Two years ago I left a comment under an article about adoption on the website of the online Social Work magazine Community Care. I can’t remember what angle the article took but it must have bugged me because I rarely leave comments under articles.
In response to my comment came an email from the Children’s Editor of Community Care, Camilla Pemberton, asking if I might be interested in writing a guest blog piece for her. At the time I was trying, unsuccessfully to find a publisher for a book I was writing. Flattered and with nothing to lose, I wrote a short piece and Camilla published it.
Many blog pieces and a publishing contract later I found myself stood in front of 500 people in the ballroom at The London Hilton on Monday evening, collecting an award for Business Columnist of the Year from the British Society of Magazine Editors. It was an out of body experience to a Katy Perry soundtrack. I vaguely remember racing to the stage in a blur of bright lights, music and shock and being handed something by Diane Kenwood, the editor of Woman’s Weekly and the comedian Andy Parsons. Just to get the evening further into perspective, the award presented after mine was won by Caitlin Moran.
I returned to my seat and Camilla and I drank champagne and cocktails into the night and revelled in our unlikely success.
Twenty four hours later, after a queasy and long train journey home I was suddenly back in my real life, dealing with the fallout from two children who don’t manage a night of my absence well. It is understandable but not pretty, and devilishly difficult to respond correctly to when burdened with one of the best/worst hangovers I’ve ever had. (The gin hangover is in my experience something quite different from the others.)
I want to say a massive ‘thank you’ to Camilla and Ruth and the rest of the Community Care team for publishing my articles and to the British Society of Magazine Editors for reading and liking my sometimes difficult and raw pieces, which don’t always conform to what we think we know about children, adoption and trauma. Although it isn’t possible for me to write under my own name the roar is all mine. And on Monday night, under the glitter of the crystal chandeliers, I realised that my roar has been heard. It was the night of my life.