments of a second date with the tall, awkward young man who had walked me home to the Cathedral B&B up Shandon Street to whom I was saying "Don't even think about kissing me..." so confused was I to find someone so utterly different and apart from, and yet familiar, to me. Yes, the lady was protesting too much and within weeks, again, it was sealed.
Some things we can't fight. Why would we want to? And yet we do. When you've been addicted to drama, as I was for years, it takes a while to learn that happy - content - is not boring.
And so we enter another year. It's a wintry afternoon with a watery sun. The world seems live with possibility, as it always appears to me at the start of a new year. I reach for my tea and name my blessings, whispering their names, slowly, with love.
Happy New Year.