Once upon a time, back in September, it all seemed very difficult. Not seriously difficult – just everyday stuff. Struggling with three in school for the first time. Struggling with three lunches and three lots of homework and three tired kids. Struggling with a little boy who likes to talk a lot and listen only a very little and doesn’t like sitting still at all – things that do not combine well with starting Junior Infants. So you see – just everyday things, but still, I had that feeling of complete overwhelm that even people who are only struggling with everyday things get.
And I wished for everything to get easier, and failing that, I wished for a wonderful distraction – perhaps I could win a family holiday to New York or inherit a house in Spain from a long-lost second cousin. And then distraction showed up – it wasn’t a holiday or a house, but a book deal. And it did the trick. The afternoons were as challenging as ever, but I had far less time to worry, because I was writing the book.
Then there was a lull, when I sent in the book and sat back to wait. And I caught up on other work and the odd coffee and some much-missed nights out.
And now it’s all back on again – I have a publication date (June 6th – also my birthday!), a launch date (June 15th – that’s the bit where you get to drink wine), and a cover!
And this afternoon, I stare at an unmade dinner and I smile at stories from the kids, but I can’t hear one word they’re saying and if they quiz me, I’m screwed. Because inside I’m racing. My mind is on dedications and acknowledgments and blurbs – surreal tasks I couldn’t have imagined six months ago. And there’s a kind of weakness – I look at the unmade dinner and I don’t think I have the ability to lift a hand to make it. It’s like my brain is using up all my power right now; trying to take it all in and get the book out.
And if this post was a book, the ending would be as follows:
“After six months, I came up for air and realised that the afternoon chaos had fixed itself. The distraction had worked, and we all lived happily ever after.”
But this isn’t a fairy tale, and real life is rarely so neat. There are some days that are perfect and there are some days best forgotten, and of course most days fall somewhere in between, and nothing terribly exciting happens at all. Except today. Which is why I can’t hear the kids and I’m looking at the book cover and planning the launch and still pinching myself to see if it’s all just a dream.