Andrea Mara

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The Things You Do (…for love)

This is Pineky:

Pineky the pine cone - office mum

His name is pronounced Pine-key. My four-year-old adopted him in March. He’s originally from Killiney Hill. Against the odds, he has survived for two months without getting lost; minded carefully by his self-appointed ‘owner-parent-friend’.  Until this week, when he disappeared for 24 hours. We knew he was in the car somewhere but couldn’t find him.

Then his owner-parent-friend remembered he had put him inside the base of his booster seat. I wasn’t optimistic, but nevertheless spent 20 minutes trying to stick my fingers inside the base to get Pineky out – shaking the seat, taking it out of the car, poking and peering, and eventually, it paid off. Pineky was free, and united with his delighted owner (-parent-friend). I don’t know if I ever saw myself as someone who would spend 20 minutes shaking a booster seat to release a pine cone, but there you go. The things you do for love. Or peace.

Pineky lives next door to a fairy now. A fairy called Diamond Crystal whose second name is Crystal Diamond. She is a baby fairy, and moved in this week, after we bought a fairy door in Wells House. The girls got fairy doors too, and their fairies (Harmony and Charlotte) live next door to one another.

Fairy doors - Office mum

On Monday night, I overheard the eight-year-old saying she was leaving a note for Harmony. I checked it on my way up to bed that night. She wanted a reply. Of course she did. And of course we couldn’t have Harmony replying and Charlotte and Diamond Crystal saying nothing at all. So we needed three notes. In fairy handwriting. Saying similar but not precisely the same thing in each one. Only when they were done did I stop to wonder whether it would be strange that three different fairies would have identical handwriting, but it was 1am – we’d have to bank on them all having gone to the same fairy school.

fairy note - office mum

There was huge excitement the following morning, intermingled with questions about whether or not we had written the notes (“dad always does a small ‘i’ instead of a capital – I’d say he did it”) but on balance, they went with the more magical explanation and spent the day discussing fairies. The small boy was particularly excited, and kept seeing his fairy everywhere. “Mum, mum – Diamond Crystal Crystal Diamond is flying around the car and now she’s sitting on your nose!” He set her up with everything she needed, including a bath outside her front door.

Fairy Door - Office Mum

That evening, to my dismay, more notes were written. They wanted to know each fairy’s birthday, eye colour, favourite hobbies, and talents. This couldn’t go on. Not every night. So the fairies replied again but added “Write back again at midsummer!” on each note. The things you do for love. Or preserving the magic.

With all the note writing and pine cone hunting, there was little time left for basic things like buying food, which is why at 7 o’clock on Thursday night I was messaging my husband to bring home bread and milk after football. “By the way I’m cranky but for no reason!” I wrote. “We had a great day, and the kids were great, but I’m cranky. Just so you know.” It was probably just tiredness-and-dishes crankiness but I figured I’d mention it.

He arrived home a few hours later with flowers for his cranky wife. The things you do for love. Or perhaps self-preservation.

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