2013 was pretty wonderful and, unlike some, I'm not happy to see the back of it. So many milestones – turning 40, my second child starting school, winning a journalism award, finally getting to NYC – meant it was a year filled with memories that I can only hope to match in 2014.
I always try to make a few realistic New Year's resolutions: usually variations on eating better, exercising more and managing my time more efficiently. Previous experience has taught me not to expect success at more than one, so I've set a single goal for this year.
While I'd like to be more patient with my kids, become a better typist (seriously! You wouldn't believe a journalist could have such poor keyboard skills), run more frequently and say no to junk food with actual conviction, I may just start with something simple: taking care of my keys.
Despite striving for routine, I'm a bit careless with my keys. I have a few favoured spots in the house, but they don't always make it there. I've spent countless mornings tearing around like a deranged creature, muttering amidst outbursts of "where the hell did I put them?"
The kids barely hear me now – the eldest will make a quick dash to search in all the obvious places but the younger two just look bemused waiting patiently by the front door. Eventually, they know their mum will emerge in a sweat, gleefully gripping the missing keys while ushering them out the door ranting about how we're going to be late.
(In my defence, they've only been late once in four years – and that had nothing to do with missing keys. Instead, I realised, en route, that junior's glasses were missing. After returning home to collect them I then realised, with the school in sight, that we had left the school bags at home. Third time lucky we made it as far as the school. Not my brightest day as a parent.)
Last Saturday I couldn't find my keys, so used my husband's. After returning home I looked for them again, and by the time I went to bed that night I had exhausted all options. I fully expected them to turn up on Sunday, and had just gone to bed when my doorbell rang at 11.40. My husband was out and had left his keys with me, so I expected to find him at the door.
Instead, I found my next-door neighbour clutching a hurl. "Is your car locked?" were the words out of his mouth, followed by an explanation that he'd seen the hazard lights flashing. He told me that he'd found three guys crouching behind my garden wall, hoodies pulled up to hide their faces, as they tried to open my car.
And then the penny dropped. I couldn't find my keys because I'd left them in the front door. Some nasty opportunist must have swiped them and returned the following night to steal my car.
Had it not been for my brave neighbour, a bunch of teenagers would have cruised off in the family saloon. The gardai arrived and took my car away to keep it safe in the garda station. We didn't sleep a wink that night, knowing some delinquents were roaming the neighbourhood with keys to our front door.
We've changed the locks but my sense of security is a little shaken. I'm more than a bit mad with myself for the careless mistake, but suspect that minding my keys will be a resolution I'll keep with impressive commitment this year.