This summer, however, I've felt a niggle. One that I should be mentally capturing moments and committing them to memory even more keenly than before, especially when it comes to my daughter.
For her, this summer has been one of cartwheels, of plunging into rivers on rope swings, Cub camps and family camps and running through fields uninhibited and happy.
For me, it has been one of unexpected cuddles, of watching her conquer fears and dive into swimming pools and freezing seas, of tearing across a field in her shorts roaring with laughter, of conspiring with her cousins for an extra hour of play. It has been the best.
And then I remember that tomorrow she's moving up a year at school. And that there are girls two years older than her entering into puberty and if I'm honest, I'm happy to wait a hell of a lot longer for that to come knocking.
My husband and I don't 'baby' our children, and we're open about what's to come but now feels like a very special time for our girl. I can still carry her (although only just), and it is still more than ok to tickle fight, water fight and pillow fight. I'm still helping with hair washes, and still called upon to give a kiss goodnight and read bedtime stories. She is free to run, jump and play unselfconsciously and I want that to last *as long as possible*.
I like to think that a bit of honesty plus keeping the house free of MTV, Page 3 and trashy magazines will help to keep her free of undue pressure and crappy role models but I can't delay the inevitable, and I can't pretend it isn't going to happen. What I do hope is that I get just a couple more summers like this one. Don't go changing - not just yet.
Soundtrack: Just the Way You Are - Billy Joel