I was doing my usual rounds before going to sleep last night. Turn the lights off, check the front door and head up to tuck the kids in. Nothing unusual there.
With the twins done I went into my older daughter's room.
The light from the street-lamps outside was lighting up her face and hair....and it hit me. It hit me so hard my breath caught. It is coming to an end. There is a point where this will stop.
Where tucking her in...turning off her reading light when she has forgotten...kissing her forehead and whispering 'Mummy loves you' will stop. When I won't be lovely Mummy whispering sweet messages into her sleep...I'll be slightly annoying Mum, invading her space.
And then what? She'll be growing up and heading off.
Oh god it made my soul ache. It is going too fast. Now...all of a sudden it is going too fast. My baby girl, my first born is really growing up.
But here is the problem. I can step back and see this now. I can remind myself that things are changing on a daily basis for me, for us. But would I say this to another mum? With younger kids?
No. Not in a million years.
If I could send the me of now back, to that confused mum, wearing a groove in the hallway floor by walking up and down...up and down throughout so many nights with a baby that just didn't want to sleep, I would never say "but treasure it, they grow up too soon". I'd have drop-kicked myself.
When a tired, fed-up and confused mum opens her soul up to you, revealing her vulnerabilities and her exhaustion then just BE there for her. Hold her space. Agree that at times it can be a pile of poo.
Let her without guilt or fear be able to acknowledge that having a baby or a toddler, or a whole team of them, isn't always what you hoped or wished it would be.
Never, never throw back to her the pointless reference to it all ending one day. It will make no sense.
In saying this you are basically telling her to be quiet. To just get on with it.
We don't need to be that mean.
When tiredness can stretch a few nights out into a decade....that it ends too soon will just be unimaginable.
So yes, from my side of things I can see this now. It is now moving too fast. The next few years will be a blink in time...and I can't hold it back. The years are running too fast and I can't pin it down, or somehow preserve it all, to be picked up and enjoyed again whenever I wish.
They do grow up too soon. They really do.
But please, let's not burden new mums with that.