LIKE many mums and dads I shared my annual ‘first day back to school’ photo across my social media outlets. I joined many parents who walked their little ones to their first day of school in their gorgeous new uniforms. I confess I had a quiet moment of ‘Where did this year go?’ and thought about how it only seemed liked yesterday that I was up to my neck in nappy-changing, night feeds, prams and baby monitors. All of a sudden I wished I could slow time down as the reality of my youngest growing up way too fast began to hit home. Add to this two girls aged 18 and 21, and it’s safe to say my kids wreck me (in a good way). If it’s not my five-year-old starting P2, it’s my risk-taking 21-year-old (who is currently free diving in Croatia as I type this), or my other 18-year-old daughter who keeps me pacing the floorboards at night as I wait to hear her car pull up in the drive knowing she is safe home; all three of them have complete access to this mamma’s heart. Raising kids looked a lot easier from a distance, I certainly had no idea what I was getting into. No amount of parenting books are mummy blogs prepared me for this road. • They make me laugh and cry in the same day.• They energise me and exhaust me.• They age me and keep me young.• They frustrate me and make me proud.• They cause me to want to hold them tight, and they teach me to let them go. Yes, that’s the hard bit, isn’t it? Learning to let them go. One thing I have learnt as a mum, is that as much as I want to wrap each of them up in cotton wool and place them in the attic until they are at least 43 years old, the truth is we cannot protect them from what life will throw at them. Many of us who are reading this know how difficult (and heart-wrenching) it is to watch our children go through difficulties; whether it be illness, bullying, addiction, relationships, making poor choices etcetera. Many of us may feel helpless and at times hopeless. For what it’s worth, I don’t claim to have all the answers, and even though I wish I could make this life easier for them, I can’t. And neither can you. All we can do is help navigate them through their everyday lives and keep loving them. I want this week to give a special shout out to every mum and dad out there, to every grandparent, and anyone who has influence in a child’s life. You may not feel like it – but you are doing a good job. We are reminded that ‘Children are a gift from God.’ (Psalm 127:3.) They have been entrusted to us. Whether you are dropping your child off to school, teaching driving lessons to your teen, getting ready to walk your daughter down the aisle, or waiting for the arrival of a grandbaby, enjoy every single moment, and keep on loving them – no matter what. All children are a gift from God.