If I Could Just Go Back For One Day

We’ve been reminiscing a lot lately. Not sure why, other than my husband has set up an Instagram account purely to embarrass the children. So, photograph after photograph on when they were small keep appearing on my feed. It’s beautiful, really, and such a delight to see my three pop up when I’m least expecting, but not as they are now … as babies, as toddlers and it literally makes me cry every time!

So, why the tears? Why not smiles or joy? Because, if I’m really honest with myself, I’ve forgotten so much about when they were young. Oh don’t get me wrong … I remember just how bloody infuriating it could be … I remember the sleepless nights, the overwhelming tiredness, the physical and mental drain of balancing  three children and a career but I’ve forgotten ‘Them’ and who ‘They’ used to be. The featured photo on this post is the day we brought our little boy home from hospital (he’s now 12) … and I have zero recollection of that day … where do those memories go? How remotely fair is that?

Now, before anyone says I’m ageing and it’s my memory loss kicking in, I’m not that old. Yes, it was a while ago … but why so forgotten? Why so hard to recall? But it got me thinking … if I could just go back for a day and spend it with those children in the photograph what would I do?

… do you know what? I wouldn’t do one iota of flippin’ cleaning … that is totally overrated … I wouldn’t iron one shirt. I wouldn’t shout, wouldn’t get mad, wouldn’t lose the will to live as one toddler throws a toy at the other. I would be calm, I would be chilled. I wouldn’t lose it at fingers smearing food over white walls, or tongues licking window panes. I would enjoy, I would stop and play … actually enjoy being bossed around by the toddler that I’ve got to say this and got to say that in the magic horse game for 27 hours!

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… instead of stressing at bath and teatime I would be thankful. I would happily chase them naked around the house (them not me!) instead of moaning “GET IN THE BLOODY BATH, THIS IS NOT A BLOODY GAME.” Happily turn the bathroom into a water park and sing their favourite nursery rhyme over and over … and over and over … happy in the knowledge that they won’t want me to do this forever … and , believe me, they don’t.

… just to sit with them, engage with their gorgeous little faces, to hear them giggle those toddler little giggles, to smell my son’s newborn head, to see all that promise in their eyes of what’s to come, to embrace myself fully in their total adoration … to bank that memory so I can recall it again when I see an old picture … because all I’m doing now is grasping at half forgotten memories trying to make sense of it all

… but the tears aren’t just for forgotten memories … they are for realising just how damn quick it goes. Oh, I love the little adults they have become but I wish I’d realised then just how lucky I was to have three such beautiful little children … because, honestly, the three little faces staring out of the title photo are unrecognisable to me, in a way. It scares me, too, as I worry that the stage my children are at now will be forgotten also as the chores and routine take over from the actual enjoyment of them.

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So … a message to you all on this somewhat more reflective post, hug them a little longer, stop worrying about the crap … because it is crap … do more of what you enjoy … and if you don’t enjoy singing nursery rhymes, playing bloody role play after role play with a toddler, it really isn’t forever … go on, sing it one more time, be the magic horse or whoever your toddler insists  kindly asks you to be … just one more time … enjoy it …  and bank those memories … and I promise to sit with my teens … give them my undivided attention … everything else can wait because, in reality, the future won’t … just saying.

Mummuddlingthrough
Diary of an imperfect mum
A Cornish Mum
The Pramshed
My Petit Canard

 

 

 

  1. This is such a lovely post – you’ve got me welling up too! It’s so true, I even thought that the other day that I can barely remember the first month of Emma’s life, that seems crazy. Brilliant advice to just enjoy them a little bit more as it does go so fast xxx #triballove

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  2. LOVED this! Funnily enough, I’ve just written a letter to my future daughter (not that I’m wishing this special time away!) – so it’s really lovely to see the opposite perspective. A really wonderful and poignant reminder to cherish every moment. X
    #coolmumclub

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    1. I loved that letter – read it yesterday and commented – really beautiful – definitely don’t wish it away. I adore who my children are now but it scares me the pace of life. Thank you so much for your beautiful comment x

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      1. And you did! I’m so sorry, I’ve just replied to the comments too – obviously need my choice first in future! I agree, the speed with which it passes us by is frightening x

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  3. What a sweet post! I try to remind myself that they don’t stay young forever whenever my daughter wants to play the let’s-knock-over-all-the-DVDS AGAIN. It’s not possible to enjoy every moment (because some moments are sh*t), but I’m trying to enjoy as many as I can. #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh bless you – that sounds like a super patience-filled kind of game! It would be wrong for me to say enjoy all the moments but you’re right – they can be rubbish but oh my word it is tough as they get older and older too quickly. Thank you so much for your comment x

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  4. What a lovely post – I think we all have such a tough time staying present with our littles and I know I am for one guilty of this but I mainly do try to play with her a lot because I know one day she will definitely NOT want to be doing that with me. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xx

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    1. oh thank you for your lovely comment. I didn’t play with mine enough – I know I didn’t but we can’t beat ourselves up over it – I just miss those days heaps, however much I love who they are now – but hey for one day wouldn’t it be gorgeous?! xx

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  5. Oh my goodness this has made me well up!!! I have written a reflective post for this Sunday in which I lament about how quickly time seems to moving at the moment and it scares me! I still can’t believe that Oldest is now 6 so I can not imagine how I will be feeling when mine are teenagers like yours. I am going to follow your advice to the letter in that the housework can wait and I am going to embrace the sticky handmarks everywhere instead of stressing about them! Lovely post now where is that Youngest? I need to give her a hug! #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh, Emma, I found it really hard to keep reding over this post to edit it because it literally made me tearful every time – you go hug that little one and embrace those sticky fingers and messy faces because before long they are hiding in their bedrooms (which sometimes is great!) – I wouldn’t change now for the world but if I could just go back for a day and stop worrying about what wasn’t important I would. Thank you so much for your comment – I look forward to reading your post on Sunday lovely xx

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  6. it’s funny reading your post. funny because the first 2 years of my son’s life I felt depressed and down and only really cared about the “crap”. for the last year I’ve just let things “go” and like you say -instead of stressing about him eating his meal, getting in the bath, out the bath, sleeping – im just trying to go with it. and keep in mind that soon he will be all grown #coolmumclub xx

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    1. Oh thank you for your comment, Emma – sorry to hear that you went through that for 2 years – I think we try to be the mummy the can do it all – it’s impossible and actually we should focus on the children more and not the rubbish – it’s not too late so I’m glad you’ve changed your approach – enjoy him xx

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  7. This is so lovely. I do try and tell myself this every single day as I can already tell how quickly these precious years are going to fly by. My eldest is only 3 1/2 but each time I look at her I wonder where the heck she has come from and how I’ve come to live with such a gorgeous little girl? Beautifully written x
    #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh thank you for your kind words. I found it such a hard post to write and edit – not sure I’m going to be able to read it at all when they leave home – ouch that was hard to even write in a comment. If I wasn’t so proud of who’ve they become I probably wouldn’t have felt so passionate about the post but I’m struggling with just how quickly it is all going. You go and enjoy your gorgeous little girl – she’ll always be gorgeous but maybe just not so little – remember the gorgeous part! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment xx

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  8. This post rally struck a chord with me, I spend so long hopping from appointment to therapy to nursery to chores that I feel overwhelmed and tired and wish for better days. I don’t take enough time to enjoy these special moments instead I focus on the mess or time /effort. Time is so so precious and I MUST start enjoying these times more. A Really thought provoking post #triballove

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    1. Nadine, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I think we are all guilty of it to be honest – it’s just as mine are getting older and my husband showed the picture that it totally stopped me in my tracks. Take the time to enjoy now – sit on the sofa and have cuddles, lie on the floor and let them climb all over you – it’s amazing having toddlers! Thank you lovely for reading xx

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  9. Flip sake, blubbing again! What are we like??! Such gorgeous photos, I know what you mean about feeling like you don’t remember those years, I can barely remember anything about my son’s first few years which I is such a shame. Right off to re-apply my face then head out to collect the little scamps x Beautiful post. #FamilyFun

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  10. Totally with you honey. I have been feeling it too and wrote a post called growing pains. You are spot on, those memories slipping away are hard to swallow. I love chasing my kids around before bathtime too – I become the bottom biter monster!!! TY for linking up to #FamilyFun 🎉

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    1. Oh cutie I remember that post well – was beautiful. I just find it so hard that I’ve forgotten so much – the picture is unrecognisable to me – so unfair really. Ha ha love that you are the bottom biter! thank you for commenting lovely xx

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  11. This made me cry! I am so emotional at the moment with my little ones growing up way too fast, I too wish I could go back just for one day and remember them as they were tiny. Lovely lovely post! #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh I’m sorry … I really struggled to edit it as every time I was reading through I felt so emotional – enjoy your little ones lovely – they really are just as gorgeous as when they were little but the photo really stopped me as I struggle to remember them like that and I don’t want my memories to have faded already – I wasn’t prepared for that shock. thank you so much for your lovely comment and I am sorry lovely xx

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      1. Aww don’t be sorry! I’m such a wreck with Harry and Megan turning 2 and 3 next week, and then it was Eva’s induction night at primary school last night, just feels like they are growing up so fast doesn’t it? Lovely lovely post. xxx

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  12. Oh this is such a beautifully poignant reminder that we need to enjoy those moments and stop wishing for bedtime to hurry up (today was one of those days!) My eldest is nearly 5 and I’m already aware of how quickly the time has flown – only this evening she wanted to be “baby Jessica” and for me to carry her to her bedroom after her bath and as I picked this long-legged little girl up in my arms, it made me wish for just a moment that I could step back in time and have that little baby there once again. It does go too fast and sometimes we need to just stop, enjoy it and bank those memories. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us all of the importance of that x #triballove

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    1. Oh thank you for your lovely reply Louise – I’m glad it made you stop also and want to enjoy the moment a little more – it’s all rush rush so often as the clock carries on ticking – I reckon you take the time to stop though – you strike me as a wonderful mummy xx

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  13. Thank you for writing this. I totally needed to read it. I’m in the midst of the threenager stage and every day brings new challenges to my patience, as I’m sure is a part you can remember! I will bare your words in mind next time I’m having a ‘moment’. Beautiful words and beautiful children. x

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  14. Thank you, as so many people have already said: this is gorgeous. There are so many frustrating times (mine are toddler and baby stage – nearly 3yrs and 8 months old) but I do know, deep down, that if I don’t stop and ‘bank’ these memories I will wake up one day and they will be 10yrs older. This has really, really made me think hard about not worrying about the crap (stupid planning applications, nursery fees, return to work stress) and just enjoy what we have right in front of us. Your children, and you, are beautiful. #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh thank you for your beautiful comment. The trouble is, is that everything else does have to be done but we need to put it in perspective so that we don’t forget the things that really matter. Thank you so much – go hug those babies xx

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    1. Oh thank you so much. Sorry for the tears – it’s just such an emotional time for me with mine growing up so much and just that shock on how much I’d forgotten. Thank you so much for your comment xx

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  15. Yes, yes, yes. Working full time, I don’t get to spend as much time as I like with my little one, which means that when I do, I am quite happy to let him make a load of mess, and to chase him around the house. Only problem is, my mother is there, and she is the one getting stressed! I need to show her this post. #triballove

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  16. Lovely post Helen & so true – how did you get to be your age so quickly! So many forgotten ‘moments’. You always remember the important ones – first day at school, getting in the netball team & upsetting the coach! Going to senior school, sailing with your sister & hoping you don’t drown each other, your wedding day, the children being born, but its the little special moments like doing that cat puzzle a million times and the smile on your face when you saw Lucy, your ginger kitten in the big box! They are the magical memories that you don’t want to forget -ever. They stay in your heart always. Goodness making me cry reading this back! xxxx

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  17. This is such a beautiful post – totally made me well up. It’s so important for us all to read this as it really is so easy to get caught up in the day to day life, the routines, the house cleaning. When really it’s not what matters in the end. I can’t wait to pick my daughter up from nursery today and give her a massive cuddle. I’m stumbling this! xx #picknmix

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    1. Oh tha k you so much for you beautiful comment … I think we are all guilty of not appreciating the moments more … thank you for taking the time to read … go hug your little girl and do something special tonight xx Aww and thank you for stumbling it!

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    1. Oh I seem to have made a lot of people tearful – I too was emotional reading it back through but I just feel so sad at how my memory had failed me and I remember the rubbish and not always the goo times. Go give her big squeezes! Thank you so much for your comment xx

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  18. Oh god Helen this has made me cry!!!! Such a beautiful and heartfelt post. Your kids are ADORABLE by the way – gorgeous now and so cute back then!! It really is scary how quickly time goes and you have strengthened my resolve to have a messy house and spend more time just enjoying my little, delightful, giggly baby. #FamilyFun

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    1. Oh, Ellen, sorry! Thank you so much for your kind words … time gets right in the way sometimes doesn’t it?! You go rock that messy house look lovely and play a little longer – you won’t regret it! Thank you so much for commenting xx

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  19. I’m going to give my little man a big squish when he wakes up from his nap. I sort of hope he sleeps a little longer, but I will give him more of my time today! I love that your husband has created and instagra account especially to embaress his kids! Instagram wasn’t about that long ago, so that’s nice that he can go back! #triballove #coolmumclum

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  20. This made me feel mildly guilty as I have been berating my eldest in my latest post as he is driving me nuts currently with his exam angst. You are right it is good to be reminded of the precious moments we have with them, however, old they are they are still our babies and need nurturing and we need to make the most of those times. #coolmumclub

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    1. oh sorry for causing the guilt – we are all guilty of not stopping and appreciating the moments! Oh exam angst – just read and commented on your post – not long to go now – so stressful for them (& us!). Thank you for your comment xx

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  21. this is such a beautiful post. I have tears in my eyes reading it. And the picture of your happy family is just adorable! I’m not surprised you feel like going back. And I think that although we can’t always remember everything, those memories of the good times, and the fun times, become part of who are children are as they grow. #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. Oh thank you, Kate for your comment – I found it hard even to edit this post as had to keep re reading over the words which kept wanting to take me back. I do find it hard just how quickly it goes so I guess it was just a little nudge to all those mummies of toddlers just to enjoy the special moments and not worry so much about the rubbish. Thank you for your kind words xx

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  22. Beautiful. Such a good reminder for all of us…time doesn’t stand still. I try to reflect every night before bed with my husband about things I’ve loved about my son that day (even if I feel less than that). It started as a natural ‘catch up’ thing but has become a really important part of the day. And leads to a more present me with my son too at least some of the time. I think a blog helps me with remembering phrases and quirks of his personality that even at just under three have long since gone. Thank you for this lovely piece Helen xxx #familyfun

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    1. Oh Lucy that’s a wonderful thing to do every day – you must always make it a ritual – I love it1 You’re right, the blogging really helps to remember more and will be a beautiful record for years to come. Thank you so much for your lovely comment xx

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  23. OMG Helen, what have you done to me, I am literally an emotional mess reading this! Luckily I have a glass of pink fizz next to me. Wow what a post, and it is so true. My little one is 10 months old, and I can barely remember the first couple of months of her life, I can remember the hard times, but I can’t picture her face – which really scares me, I look at pictures of her when she was born, but I can’t actually recall what she looks like from memory. You’ve made me realise that I need to spend more time playing, and stopping, rather than rushing about like some crazy loon trying to do everything, even more so now that I am going back to work in a few weeks. Thanks so much for joining us again at #fortheloveofBLOG, I’m also commenting on this from #PickNMix too. Claire x

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    1. Oh Claire sorry for making you feel emotional – it was just that it shocked me just how much I couldn’t recall – wanted to go back just to squeeze them as toddlers. Thank you so much for your gorgeous comment – go have a beautiful day with your little girl. Thank you for hosting such a fab linky xx

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  24. aww so true! I’d give anything for the teen to want to spend more than 10 minutes with me sometimes… (she’s so hormonal, and all about her friends right now lol) I’ve still got my pre-teen though, who spent the majority of this evening really invading my private space on the settee, and I just let her, because I’m fully aware she will be the ‘teen’ very soon.. I was exactly like you, worried about routine and bored of the bloody same book and game… It goes so fast! I’m finally learning to just enjoy it… for as long as they’ll let me lol, before I’M invading their private space haha.. lovely post! #kcacols

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    1. oh I hear you! let them invade your personal space – it will be empty for you before you know it! Love your take on invading their space! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and kind comment x

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  25. This post got me thinking to the day I brought my own son home from the hospital. Gosh, it was only 13 months ago, but it truly seems like another lifetime.
    I think we forget so much because we, as people, grow ourselves. As our children grow, so do we. I am nowhere near the person, or the mother, I was 13 months ago. This truly is such a wonderful post, and the emotions are hard. It’s nearly bedtime, and I’m picking out a couple of extra storybooks for tonight (: ❤ #coolmumclub

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    1. Oh thank you so much for such a lovely comment – I’m so glad it made you pick up an extra couple of storybooks – so important! I think you’re right – we do change and grow unbelievably after having children and emotions are so hard. Enjoy the storybooks xx

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  26. As a mom that is still fairly new to motherhood (2 year old and an 8 month old), I definitely appreciated this read. My toddler is in that phase where he wants to repeatedly sing the same song or book what feels like 50 times. Such a needed reminder to enjoy all of it, even those repeated songs, because it already feels like it’s going by so fast. #stayclassy.

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  27. What a lovely thoughtful post. I wish I hadn’t wasted my brief maternity leave stressing, I wish I’d just trusted myself and had confidence in what I was doing. I am trying to capture everything for her, including pics, and I am writing poems for her at key moments to give her when she’s older (she really is my inspiration). I do try and hug her as much as possible because I know one day, when she’s older, she won’t want silly old mum cuddling her x #KCACOLS

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    1. Oh this is a lovely comment and I’m certain from what you say that she definitely will – you sound like a gorgeous mummy collecting all those special memories xx

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  28. Such a lovely blog! Everyone tells us to leave the mess or turn the radio down in the car but that’s life. It’s a juggling act but I try everyday to give as much attention to my childten as possible so I don’t miss those moments. Really beautifully written!

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    1. Oh thank you so much – it really is a juggling act but the balance is so important so that you remember all the truly wonderful times and perhaps live in the moment a little more. Thank you so much for your kind comment xx

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  29. Such a lovely read! Time really goes by with them so fast, even though my daughter is only five, I sometimes think to myself well when did that stop, and when did this start, already approaching the last six weeks of her first year at school…it’s scary but I am trying to love every minute of it…as much as I can. #fortheloveofblog

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    1. Oh thank you! So glad you’re trying to love every minute – it’s the best way to make sure that the memories aren’t forgotten and the everyday part of life enjoyed! thank you so much for taking the time to comment xx

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    1. I think you’re so right – blogging is an excellent way of documenting all those memories and keeping them there – though we must make sure the blogs are not just moans! Thank you so much for your comment xx

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  30. Lovely post. If you saw my house you’d know I was firmly in the ‘dont worry about cleaning’ camp. I hardly remember my son’s early days due to lots of pressures I as going through and he’s only two! I’ve written about ho it feels I missed out on those times so I’m trying not to miss anymore! #KCACOLS

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    1. Brilliant – sounds like you’ve got it right! I think writing helps to keep the memories and I think it helps us look at things more. Thank you for your comment x

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  31. So true, with one teen and one small one I watch the lil one do all the lil one things and stare at the teen as he slunks by and just miss those days, wish I had treasured those days more. #KCACOLS

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  32. This is so lovely and you’re so right. Now Mikey is nearly 12 and Dot is already 18 months old, I’m trying to make the most of every cuddle and moment with them 🙂

    Laura xx
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday 🙂

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    1. Oh I love this response because that is exactly why I wrote this post – we need to stop and enjoy moments more instead of tearing through life at 100 miles an hour. Thank you for your lovely comment xx and I will definitely be back next Sunday xx

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  33. What a beautiful post! Something I really needed to hear this monday morning. As i have been having a hard time with my toddler and letting every tantrum get to me lately. Im going tobtry and just embrace it and enjoy the week. Thanks! #KCACOLS

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    1. oh I’m glad it meant something to you, this post. I was hoping that it would just help people stop and smell the flowers a little more and stop worrying about the rubbish. Enjoy your week lovely and thank you for your lovely comment xx

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  34. I had such a hard time with my littlest one when he was a baby that I honestly didn’t enjoy a single second of his first six months of life. And now I look back at the baby photos and I feel so sad that I didn’t make the most of it. This is such a lovely post. #KCACOLS

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  35. Oh my days, this is quite simply one of the best blogs that I’ve read in a long time. Perhaps it’s the jolt we all need from time to time to forget the cleaning etc and to limbo into the den that is the lovingly-created-by-your-child book corner… Beautiful post. I do think I do pretty well most of the time – to just ‘be’ in the moment and not get toooo distracted by the practicalities of life! #kcacols

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    1. Oh this is so kind of you to say – thank you so much. I think it’s just good to stop sometimes and live in the moment instead of stressing and rushing and letting life take over. Glad that you manage it most of the time. Thank you once again for your lovely comment xx

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  36. Fabulous advice and such a poignant blog post. This is what we all need to hear….. Hug them a little longer – yes! Thank you for reminding us how important these moments are. #fortheloveofBLOG

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  37. Back from #StayClassy, read this on HuffPo : ) ! This is such a lovely post. I actually thought about this post the other day as I was watching my son at baby sensory class, and remembered that I should savour the moment and “be present.” I think with all the technology now-a-days it’s easy to get lost in that world and forget to be in the present moment that you are actually in. : ) Thanks so much for sharing with #StayClassy!

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    1. Oh thank you for such a lovely comment – i thunk blogging is a fantastic way to remember the children through the stages – ah but as long as the blogging doesn’t take over!! Thank you so much for your comment xx

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  38. The only thing that has surprised me more than others is how fast time goes when you have a child. As we get older, time goes faster, which everyone told me as I grew up however when my son was born, it was like someone had put my life on fast forward and i desperately want to press pause. They are one hour old the suddenly, one month has gone, two, three, four, then you’re crying as everyone sings happy birthday at their first birthday party (yes, i did that) and before long the years merge. It’s terrifying! #KCACOLS

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    1. It’s crazy isn’t it. Everyone says it but you just son’t believe it can go that fast. With one taller than me and the other 2 fast approaching, trust me it does! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment xx

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  39. Oh I LOVE this. I have been really reflective recently because my eldest just turned 6 and I really want my boys to just stop growing. I wrote a post about just stopping and doing as they ask too because it really really does just go too fast doesn’t it? #KCACOLS

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    1. Oh I think it’s something so many of us mums know but just don’t always take the time to stop and reflect and enjoy. Thank you so much for reading and commenting xx

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  40. Brought me to tears!! Such a beautiful post and awesome to read for those of us who are struggling with the hard days we have with the little ones now. My boy is 2 and I’m going to stop worrying about the crap and enjoy him for every second I can! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

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    1. Thank you so much – so kind of you to say.I’m not saying it’s easy but just sometimes I think we need to step back and enjoy a little more! Thank you for your comment xx

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  41. This made me cry so much I could hardly see to read the rest. It is beautiful. My baby is only seven months old and I already feel her becoming independent. Everyone said to me, “They grow up so fast”, and it sounded like such a cliche but it is so, so true. Thank you for writing this and enjoy your teenagers. #fortheloveofBLOG

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    1. Oh, sorry for making you tearful – though yesterday I had such an amazing day out with my 16 year old daughter – lunch and shopping – and it’s truly wonderful to sit with your daughter as a near adult – I do feel proud of what she has achieved and who she has become but just feel it’s important to stop and appreciate those times – I’m still guilty of it now so yesterday was another reminder of that! thank you so much for reading and your comment xx

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