I am, as you by this stage probably know, in the business of nurturing and supporting creative dreams – my own and others. It is my self-appointed mission, and one I take very seriously.
There is one person in my life whose dreams have been on ice for a long time because of parenthood. Who gave up the most important thing in their world for me, and our son.
And then again for our daughters.
Let me tell you a story.
When we first met, I was a trainee actress. Mr DA a trainee bio-chemist.
Many years passed. Many countries visited and degrees achieved. We married and headed to Cambridge to continue our postgrad education.
The same week we found out I was pregnant with our first child, Mr DA found out that his beloved PhD project (that he was in the first year of) was transfering… to Strasbourg. We went and visited, one cold February weekend. It was hard to envisage being alone in a big new city, as a new mother, with no family around and not speaking the language. I just couldn’t picture it. I knew how much it meant to him. And I knew how much of a danger it would be to my mental health to be under that much anxiety.
Fast forward a few months, our son is born at home in Ireland, Mr DA, having negotiated a few months sabattical. He heads over to find us a flat in Strasbourg. A day later he phones… to tell me he has handed in his notice.
This PhD project was at the forefront of sustainable energy – his absolute passion. He had worked for it and dreamed of it for years.
And instead he has worked smaller jobs, close to home – in things that have interested him – but not his ultimate passion of sustainable energy and bio engineering.
He also dreamed of building our own home.
But then children two and three came along quickly. And our need for a home exceeded our energy levels. And so another dream bit the dust. He poured his energy into full time work and hands on fathering, and shepherding me through many dark days.
So this Xmas, when I was offered the opportunity by our much-loved old bank, Halifax, to take part in a promotion, to give something special to a loved one, it just had to be Mr DA.
I asked him what he really wanted, if I could spend double what I normally would on him. And he voiced a dream, and started to draw up plans, that sparkle in his eye once again… and a component part of it is a build it yourself solar panel… which is what he asked me for… I am glad to see the sparkle back.
So Happy New Year, Mr DA, and thank you for all you have sacrificed for us.