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...On International Women's Day

Most of our half term was spent battling something akin to croup. Personally, I am never quite sure of the difference between whopping cough and croup because when it arrives, I know we are in for a stint of the wide-awake club. By day duh I look like the dude in Franciso Goya's painting, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. Armed with asthma pumps, homeopathic vials, vapour rubs and an array of teddy bears (all of whom wanted to see Buckingham Palace) we journeyed to London for a February lift.

There are few sounds that curse a parent more than that of a relentless, hacking cough. There seems to be little relief you can provide your child, when in full force. The wheezing and sneezing as predicted, kept us up like a pair of lively night owls. Many prayers later, my glassy eyed, red nosed four-year-old looked sunken and bedraggled but not defeated.

I have to admire how she lives by her name, Emmeline Olwen - in honour of the powerhouse that was Pankhurst and respectively the Celtic Goddess of spring. Legend had it that Olwen walked so gently across Wales that Lilies grew under her feet. Cut to day 15 and our first full night's sleep.

The cough has lifted from its murky depths and seems to be leaving, at last. Her remarkable strength (a six pack to prove it) and refrain from complaining has inspired me.

Watching this little one soldier on, with Herculean effort, is humbling to say the least. So today and every day I salute you my darling Lily. Raising a daughter in my late forties single handed, has taught me much about the commodity of energy, the virtue of patience and the gift of positive thinking. For women and girls everywhere, may today be a reminder of your strength and your softness, your power and your vulnerability, your adventure and retreat.


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