Fuck, I am who I am / Stephanie Carolan

Stephanie Jane Carolan (nee Parkes), age 48.

Stephanie is from Banbridge and now lives in Co. Louth, Ireland. She has worked as a nurse for over 25 years and currently works in the Emergency Department as she loves the pace and craziness of it all. Her proudest achievement is being the mother of 3 healthy, adventurous and feisty teenagers Jane, Aisling and Rachel. It's also her most challenging. She loves life and is grateful everyday to have a partner like Eamonn.

What makes you laugh?

Those spontaneous, unexpected moments. My last belly laugh was a few days ago trying to learn dance routines with my daughters. I love recalling stories with my cousin Emma about our travels through S.E. Asia, the one about her falling forward with a ruck sack on her back and cutting her knees, she was laughing so hard and the rucksack was so heavy she couldn't get up. She told everyone her knees were cut because she was attacked by trigger fish that story sounder better.

When did you last cry?

Last week when driving away from my partner Eamonn. He has moved out because he has an underlying chest problem and as I work in the ED with covid patients I am at risk of carrying the virus home. Who knows when he can move back.

What’s your earliest memory?

Rubbing Vicks over my brother's face he was in the cot as a baby. I was 2. My other memory is approx age 4 practicing grown up kissing with you Patrick while lying in a trailer at your house.

Describe what ‘love’ means to you.

As a child I questioned how would you know if you loved someone, I decided it was the person you wanted to be with if you were sick. I still believe that. The love I have for my children is primal I would die for them.

My partner knows how I am physically and emotionally by looking into my eyes. To me that's love.

What makes you unique to everyone else on this planet?

The loves of my life and life experiences make my unique. My good friend Trish taught me how to own who I am. Oh I think this makes me unique to most - I have a very strong sense of smell I can't tolerate strong scents of any kind; scented candles make me physically ill as nothing beats fresh air.

Name 3 people (living or dead) you’d invite to your virtual quarantine dinner party.

My Mum to hear her voice, feel her energy and inhale her scent. Maternal grandmother now that I am older there is so much more I want to ask her and my dear friend Tony who recently left this world, we had a real connection.

Describe yourself in 5 words (this can be a sentence or 5 separate words).

Loving, Loyal, Compassionate, Chatterbox and Passionate open water swimmer.

Who or what has made the greatest impact on your life?

My mother - her strength of character, values and love have shaped who I am and will last with me and my children forever. The neighbours I grew up with filled my childhood with adventure which helped prepare me for life. When life gets tough I bring myself back to that happy time as a child playing in the garden.

Any regrets?

Yes I have a few. Usually how I handled encounters but I take the positive out of all of them and believe they happen for a reason. I do regret not travelling more when I had the opportunity. Backpacking was one of the happiest care free times of my life. Why did I not do more of it?

Tell us something no one knows about you (and I mean no-one)? Until now.

That's a hard one as I do talk alot and tell people too much. I am a hoarder and I have items from my childhood I can't get rid off. I treasure them. I am presently wearing a hair clip I have since I was about 7 years old. I recently found it in a shoe box.