I was walking along the broadwater one afternoon when I noticed a young woman. She was reclining on a park bench, feet up, under the dappled shade of a tree. She was engrossed in a book and looked so peaceful. She looked so peaceful that I felt peaceful. Suddenly I noticed how quiet it was around me. The wind on the water, the rustling trees, the sound of my son shouting ‘come on the grass’ echoing in the bluster. The warm spring sun and cool shade like tides as we walked. I was taken back to when I was a young woman. When my days were my own. When I could decide to spend the day reading a book under a tree. And it dawned on me that I am not envious.

Yes I have two small children, God knows I need a break. I need to read a book with no pictures in a place other than our teepee. But that’s not where I’m at. I had that season, I had aimless youthful days. And then I decided to have kids and as tired as I am most days, I realise I’m happier, so much happier, unbelievably so. This season in my life is so much better for me.

One day my time will be unscheduled again. One day there will not be little feet in my face and socks in my bed and sloppy kisses. My house won’t be filled with the echoes of laughter and endless buzz of business, my floor won’t be littered with snack crumbs and dinosaurs. I won’t sleep with fluffy hair in my face and small warm bodies in my arms. I won’t have scratches to kiss, right now my kisses are magic to them. Or little tears to wipe and hug away. One day I will walk to the bathroom without hitch hikers riding my feet throwing their heads back laughing. It can drive me insane but I know I’ll miss it.

One day I won’t rush my dinner while a watch chubby fingers rub the remains of theirs into full-fat naked tummys, smiling with appreciation. All too soon the quiet dinners for two we miss will be our daily habit except for the odd visit. And that’s ok, they will grow up and lead their own beautiful lives. But for now I have them. Their mess, their chaos, their silly games and naughty giggles. Their ‘mum mum mum!’ that continues even when you say ‘yes’. The climbing bodies that hurl themselves onto you the minute you sit down. The small hands that grab mine to drag me to a bug or flower. The smiling eyes when they catch me with a snack they want to share.

I could wish it away and long for rest, some days it gets frustrating. But when old women look at my little boys with longing and say ‘it goes too fast’ I know it’s true. I feel like the first few years I missed too much in a tired haze of struggling and I’m finally breathing again, finally taking it all in. And I don’t want to miss another thing.