Endings and Beginnings.

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I bought this set of milestone cards when I was pregnant with Baby Orchid. It was an impulse purchase during a summer supermarket run. I thought it would be fun to document the first year of Baby’s life and know exactly what age he was in pictures. We dutifully opened the box every week, and then every month, snapped some pictures and then put the cars and blanket away. Earlier this month I made a couple of photobooks and the best pictures went into one of them, a whole book of him to savour and keep.

Yesterday, I passed this onto another pregnant woman. I offered it on a freecycle Facebook group and it was snapped up almost immediately. I tucked it into an overfull bag before my commute and handed it over at lunchtime. We exchanged good wishes and went our separate ways, she to the beginning of the end of pregnancy and I to the end of the beginning of our final steps into parenting.

It feels good to pass things on, knowing that we won’t use them or need them ever again We’re slowly filtering out what’s been outgrown or what we’ve kept ‘just in case’ and now know ‘in case’ never came. We have very little baby stuff left. I have a box of sentimental clothes and cards and a few other small things.

We still have the cot all three of our children have slept in, and I’m torn on what to do once that’s no longer needed. I have a love/hate relationship with our SUV of a buggy, but I’ll probably miss it when its gone. I know soon enough I’ll be passing on our slings to someone with babies who needs it and that we’ll be taking out the next size of clothes from the attic and giving away the smaller ones rather than packing them away for a possible baby of our own.

I don’t miss vast swathes of the intense early days with a small baby. I can’t forget the shattering tiredness and the resentful feeling that can wash over you when you’re a baby’s sole source of food. I miss parts of it more than I expected, and what I miss has surprised me a bit. I smile at new babies and bigger babies, and I have a small pang that this stage of life has gone forever for us. But the next bit is good, and the bit after that, and it will be nice to let go of the stuff we don’t need any more and send it off to those who do.

Endings and Beginnings.

Mourning Has Broken

It is five years since the death of Savita.

It is five years since I woke up to the reality of what the eighth amendment has done.

It is five years since me and my husband went on our very first march together.

Thousands of people have travelled since then for medical care abroad.

I look back at ‘the before’ and I wonder why I was asleep for so long. I was not a socially conscious college student. I had never protested anything in an active way. I was privileged, and while I knew I was privileged I didn’t appreciate or understand that privilege.

I’ve never had a slowly growing fear inside me because my period was late. I’ve never had to get information on medical services from the back of a toilet door. I’ve never had to send a message to a person I don’t know and hope against hope that he or she would turn up with pills that could land me in prison for 14 years.

I could have done more. A lot more. But I didn’t, and I am deeply ashamed of that. I am deeply ashamed of the antichoice views I held, and the fact I held them without really analysing why. I could have marched, and donated time and money, and been more invested in a movement I feel I’ve piggybacked onto.

I repeat ‘Better Late Than Never’ and I try to do more and to do better. I mourn Savita, a woman who died because of our laws. I mourn for the thousands we’ve forced abroad. I mourn for the people who are right now hoping against hope that the pills will turn up because otherwise they are out of options.

My mourning broke five years ago, when it slowly dawned on me what we had done, and putting the pieces back together has done me a world of good. Never again will I be so blind.

Mourning Has Broken

This One Is Actually About Budgets-Part 1

I became slightly addicted to reading personal finance blogs over the summer, in particular¬†http://www.frugalwoods.com/. I don’t have a lot in common with many of them, in that neither I nor my husband have a huge desire to retire early and travel the world or live on a homestead, but I have been thinking about money and independence and what those two things mean to me and to my husband and to us as a couple.

I have never been great with money. I only ever managed to save with a very specific goal in mind and I love stuff. In college, I had the enormous privilege of:

  1. Living at home.
  2. Having tuition free education, something I am thankful for every single day.
  3. A great, well paid part-time job that I was easily able to fit around my college schedule.
  4. Good health, enabling me to juggle numbers 2 and 3.
  5. Not having to worry about bills, food and paying rent, another thing I am thankful for every day-the money I earned from my job and fairly regular babysitting for a family down the road was all mine.

My best friend worked close by and we’d work all summer, saving as much as we could, then we’d go to London for a week and blow most of it on clothes, having a good time and letting our hair down before resuming our studies. Again, this is something I am really, really thankful for and I couldn’t have asked for more from my parents who facilitated me being able to do this.

When I was in college, the Government of the day set up a crazy good savings scheme, the SSIA. It was a no-brainer, you got an extra 25% when you saved into these accounts. I set one up and when I started a ‘proper’ job after graduation I upped the payments. I did not save much beyond this, but I was still living at home with minimal bills. This was the heady days of the peak of the Celtic Tiger and the madness of this time is best illustrated by the fact that I was able to buy a house, with the assistance of my parents (have you realised how amazing they are yet? I thank them every day, in my head at least, for the privileged start I’ve had in life) despite:

  1. Having just graduated and not having a long track record of working.
  2. Having only the savings I had managed during college.
  3. Having no lump sum in a deposit account.

So here I was, 23 years of age, a home owner who had never really had to plan her spending, save and budget with a long term goal in mind or be responsible for all the bills that come with running any household but especially being a homeowner. And I continued to like All The Things. Stuff was my friend and while I was never a candidate for a show about hoarding I was a very good consumer.

Looking back, I don’t know how the process of buying a house didn’t change my mindset around finances. I mean, you’d think if anything would signing up for a 40 mortgage would. But no, there are more tales to tell.

 

This One Is Actually About Budgets-Part 1