We've spent the last few days living the cliché of parents watching their child growing up. And the oldest cliché of them all is sadly true. It does genuinely feel like just a moment since we were getting her ready for her first day at nursery or her first day at primary school back in Birmingham, a tiny thing in school uniform nervously approaching the playground for the first time. And now she's off to big school. A new uniform, a new start, more children.
And it's wonderful, marvellous to see her, looking so grown up, so independent. Yet it's horrible at the same time, because every step towards independence, every day she grows older is another day, another step towards that glorious, awful day that she doesn't really need us any longer.
The role of a parent, at least those that do it properly is to prepare your child to leave, and to rejoice in them doing so, confident that you've done your job properly. And if you do it right, it will break your heart when they do, holding the tears in until they turn the corner.
And that's how we felt tonight, laying out her things for school in the morning, immeasurably proud, so full of love for our little baby, our little girl. And then, once she was in bed, then I started thinking about how quickly she'd grown up and how things would change so quickly now. It's so sad, so wonderful, grief and loss in a way, but something to rejoice as well.
So here's to Molly, my little girl, my gorgeous wonderful girl. From the first moment I saw her, 11 years back, I knew my future was set. And I'd have it no other way.