How writing a regular column has changed my life


Over the last couple of weeks in spare moments I’ve been making an inventory of my Catholic Weekly columns, entitled Pitter Patter.

I started writing it when I was five months pregnant with my first child at the suggestion of the then-managing editor, Kerry Myers.

That little bean on the ultrasound imaging machine I described in my first column is now 12, going on 13! And the column is still going!

She’s obviously much different now; and so am I, in no small part I’m sure because that act of documenting my journey of marriage and motherhood each week has changed me.

It gave me an opportunity to stop each week, reflect and process what was happening in my life, and within me, as my life changed so drastically that year when we were waiting for Naomi, and in the years and four more babies that followed.

Sometimes, and still sometimes today, it’s been the way I could communicate things to myself, my husband, or others, that I could only express by enfolding them (however awkwardly or clumsily) within the written word.

As I’m going through old clippings and digital files, apart from getting the warm-and-fuzzies over birth announcements and long-forgotten photos, I’m really touched by the references to readers who have contacted me over the years, and even in some cases befriended my family.

Many readers who have enjoyed the column have written to me by email and slow mail over the years and this has been such a pleasure and a gift!

Just one example: One gentleman and I struck up a correspondence for some time. The arrival of his spidery handwritten letters, four or five pages long, filled with anecdotes, advice, and favourite childhood recipes, tucked in with balloons to blow up for the children, were a light in times when I was in that baby-and-toddler haze and sometimes isolation of the earlier years.

We needed the supplementary income that the column brought, and it left me no time or energy to write a personal journal. The children as well, now have this record of their childhood, that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

People have thanked me for writing the column, but the gratitude goes both ways and I believe mine is definitely the greater. Sifting through these old columns, first I’m amazed at the sheer volume of them.

Then I’m filled with gratitude and love, first for my consciousness of God and the husband and children he’s given me, for the indulgence of newspaper editors past and present, for the readers over the years, and especially for God who through his Church has given me so much that I have needed in my life.

Other stuff happening here:

Last night and this afternoon I tore through the new memoir by poet Sally Read, Night’s Bright Darkness: A modern conversion story. It packs quite a punch. I’m still recovering. It’s a significant book, a very generous and electrifying account of a 30-something woman’s nine-month journey from atheism and hatred of Catholicism to love of Christ and entry into the Church.

Our two girls are on a holiday camp for the rest of the week; so it’s just the boys and me at home. I didn’t realise that meant we’d be talking about little but Pokemon for four days – but I should have! We had a nice walk after dinner tonight, my husband and I and the three boys. It was sweet.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Julia Symons says:

    I have followed your column ever since the beginning and enjoyed the journey of marriage and parenthood. Then to think I have since met you in real life !


    1. It’s lovely isn’t it? Thanks Julia – and see you soon!


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